Route details, maps, pubs, features, local history and folklore for a wide variety of walks focusing primarily on Norfolk and Suffolk

Monday, 30 May 2011

Lancashire Coastal Way - Freckleton to Lytham St Annes

View across the Ribble estuary

A 10 mile walk along the Lancashire Coastal Way from Freckleton to Lytham.

The Lancashire Coastal way is a 137 mile footpath following the coastline between Merseyside and Cumbria. The starting point is at the little village of Freckleton which lies midway between Preston and Lytham St Annes on the Ribble Estuary. This first section through to Lytham follows the estuary along the saltmarshes and alongside the Warton airbase. Views can be seen across the estuary towards Southport and beyond are the hills of Wales. Ahead the Ribble disappears into a distant sea.

Freckleton to Lytham Walk - Essential Information

Walk Statistics:

Start point
FreckletonView in OS Map | View in Google Map
End Point
LythamView in OS Map | View in Google Map
Total Walk distance
10.0 miles
Walk difficulty


Highbank Farm, Poulton Le Fylde Camp site View in OS Map | View in Google Map
Highbank Farm, Poulton Le Fylde - a friendly and compact little site.


StageCoach - Bus Service
Service Number
68 - StageCoach Service 68 from Blackpool to Preston
Blackpool Transport - Bus Service
Service Number
2 - Blackpool Bus Service from Poulton to Blackpool

Walk Data

Date of Walk
Walk Time
14:30 to 19:00
Griffmonster, Kat
Weather Conditions
Started off sunny but clouds came over during the walk. Cool

Walk Notes

The views from the path down to the estuary from Freckleton were quite unexpected. Here, the ground is about 14m above sea level but it gives some splendid views up the estuary.

The footpath leads along the edge of the saltmarsh and is was evident that there had been recent flooding by the dried mud. Short stretches of boardwalk were preceded by a wide variety of objects placed as stepping stones by walkers attempting to negotiate the mud and water around them. Fortunately for us most of the mud was dried but there were a couple of occasions where we had to balance our way across old branches, discarded car wheels and wooden planks. This did add a little adventure to the walk. There was a huge amount of debris littering the marshes. At first sight I thought this debris was just careless dumping but it soon became evident by the number of tree trunks that appeared with this debris that this must have either been brought up by high tides or from flood waters washing down from the hills along its 75 miles length from its source in the Penines.

Coach and Horses, Freckleton
Coach and Horses, Freckleton


The walk is easy to follow with a few waymarkers to point the walker in the right direction. It is just a case of following the estuary and then the seafront.

Freckleton to Lytham

From Frecleton village centre take Trinity Close, the Preston Old Road until it turns a sharp left. Here, turn right down Bunker Street and continue past the Ship Inn and onto the footpath. This eventually leads down to the marsh alongside the River Ribble. Keep to the path at the marshes edge all the way through to the end of Warton air base where the route heads inland. There is a brief diversion to the main road before it heads out again along the sea defences coming back onto the main road at the start of Lytham. Once again, head back out alongside the boatyard and alongside the creek before coming onto the main road yet again. Follow the road down to the sea front and just keep walking.

Negotiating the saltmarsh debrisObstacle course in front of the Warton Airbase
On the left Negotiating the saltmarsh debris; On the right Obstacle course in front of the Warton Airbase


Coach and Horses, Freckleton View in OS Map | View in Google Map

Image of pub
Coach and Horses, Freckleton

The Coach and Horses opened in 1824-25 and almost certainly owes its origins to the trade using the marsh road. In earlier times it served as a staging inn for travellers from Preston to Blackpool. It is now a family run pub offering food and guest ales. There is a beer garden at the rear of the pub and a heated smoking shelter.


A warm a friendly local with an interesting couple of guest ales being served - My Lady's Fancy, a full bodied golden ale from Titanic brewery in Stafford and Wandle ale, a refreshing golden beer with a crisp delicate bitterness from Sambrook's, a London micro brewery. We were given a sample of each before we chose.

Trawl Boat Inn, Lytham View in OS Map | View in Google Map

Image of pub
Trawl Boat Inn, Lytham

The name of this Wetherspoons establishment is taken from a former pub on the corner of Heyhouses Lane and North Houses Lane which was owned by the Clifton family. The building still stands, but has long since been converted into two homes. The original Trawl Boat Inn had a colourful history. The earliest date of the building on record is 1822 when it was a popular call-in-point for travellers on the wagon road from Blackpool to Lytham. It was closed by Eleanor Clifton after the staff were caught drinking in the kitchen when they were supposed to be working.


You have to admire the fact that Wetherspoons offers some great local ales. On this occasion they had several George Wright Brews of which we tried two: Pure Blonde and Northern Lights, both pale coloured ales and very drinkable.

Lytham Windmill
Lytham Windmill


Warton AirbaseView in OS Map | View in Google Map

During the Second World War Warton was used as an American Air Base whose principle job was to receive new aircraft from the USA and modify them for operational use. At the end of the war the base was reverted to an RAF station before it was taken over by English Electric in 1947. Today it is in possession of BAE and has been used as a testing ground for aircraft including the Canberra, the Lightning, the Sepecat Jaguar, the Panavia Tornado and BAE Hawk and most recently the Eurofighter Typhoon.

The airbase bore witness to the unfortunate Freckleton air disaster on 23 August 1944. During a violent storm, an American B-24 Liberator heavy bomber attempting to land at the airbase aborted the procedure at the last minute in order to make another approach. As the aircraft headed round its wingtip clipped a tree and was ripped away as it impacted with the corner of a building. The fuselage came down in the village partially demolishing three houses and the Sad Sack Snack Bar, before crossing Lytham Road and bursting into flames. A part of the aircraft hit the infants wing of Freckleton Holy Trinity School killing all but 3 of the pupils. A total of 23 adults and 38 children were killed in the disaster, including the 3 crew members and 14 servicemen in the snack bar.


Lytham Windmill View in OS Map | View in Google Map

The Lytham windmill was built by the Squire of Lytham in 1805 on an area of ground known as Lytham Marsh. It is thought that the machinery dated from even earlier times and was salvaged from other disused mills in the area. With the coming of the railways Lytham became a resort and the windmill became a curiosity on the seafront. Then a tragedy occurred on January 1st 1919 when a severe gale caused the sails of Lytham Mill to run out of control despite the powerful brake. Sparks from the brake soon ignited the building and fanned by the strong wind the flames engulfed the interior and destroyed the cap and sails and most of the machinery which was made of wood. ln 1921 the Windmill was given to the people of Lytham by the Squire of Lytham, John T. Clifton. The shell was restored and given a new cap and a set of dummy sails. Since this time the mill has been used as a cafe, as H.Q. for Lytham Cruising Club, the Motorboat Club and the Sea Cadets and was once an Electricity Board sub—station. Renovations i the 1970's and 1980's have restored the windmill to its present state and it is now a museum with free admission.

The Trawl Boat Inn, Lytham
The Trawl Boat Inn, Lytham


Below are a selection of images taken from from the photo album for this walk. Feel free to browse through these or click on any image to view a larger version in the Gallery.

Click on an image below to view the Image Gallery


Below is the route depicted on the OpenStreetMap, Ordnance Survey Map and Google Map. Links to full page versions are found in the Essential Information

Summary of Document Changes

Last Updated: ... 2017-03-04


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