Storth, Cumbria

I was having a tidy the other day and found in a box, a leaflet about a walk around Storth, not far from Arnside. It pricked my interest. It was a 2.5 mile walk with points of interest highlighted and a detailed itinerary, so I put it one side for a future walk.

I didn’t have to wait long as hubby, me and The Dog set off a few days later on a misty overcast day. By the time we arrived by the shore of the River Kent, the mist was more like fog and you couldn’t see the other side of the river. We parked on the roadside, The Dog getting terribly excited, eager to leap out onto the sandy banks and have a run.

A rather misty day with no views whatsoever

We organised ourselves, denying our dog her sand run as the tide was coming in and there was a steep drop to the beach and wandered along the pavement, towards the village of Storth. There was a group of fishermen fishing, with their rods leaning against the railings waiting for a catch. We weaved ourselves through them, with hubby falling into conversation with one of them. We paused for a minute or two until hubby caught up with us, chuckling. The fisherman had offered us flat fish (if he caught any) to take home. Hubby had sort of said okay, but also made excuses of “we might not come back this way” – the thought of having to gut and fillet the damned things was something neither of us really relished.

We crossed the road, and walked up the road into Storth. We passed over the old disused Hincaster – Arnside railway line, now converted into a path and peered over the parapet. We continued on into the centre – it’s a small village with a little post office and shop, the old chapel and school converted into private homes and other old buildings. At one time, there had been a a flurry of bungalow building, as there seemed to be a sizeable estate edging out into the countryside. It gave the place an air of tranquility, a sort of sedate, genteel feeling. A nice place where people went to retire.

We got to the crossroads on the edge of the village and turned left, following the road into the surrounding countryside. It was damp and mizzly. I was starting to regret leaving my waterproof back home – it wasn’t drizzling when we left. So we marched on, following the route, but we hadn’t gone far when we were instructed to do a left. Two and a half miles isn’t long in our world, so studying our map, we decided to extend our walk and continued up the road on a long slow incline and make our own route up. The hill got the old heart pumping and we had a good pace. There seemed to be a myriad of footpaths and bridleways heading off on either side – it seemed a walker’s paradise. This area needed further investigation!

Finally at the top, we took a path left into the woods and unleashed the dog. A sign pinned to a tree notified us that red squirrels had been spotted in the woods and that we should report any further sightings. On a day like this, they’re probably curled up snugly in their nests, but we were quietly delighted. The poor old red squirrel has been repelled for many years by the non native grey squirrel and has only a handful of strongholds namely in Northumbria and Formby on the west coast (to name two of the sites) remain. It was lovely to find that they were establishing themselves here. We carried on through the trees, turning left and upwards. The mist seemed to get thicker. As we approached the top, we came across a mound with a concrete door imbedded in its side. We looked at our map, but couldn’t figure out what it could be for. Initially we thought it was a dam for a reservoir, but there was no lake. Our imaginations started to run away with us as it looked like an old nuclear bunker, but around here? Later after a little bit of Googling, we discovered its true purpose. It’s apparently a holding tank for water, that’s been pumped up to the village. The link below had a little information on it – it’s called Haverbrack Tank!

Haverbrack Tank

After our little diversion we dropped down through fields and footpaths, towards the main coastal road again. Any viewpoints or scenic vistas were not to be had today, the fog was in for the day. A path took us parallel with the main road, saving us walking along it and then dropped us on a tarmac back road, behind a unusually shaped office complex. We followed this, walking behind apartment blocks and a stone yard before coming up to the quarry, which mined asphalt. A tall stone wall had two kilns built into it, though disused.

We carried on along the road, admiring the smart offices that had been converted from an old mill or warehouse. It was nice to see an old building looked after so well. Then we took another path right and dropped onto the disused railway line and wandered along the deep cutting. The railway line was built in 1876 between Hincaster and Arnside to serve the industry there, but lasted less than 70 years. The effort to blast their way through solid rock and to build towering bridges to lay a railway line was incredible. It seemed they had no choice, as there was no room on the shoreline for another transport system. If they had known it would only last 70 years, they probably wouldn’t of bothered, but we had the pleasure of marvelling at their work, especially the bridges spanning across the line – as usual beautiful stone work and lined with engineering bricks in a herring bone, they’re a work of art themselves. Today, a prefabricated concrete span would be installed within days, totally at odds with its surroundings. I was pleased that these architectural treasures remain.

