Going: Easy, some unsurfaced track, mainly surfaced. Almost totally
flat. Traffic-free, apart from the road section between Rampside and Roa Island.
Total distance: 7.5 miles
This is a little outing right on Barrows doorstep, along the Westfield Trail, a Greenway for pedestrians and cyclists opened by local MP John Hutton in October 2003. This is an ideal gentle start for anyone who hasnt been on a bike for years, being flat and traffic-free. The trail has an unpromising start near Cavendish Dock, but soon provides open views across Roosecote Sands as it heads towards Rampside and Roa Island.
Start on St Lukes Road (which has a church on the corner), off Roose Road, (marked "1" on the map below) duck under the low railway bridge at the end, and the huge expanse of Cavendish Dock is immediately on the right. Follow the unsurfaced track straight on ahead at "2" (see note) until a T junction is reached, then turn left, and at the wartime pillbox turn right onto the Westfield Trail proper. This is surfaced now all the way to Rampside, and flat apart from one gentle rise, from where there is a fine vista out to Piel Island and its castle. The Trail itself ends at Rampside, by the Concle pub, but it seems a shame not to press on along the causeway, past the narrow spit of Foulney Island, to Roa Island. There the seats by the entrance to the new lifeboat station provide a good relaxation point to enjoy the view over the channel to Piel. (The lifeboat station has open days at weekends in summer - check in advance).
Much of the Westfield Trail is built on the route of the former 1846 Furness Railway branch to Roa Island, where it connected with steamers to Fleetwood. For a few years, this was the areas main connection with the outside world!
Foulney (pronounced to rhyme with Walney) is an important bird nesting site. It can be explored as far as the concrete buildings, but care should be taken as the first low section floods at high tide.
Note: at "2" you can bear to the left here around the derelict-looking buildings instead. Sticking to the Cavendish Dock side avoids the entrance to the glamorous waste-water treatment plant ("3")! There is also a road connection between the A5087 Ulverston road and the plant at "3", not long after the first bend following the garage near the Roose roundabout.
At Rampside, the trail ends near the Concle Inn, which advertises food. A few hundred yards down the road to the left is the Clarkes, which also serves food. There is a popular cafe at Roa Island, the Bosun's Locker. This was awaiting the arrival of the new owners in February 2005, who promise to be open again soon.
Roa Island in the foreground, and Piel Island in the background, with its ruined castle in profile. This is the view from the Westfield Trail, at its highest point, about 30 feet above the sands!
Black Combe seen over the Barrow rooftops, from the Westfield Trail. The mudflats of Roosecote Sands are in the foreground.
Some history of the Furness Railway.
Wildlife notes on Foulney Island (a pdf file)
There seems to be quite a lot on the history of Piel Castle - Site One; Site Two.
The Dock Museum provides a lot of information on the early development of Barrow.
Any comments on the cycling pages would be gratefully received!
Copyright J Chambers 2005. Unauthorised reproduction not allowed. May be printed for
personal use only.
Open Country Prints, Main Street, Baycliff, Ulverston, Cumbria
LA12 9RN, England