A Walk Down Southport Pier

I’m lucky to live not to far from the Lancashire coast and it’s resorts. One of the nearest and a particular favourite is Southport and one of its many attractions is the pier.  

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SOUTHPORT. Looking down towards the Irish Sea. 

The pier dates from the 1860’s and its original length of 3,600 feet was increase with an extension which boosted it to around 4380 feet, it also had a steamer service operating from the end of it for a time.  Over time fires and storm damage have brought the piers length down to today’s approximately 3600 feet, making it the UK’s second longest pier after Southends. The pier appears to start well inland, from its forecourt on the promenade, before crossing the Marine Lake and Marine  Road before reaching the actual beach and heading off seawards. This is due to the Marine Lake once being the shore line before land reclamation took place, The Marine Lake and it’s gardens date from the 1880’s. It can be a bracing experience walking to the end of the pier, especially in the winter months but fear not, Southport is well provided with very good cafes and there is one at the end of the pier. That is another reason I like going over to Southport, watching the progression of the seasons through the years and I’ve always had a liking for that slightly sleepy feeling you get in an out of season resort.

30/03/14 SOUTHPORT. The Pier. Red & Green.

LANCASHIRE, Southport. The Pier, red and green in conversation.

When you see how popular the pier is, especially at the weekends when the landward end of the pier is a favourite rendezvous point for the biker community. The fish & chip shop might have a lot to do with that. 

 

191110 SOUTHPORT end of the pier B&W

This sculpture stands at the seaward end of the pier and from here you can see across the Irish Sea and watch the drama of the sea and skyscapes unfold.  If you look to the right from here the famous resort town of Blackpool is easily visible, especially the Tower and the Pepsi Max Roller Coaster at the Pleasure Beach. Occasionally I  like to fancy a favourable breeze carries the sound of the screams from the Pepsi Max’s riders across the water. So if you’ve never been give Southport a try, if you walk down the pier you might see someone stood watching the sea and the skies go by, it might be me.

Visiting Southport

 

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Ferry To Knott End For Fish & Chips

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. 

20-09-12 KNOTT END. The very good chippy

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. 

20-09-12 FLEETWOOD. The Pharos.

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.

20-09-12 FLEETWOOD. The Wyre Estuary Ferry, The Wyre Rose outside the window

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.

20-09-12 FLEETWOOD. The Wyre Estuary Ferry, The Wyre Rose E

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. 20-09-12 KNOTT END. The Wyre Rose

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 

LANCASHIRE, Fleetwood. The Old Lighthouse.

LANCASHIRE, Fleetwood. The old lighthouse.

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.

20-09-12 KNOTT END. The clock

There’s a handy clock by the chip shop, so you can keep you eye on the time for your ferry back. 

FERRY TIMETABLE