I like fish and chips, I also like really good fish and chips. One of my favourite ‘chippies’ is in the small town of Knott End which faces out over the wide expanse of Morecambe Bay.
This is the chip shop in question, it’s easy to find, it’s the only one. You can do take away or be posh and sit in. Depending on the bracing Lancashire weather I usually take my fish and chips al fresco and sit out on the nearby promenade and enjoy the views across the bay.
Now to get to Knott End, the origin of the name is lost in the mists of time, it may have referred to twin mounds of stones which once stood on the shore but were cleared when nearby Fleetwood Harbour was built, I can either drive all there way there or make my way to Fleetwood which is on the opposite side of the River Wyre estuary and take the Knott End Ferry. This may sound odd but the road distance between two towns is approximately 11 miles as you skirt the Wyre estuary to the first road crossing then head back along the other side. The ferry journey is about three minutes.
This is the Pharos at Fleetwood, one of the two navigation lights built by the architect Decimus Burton to aid shipping using the channel into the town’s harbour. Fleetwood has it’s beginnings as a planned town in the 1830’s on land owned by local magnate Peter Hesketh Fleetwood. The original plan had the street laid out in a half wheel pattern centered on the largest of a series of sand dunes near the shore, this became the Mount and it’s surrounding ornamental gardens.
The ferry leaves from the landing stage opposite the tram stop for the famous Blackpool trams which also serve Fleetwood. The current ferry boat is the ‘Wyre Rose’ and it runs through the day on a regular timetable. some days the crossing is smooth, sometimes not but at only three minutes or so there’s not a lot to worry about. There is also small waiting room on the Fleetwood side if the weather is being unfriendly.
The ferry has it’s regular users, it’s a pleasanter prospect to use the short ferry crossing to Fleetwood with it’s market and shops, than to drive or travel by bus along the winding roads.
Things at the Knott End side are a little more basic, or bracing depending on the height of the tide but it’s only a short walk up the slipway to the promenade and its cafe, converted out of the old station buildings of the former Knott End Railway, an extremely local line with a very chequered financial history
On your way across, you may see the skeletal remains of the Wyre Light, the now ruined third of the estuary’s lighthouses. Built by the engineer Alexander Mitchell it dates from the 1840’s.
There’s a handy clock by the chip shop, so you can keep you eye on the time for your ferry back.