Last updated: 24th Oct 2013

Silloth and the Solway Coast

Victorian seaside town Silloth is the main centre on the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a hidden gem stretch of coastline flanking the estuary with views across to the Galloway Hills. A popular centre for golf, birdwatching and wildlife holidays, this spectacular coastline is famed for its mild climate and beautiful sunsets.

A wide choice of scenic walks feature across the Solway Plain and Silloth makes an excellent base for accessing the nearby Hadrian's Wall Path National Trail. Cycling trails in the area include the Coast to Coast (C2C) trail, the Hadrian's Wall Cycle Way and the Reivers Route stretching from Tynemouth to Whitehaven. Championship golf links are numerous around the Cumbrian Solway Firth coast and Silloth is home to the Discovery Centre, the AONB's main visitor centre with exhibitions, tourist information, resource centre and gift shop.

The Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Located on the far North West coast of Cumbria, The Solway Coast AONB stretches from historic coastal town Maryport in Cumbria right up to the Scottish Borders at Rockcliffee Marsh. A mixed landscape of agricultural land, sand dunes, salt marsh, raised mires and sand and mud flats, the English Solway Firth coastal stretch is rich in birdlife, Roman fortlet excavations and ancient Cistercian abbey remains.

Particular sites of interest include the ancient remains of salt works dating back to the Anglo Saxon period around Saltcotes and Newton Marsh. Salt pans still retain sea water here, and are what remains of a once unbroken line of salt pans spanning the Solway to Millom producing the much needed preservation material of salt before refrigeration. Great family walks feature at Crosscanonby Carr nature reserve including an Access for All Trail. The reserve is a mixed landscape of wetland, woodland and meadow rich in wildlife.

Roman Milefortlet

The area just north of Maryport and south of Hadrian's Wall on the Solway was particularly exposed and vulnerable to Scottish attack. To counteract this, the Romans constructed a number of Mileforts and garrisons in the area, with the most significant being the key settlement at Maryport. In the early 1990s a Roman Milefortlet was excavated at Swarthy Hill overlooking the Saltpans on the Solway Firth coast. A fascinating feature of this milefortlet is its position on the brow of a hill rather than in the best spot for good views across the estuary. The Romans always positioned their fortlets exactly one mile apart.

Holm Cultram Abbey & the Cistercian Monks

Evidence of Cistercian monk settlement on the Solway Firth after the 1066 Battle of Hastings is evident around Abbeytown just inland from Silloth. The monks arrived from France, pushing down to this site from nearby Melrose on the Scottish Borders, and constructed Holm Cultram Abbey in the mid 1100s. Prior to the dissolution, the Abbey was vast and today part of the interior survives as a public church. Later in the 1640s the Quakers and their Society of Friends were active in the area and evidence of their worship can be seen at the Beckfoot Burial Ground near Silloth.

The Discovery Centre at Silloth

Pick up leaflets, guides and all the information you'll need on the Solway Firth AONB at The Discovery Centre in Silloth. The visitor centre features interactive exhibitions showcasing the spectacular coastline, its history, landscapes, industries and wildlife present here. Art exhibitions by local artists also feature as well as a film on the Solway Coast which serves as an excellent introduction to the area.

Silloth Golf Links

Championship links Silloth on Solway Golf Club with its magnificent views across to the Galloway and Lakeland Hills (and as far as the Isle of Man on a clear day), is a classic links course challenge laid out in 1892 over sand dunes just west of Silloth centre. Renowned for its great value, the club extends a warm welcome to visitors and features a fine on-site clubhouse and excellent on-site catering facilities with private dining for large parties available.

Things to do in Silloth

A small coastal town brimming with Victorian character, Silloth is the perfect base for business and leisure, with award-winning West Beach, premier golf and sea fishing in the area. Cosy cottages, pet friendly holiday parks and first class golf hotels all feature in Silloth and families will love the seaside holiday feel of this coastal town with its holiday parks and seaside attractions including crazy golf, bowling, amusement arcades and swimming pools.

Nestling midway between Roman harbour town Maryport and the start of the Hadrian's Wall Path at Bowness-on-Solway just to the north, Silloth is ideally situated for touring and sits just a stone's throw from Carlisle and the Northern Lakeland fells.

Solway Firth Festivals

Two fantastic festivals are held annually on the Cumbrian Solway Firth coast including Solfest just 4 miles outside of Silloth at Tarnside Farm which takes place across the August Bank Holiday weekend. Solfest has a real family atmosphere and offers a mix of musical genres from disco and dance to reggae and rock. More music accompanied by a fine selection of Cumbrian beers is on offer at the Silloth Music and Beer Festival held annually at the beginning of September.