Cumbrian Coast

 Pictures from Visit Cumbria.

The coastal region of West Cumbria has a fascinating industrial history, which can be discovered in local museums and heritage centres. Shipbuilding, coal and iron ore mining, steel making, and chemical manufacture have all been major employers, but of these traditional industries, only ship building remains a big employer.

The other major industrial employer now is the nuclear facility at Sellafield, near Seascale, though there are several industrial sites at Siddick, north of Workington, and at Barrrow-in-Furness where there is the world class centre for excellence in submarine building.

Apart from the nearby fell walking in the Lake District, there are several intriguing Victorian seaside resorts - Seascale, St Bees, Allonby, and Silloth, which have fine beaches and cater well for tourists and holiday makers.

Hadrian's Wall extended in the West to Bowness-on-Solway, but there are other Roman remains to see, including the milefortlet at Crosscanonby, and the fort at Maryport.

In addition to the Roman ruins, much evidence remains of Viking settlement in the place names and their memorials.There is a long history of activity by Cistercian monks, evident in places from St Bees to Barrow and the Furness peninsula. There are fine Georgian period buildings in Maryport and Whitehaven plus grand Victorian buildings in Barrow.

There are few big towns along the line except for Carlisle and Barrow but they and the other small towns and villages all have interesting histories and places of interest. For example, Ravenglass is the only coastal town within the Lake District National Park. The small village of Drigg has has a fine beach and sand dunes. Seascale is a small attractive seaside resort, significantly enhanced in Victorian times by the arrival of the Furness Railway.

There is a wide range of habitats, all of which are fragile, including the sand dune coast, the salt march coast, the raised mires and the agricultural land. The area is renowned for its spectacular sunsets.

The Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) has been relatively unchanged since becoming a designated area in 1964.  Morecambe Bay and the Duddon Estuary are also major sites of national and international significance for wildlife. Local bird life is a good reason to visit the Hodbarrow RSPB nature reserve. Sand dunes, salt marsh, shingle beds, and peat mosses make this a favourite region with lovers of the natural environment. 

This coastal area also has some grade I listed buildings, like the castle at Millom, incorporating a house and Pele Tower. As a contrast, modern high-tec industries can be seen, making this a truely diverse area to visit. 

The following pages shed some extra light on this fascinating area.








            Rampside, Barrow-in-Furness

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