Lady’s Slipper, Fairy Steps and Silver Dale are words that conjure up a land of day dreaming and story telling. Finding your way from Tythebarn House B&B around this patchwork of wonder and wildlife in a far-flung corner of Lancashire is magical in itself with its mysterious maze of crisscrossing roads and county boundaries.
Even now I find it difficult to describe exactly how to find Gait Barrows National Nature Reserve. In a way that’s good as only the single-minded traveller will journey in yet one more circle to find the entrance to the reserve protecting the rare and beautiful Lady’s Slipper Orchid.
Fairy Steps , hidden in a narrow limestone cleft between Arnside and Beetham, is the land of local legend. Climb or descend the rough steps between this steep limestone escarpment without touching the sides of the narrow gully and the fairies will grant your wish. Only the chosen few granted with ”second sight’ can see the fairy folk skipping up the steps. To add to the mystery and intrigue this route between Hazelstacks and Slack Head is part of one of the Lakeland’s corpse trails used to carry the coffins from the more rural areas to the nearby church. Several iron rings are visible on the steep rock face and are thought to have been used to haul up the coffins. The very thought of such endeavour conjures up wild Tolkien like imaginings of mishaps and adventure before the unknowing dead reached their final resting place and tranquil surroundings of Beetham Church.
Enough of dark thoughts…..
As with all good tales this one has the perfect ending on a pebbly beach cove tucked alongside the coastal road as it winds its way from Silverdale village. Sit here awhile as the day drifts into night and dream of far away beaches on islands in warmer climes. The sun will set over Morecambe Bay, and your day, in a way that will bring you back time and time again. If you can find the way that is!
Photos by Vic Brown
Explore more of this fabulous area and book in at Tythebarn House B&B