We wandered along this stretch of line beyond Storth until it brought us out onto the main coast road. It wasn’t a particularly long section, but pleasant. We walked back towards Storth, along the road until the pavement started on the other side and we quickly crossed. 

We came across our fisherman friend again and was relieved to discover that he hadn’t landed any fish at all, so he couldn’t fulfil his promise to us. But we ended up chatting to him for quite a while, so much so that The Dog sat down and waited patiently while we sorted the world out with him. After a while, feeling the damp chill penetrating, we bade him goodbye and wandered back to the car.

On the walk we had waddled past The Ship pub overlooking the estuary and had a waft of chips hit our noses. We started to feel hungry, having an urge to devour a chip butty at Arnside. Back at the car, we took a final look at the map to find an alternative way home (we can never do A to B and back to A – we always throw in a magical mystery tour on our days out) and spotted a couple of cafes. That pricked up our ears and so we headed to nearby Beetham and hopefully a little tearoom.

So through the fog and drizzle, we drove a few miles cross country until we came across the extremely enchanting and tiny village of Beetham, just off the A6. We pulled up outside a little shop with a tearoom sign above it, but couldn’t tell if it was open or not. We were on a tiny lane, so decided to check out where we could park. After a little recce of the surrounding village and another potential cafe, we voted to go back to the little shop cum tearoom (after checking it was open and it let dogs in).

We entered the little shop, and thought we had time travelled. It was an old fashioned shop of bygone years, quirky and delightful. It had timeless charm about it. I was enchanted, mentally making a list of people I could bring here who would love it. It had all the day to day essentials but on one wall, it had several shelves full of specialist paints for distressing furniture – it was highly unusual. The rest of the shop was full of antiquities and higgedly piggly. We went through the back of the shop, up some narrow stairs and bobbed into the cafe. It had half a dozen tables, with a roaring wood fire and full of odds and ends – roasting forks, old fashioned jewellery, pictures and other pieces. It was fascinating and just up our street. It was cosy, had heaps of character and as we found out, wonderful food too. We decided on a quick sandwich with a vague plan of visiting our local pub back home for an evening meal. That plan was soon scuppered as the plate appeared – sandwiches, a cup of crisps, coleslaw, couscous and a salad. Even the drinks came up with a little square of cake in the saucer. It was delicious. The Dog sat under the table, her head resting on my lap, her doleful eyes pleading for me to feed this poor neglected underfed hound. She did get several chunks of ham from my sandwich. The cake stand was also equally seductive and resistance was futile. We succumbed to home made apple, cinnamon and walnut cake and a slice of tea loaf with Lancashire cheddar cheese. Naughty, but extremely nice.

Very happy and very full, we left reluctantly back into the gloom, deciding that a quick walk around the village was required to get the stomach digesting. We found a route that went around the edge of the village, following a path that dropped behind the large paper mill on the edge of the village. Here we can across the Heron Centre, closed for the winter. Information boards informed us that it was a renovated water mill and museum, harnessing the powers of the River Bela to power the original corn mill.

We needed to come back to Beetham to check the Heron Corn Mill our and sample more food at the little tearooms. Stupidly, I forgot to take photos of the Corn Mill, so you will have to check out the links above to find out more. On the opposite river bank was the huge local paper mill, seemingly big, noisy and ugly compared to little Beetham. A noticeboard on the A6 gave a brief history of the site – there has always been two mills on either side of the river, the paper mill starting life as a corn mill until in 1788, when it became a paper mill and has remained so ever since. It must be a big local employer for the area which is beneficial, but it was a little jarring against the village. There were bits of the original stone buildings, but a lot of it had been added on and rendered in the standard brown pebble dash which made it look forlorn and drab. But at the end of the day it was a working mill, not a tourist attraction so I wandered off to admire the river that ran down the side of the mill instead noting that kingfishers could be seen here in the summer which pleased me very much!

With the evening closing in, we headed off back to our little home, pleased with our wanderings and little finds. We would definitely be back to check out those other footpaths and the Heron Corn Mill when it opened in February. A great little day!

Author: apathtosomewhere

Come with me and my dog on my meanderings around northern England and further afield, encountering all walks of life and everything in between!

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