Part 16 - the Estuary
At either side of the river, between Preston and the coast, the most important land use is the growth of crops. Potatoes, and other vegetables predominate.
Freckleton Pool is a tidal creek, which runs from the here, for about a mile, to the village of Freckleton. The creek is used as an anchorage for a small number of recreational craft.
Freckleton is one of the oldest villages in the Fylde area, and was recorded in the Domesday Book. Although mainly an agricultural village, the Ship Inn was a hotel in the 14th century. Bunker Street relates to the early years of the 20th century, when boats unloaded coal there.
Warton and Freckleton now meet, and between the the two villages and the river, lies the runway and factory of British Aerospace. In the Second World War this airfield was the base which received new aircraft from the U.S.A. These were then modified here for operational use. The factory here now designs and manufactures parts of the Eurofighter. Other fighters manufactured here include the Harrier, Hawk and Tornado.
The marshes are part of the Ribble Marshes National Nature Reserve, which covers approx. 2,300 hectares of saltmarsh and the intertidal zone on the south of the estuary. The reserve is home to waders, ducks, geese and terns. In autumn many wading birds stop over on their journey from the arctic to warmer regions, while some species stay here for the winter.
The photograph is taken looking north west, across the confluence of the River Douglas with the Ribble, to British Aerospace at Warton.
The official start of the Ribble Way is the Dolphin Inn, at the end of Marsh Lane, Longton. From here the path takes walkers along the tidal embankment, overlooking the marsh, shown in the previous photograph.
Back on the northern bank of the estuary is Lytham. Here the mudflats are exposed at low tide. The only tourists who visit this beach are those who arrive in sailing dinghies - but between the sea wall and the road there is a large expanse of lawn which is popular with day trippers.
Go to:River Ribble Part 15