Canal and Coast: Hest Bank to Bolton-le-Sands and Beyond (approx. 6.8 miles, though there are options to shorten or extend this)


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Maps: Sheet 296 Lancaster, Morecambe and Fleetwood (a very, very short length of the walk is on Sheet OL7). Starting point and route
Start and Finish: SD468665 - Hest Bank Beach Car Park.
Route: A fairly level route which follows the Lancaster Canal towpath, followed by a short stretch along quiet roads, before crossing open fields and finally returning to the start along the edge of the beach.
Links to route files: .gpx (for many handheld devices) .kml (Google Earth - Google Earth must be installed on the device in order to open this file)
More info:
Refreshments:
    I don't think that we've ever completed a rural walk with as much choice: 2 cafes, a chip shop and a pub at Hest Bank; another chip shop and 2 pubs at Bolton-le-Sands (we had an enjoyable lunch at the Royal). In summer there are also refreshments available from the caravan sites close to the route.
Route profile:
Hest Bank - beach car park If you have parked on the beach car park, then cross the railway (West Coast Mainline) by the level crossing or the footbridge, then also cross the main road.



Station Road, Hest Bank Walk up the road directly opposite the level crossing (Station Road).
Steps to towpath, Hest Bank At the top of the road cross the Crescent and climb the steps to the canal towpath. Turn left.
Lancaster Canal towpath, Hest Bank After only a few yards you pass under this bridge - if you wish to visit the first pub, the Hest Bank Inn, leave the canal and cross the bridge (we didn't stop here this time, but have enjoyed liquid refreshment in the beer garden previously).
Lancaster Canal towpath, Bolton-le-Sands Continue past the packet boat landing stage at Bolton-le-Sands (unless you wish to shorten the walk - in which case leave the towpath by the Bridge pictured. Follow the road downhill, passing the chip shop on your left. Turn right along the village bypass. Cross the road opposite the Royal and turn left to follow Mill Lane to the coast. Turn left and walk along the coast to return to Hest Bank).
Lancaster Canal towpath, Bolton-le-Sands The next packet boat landing stage is outside the Royal (the gate on the left leads from the towpath to the beer garden - the steepest part of our walk was climbing the steps between towpath and bar).

Continue along the towpath for just over a mile then
Steps down from canal towpath on the outskirts of Carnforth look out for the cycle route sign. Follow this down steps to the road.

If you wish to lengthen the walk, then continue to Carnforth (with even more options for refreshments, including the Canal Turn which is right by the towpath). Return along the towpath to this point to continue the walk.
The A6 south of Carnforth Turn left then cross the road at the pedestrian refuge. Follow the cycle route sign along Longfield Drive (in the direction of Warton and Silverdale).
The edge of the Carnforth MPD site Bear right to follow Crag Bank Road crossing this railway bridge: this is the view to the north, showing the edge of the Carnforth MPD site.
footpath leaving Crag Bank Road Where the road bends to the right (just before Crag Bank playground) follow the footpath sign on the left and climb the stile by the gate pictured.
Between Crag Bank Road and Holgates Bay View Holiday Park Where they surfaced path turns to the right, keep straight following an indistinct path which continues ahead leading
Between Crag Bank Road and Holgates Bay View Holiday Park to cross another stile (almost hidden by the long grass).
Between Crag Bank Road and Holgates Bay View Holiday Park Cross the field to another stile.
Between Crag Bank Road and Holgates Bay View Holiday Park In this field follow the fence and dike on your right, leading to yet another stile. In the final field continue to follow the fence to start with, but when you are opposite a dike leading off at right angles, head across the field up a slope to the field boundary on the left.
Between Crag Bank Road and Holgates Bay View Holiday Park Go through the stile by the gate at the top of the slope and then walk along this enclosed grassy/muddy track.
Holgates Bay View Holiday Park A stile at the end of the track leads to a caravan site access road. Turn right to follow the road through the site.
Holgates Bay View Holiday Park At most of the junctions through the site the main route is clear and signposted. At the one junction the route isn't clear bear left.
Holgates Bay View Holiday Park Go through the gate shown in the centre of the photograph and turn left
By the shore, Bolton-le-Sands to follow the path along the edge of the shore.
By the shore, Bolton-le-Sands Where the path meets the road pictured, continue in the same direction.
By the shore, Bolton-le-Sands Turn right at the road junction and follow the road for a short distance, passing Mill Lane Car Park
Between Bolton-le-Sands and Hest Bank until the road bears left. Follow the stony path ahead.
Between Bolton-le-Sands and Hest Bank Continue along the path which skirts the marshy coastline
Between Bolton-le-Sands and Hest Bank and then climb steps to walk along the top of the flood defence.
Between Bolton-le-Sands and Hest Bank Near Red Bank Farm an information sign explains the journey of eels and how it is hoped the tidal flap will help with their conservation.

The OS map shows the right of way passing through the caravan site, but we continued to walk along the edge of the beach
Between Bolton-le-Sands and Hest Bank which became quite a rocky route!
Between Bolton-le-Sands and Hest Bank Continue along the beach ...
Between Bolton-le-Sands and Hest Bank and walk towards the cottage - then take the path on the left.
Hest Bank until you are back at the car park at Hest Bank.

Other walks near here:


All text and images ©Graham Dean, February 2015.


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