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Solway Coast

The Solway Coast an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The Solway Coast AONB is situated in the North West corner of England, stretching from Rockcliffe Marsh on the Scottish Border to just North of the historic harbour town of Maryport. The offices of the AONB are based in the Victorian seaside town of Silloth, adjoining the Solway Coast Discovery Centre.

The Solway Coast AONB has been relatively unchanged since becoming a designated area in 1964. The area covers most of the English Solway Firth coastline from Rockcliffe to Maryport, with the exception of the town of Silloth on Solway.

The Solway Coast has an abundance of natural landscapes and is renowned for its spectacular sunsets. The Harbour Porpoise can be seen regularly from Silloth Promenade and Barnacle Geese fly to the coast’s warmer marshes from Svalbard every winter

The staff and management of the Solway Coast AONB are totally committed to the area, working in partnership with the Joint Advisory Committee in order to continue the excellent work already completed to protect and enhance the area.


Cumbria’s Solway Coast

Weave your way down tiny lanes with overhanging trees, sleepy fields full of contented cows and Georgian farmhouses, to this great expanse of shining water. You can take time out from the hectic world and find solace in this special place. The Solway Firth, caught between England and Scotland, is a lovely outpost of England’s furthest shore where tiny cottages bright with flowers nestle close to the water’s edge.

The coast is dog friendly all year round and it’s an excellent place to exercise your dogs. Please be aware that there is wildlife all around and may be nesting. Much of the area is “Open Access” and here is a list for what you can do (as published by http://www.solwaycoastaonb.org.uk/open-access.php) –

  • Walk, run or climb
  • Picnic
  • Take photographs or paint
  • View historic remains
  • Watch wildlife

Cycling, horse riding and driving are not allowed unless these activities already take place legally. You also cannot camp in the new open areas, swim or go boating.

“There is an indefinable magical quality, a sense of wilderness in this little corner of Cumbria, a magic created by the flat light, the great waters, the haunting calls of the rich bird life on the shoreline, that distant coastline of Scotland wreathed in mists across the Firth, like a mystical land of legend”. © Angela Locke 2009


Rich Historical and Cultural Heritage

The area has a rich historical and cultural heritage associated with its position on the Scottish border. Items of historical interest include Hadrian’s Wall, a World Heritage Site, which extended as far as Bowness-on-Solway. Evidence of the Vallum can be seen in the area and stone from the wall can be seen in local buildings. There is also evidence of towers and mile fortlets further south along the coast. Historical features from other periods include an Elizabethan sea dyke and salt pans; and the remains of the redundant Carlisle Canal and railway line.

Built around 1650 (about the the same time as Ellen Hall, here in Gilrux), the Crosscanonby Salt Pans made salt for 86 years. They are very clearly seen from Mile Fortlet 21, the only fully excavated Roman fort Emperor Hadrian’s coastal defenses.

Natural England

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