The village centre of Heysham always comes as a complete surprise to first time visitors. Its old world charm contrasts sharply with the more mundane post war development that surrounds it. The theme of ancient and modern is underlined even more by the presence of the nearby nuclear power station.
Start/finish: Main Street, close to St Peter's Church.
From Junction 34 M6 follow signs for Lancaster on A683. As you reach the centre follow signs for Morecambe and Heysham A589. This takes you across the River Lune. After 1 ½ miles turn left onto the A683 towards Heysham. After 4 miles turn right towards Morecambe on the A589. Keep ahead until you see brown tourist signs on the left directing you the village centre and St Peter's church.
Fact file: Distance: 8k 5 miles
Time: 2 - 3 hours
Summary: Easy. Mainly a suburban walk through the village with a foray out onto the moss and a return along the promenade.An ideal walk for a winter's day.
Maps: OS Explorer 296 Lancaster, Morecambe and Fleetwood.
Map by kind permission of the Blackpool Gazette
Directions. Make time to view St Peter's church which was founded in 967 and therefore can claim to be one of the oldest churches in continuous use in Western Europe. Its antiquity is demonstrated by some of its relics. One remarkable item is the hogsback tombstone engraved with scenes from a Viking legend - one of Lancashire's great treasures.
At the gate on the church turn left up a track leading to National Trust land called "The Barrows" a protected part of the coastline.
On reaching the brow you will stumble across St Patrick's chapel .
This ruin overlooking the great sweep of Morecambe Bay seems to transport you back a thousand years. Legend has it that it was established by St Patrick himself. However scientific dating shows it was probably founded some 300 years after his death. Nearby are the stone carved gravestones probably made for priests around the 10th century.
Then as you continue on the coast side path around the headland into Half Moon bay comes the shock of the new for there stands to two great monolith blocks of Heysham Nuclear Power Station.
We know of no other place in Britain where ancient and modern are so strikingly contrasted.
Walk towards the power station and ferry port leaving the National Trust land at a kissing gate
and continue along a tarmac strip to reach the Half Moon Bay café.
Here turn inland and then right on a lane leading uphill. On a bend turn left onto a footpath that leads alongside tall metal railings.
When this reaches open ground bear right towards houses.
Between these and a children's playground continue to reach Peel Avenue.
The idea now is to thread through the streets of suburban Heysham to reach the moss. The simplest way to describe this is to keep ahead on Peel Avenue which leads onto Heathfoot Avenue.
When this reaches Smithy Lane turn right and continue to the junction with Middleton Road. Turn left pass the Old Hall Inn
to reach Middleton Way. Turn left again,
cross the road and continue to Mossgate. Turn right
and walk down to Kingsway.
Turn left then after 100 metres turn right onto a footpath leading to Abingdon Grove.
Follow this down and continue through a ginnel to where it reaches Meldon Road.
Cross this to a footpath leading out onto the moss.
This is not a great piece of countryside scenically but at least you are away from the built environment. The path soon crosses the railway and then continues for 500 metres to reach Clay Lane.
Continue for 1000 metres to reach the B5273.
This is the busy Oxcliffe Road. Turn left (it is probably best to walk on the right to face oncoming traffic. After crossing the railway the route returns to built up Heysham.
Continue for 700 metres to arrive at traffic lights at the junction with the A 589 Heysham Road.
Keep ahead to Whinnysty Lane. This will place you on the promenade.
Turn left for Heysham Village centre.