Friday, 1 November 2013


Arnside lies at the mouth of the River Kent and forms part of the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).  It is a perfect area for keen walkers, with wooded walks around Arnside Knott, a hill on National Trust land just outside town, and a walk to a distinctive Victorian jubilee monument called the Pepper Pot near Silverdale, as well as coastal paths.  Or just take a stroll along the promenade, enjoying the views across the estuary towards Grange-over-Sands and the Lake District peaks.  It is an area of towers, such as the ruined pele towers Arndale Tower and Hazelslack Tower.  The pele towers were built to provide protection from Scottish invasion, and these are just two of many such towers in north-west England.  Then there is Lindeth Tower, where the Victorian novelist Mrs Gaskell regularly took up residence while holidaying in the area, taking the opportunity to write some of her works there. 

Murmuration is a word we've been hearing a lot on the BBC this week.  This year the ever-popular Autumnwatch has been beamed onto our screens from the Leighton Moss RSPB reserve just to the east of Silverdale, and one of the most memorable sights viewers have been treated to is that of the starlings doing their 'murmurations'.  This incredible display takes place each day just before dusk and the one at Leighton Moss involves some 30,000 birds according to Martin Hughes-Games of Autumnwatch.  The birds flock together and wheel around in the sky, weaving themselves into a constantly changing shape.  It is thought that they do this to protect themselves from predators by presenting the illusion of one gigantic creature in the sky.  When they are ready to settle down for the night they swoop down en masse into the reed beds and suddenly it's all over.  There are many places around the country where this impressive spectacle can be observed, but Leighton Moss must be one of the best.  Autumn is also a good time to see the charming bearded tits (no sniggering at the back), who made a guest appearance on last night's Autumnwatch.

Map of the area. 

Arnside123. Photo by GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons 

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