Ok, so I don't know whether or not there ever really were smugglers at The Cove, in Silverdale, but when you sit on this wonderful stoney beach and look out across Morecambe Bay, it certainly feels like there should have been. In an area where there are very few quiet, safe, and easily accessible places to get down to the shoreline and relax for an hour or two, The Cove is a gem. You could sit and picnic, or my kids love to do beach-combing: looking for shells, interesting pebbles or "sea potatoes" (sea urchins). There are always wading birds to watch feeding out on the bay, and little caves and cliffs to explore.
The Cove is at SD456755. There is very limited parking on the dead end Cove Road road that leads down to the shore from the Silverdale to Arnside road (on the left before you get to the Holgates Caravan Park) at SD458758.
My preferred way to get there is from Silverdale village centre. Parking up on the main street (Emesgate Lane), walk down the hill past the post office and turn right, continuing down the hill. On the right hand side are The Lots, part of the National Trust's Bank House Farm. Go up the steps and follow the public footpath across the two fields of The Lots, enjoying the lovely views across the Bay, or the orchids growing by the path in late spring. Then a short cliff-top walk through woods brings you down to The Cove (total walk 10 minutes from the village). Exitting The Cove at the main gate up the hill makes a nice circular walk back to the village.
At Low tide, the beach gets bigger and there are more opportunities for exploring or walking along the shoreline to other bays. BUT the sands of Morecambe Bay are notoriously dangerous and the tides rise extremely quickly. To stay safe, stick to the stoney bits of the beach, and explore only on a falling tide (i.e. follow the tide out).
Check out tide times or pick up a tide timetable from the village post office.
The Lots are grazed by our tenant farmer's cattle and sheep to conserve their wildflowers and open character, so please keep your dog on a lead!
As Lead Ranger for South/East Cumbria and Morecambe Bay, I manage the individual Rangers who look after all the fantastic National Trust coast and countryside around the edges of the Lake District, and beyond into North Lancashire and the Eden Valley. The variety of the places, and of the work, makes coming to work in the morning a real joy and I never quite know where I'll end up. Although my office is in sunny Silverdale, on the edge of the swirling, ever changing muds of Morecambe Bay, I could end up on the sand-dunes of Sandscale Haws (near Barrow), the shores of Windermere at Fell Foot, patrolling the ancient chapel ruins at Heysham near Morecambe, helping with public access on the Sizergh Castle Estate near Kendal, rounding up escaped cows on Arnside Knott, or introducing visitors and great crested newts to each other at Acorn Bank gardens, near Penrith. Or I could be in that Silverdale office, working on a Woodland Management Plan or boundary dispute.