Fleetwood seafront and beach extends from Rossall Beach at Cleveleys. It follows the land peninsula into the estuary of the River Wyre, at the bottom end of Morecambe Bay.
Fleetwood seafront has three different looks. There’s the quiet, peaceful parts around the Rossall coastal defence scheme which opens up into dune systems, natural beaches and grasslands. Then the traditional seaside with ‘man-made’ features at The Esplanade and Marine Beach. That’s the boating lakes and ponds, gardens, pitch and putt, lighthouses and seafront shops. As the coast turns into the Wyre estuary, there’s the industrial area of the docks and finally, beyond the docks is the natural landscape of Fleetwood Marsh Nature Park.
Travel Around Fleetwood Seafront
In this page, we leave Cleveleys in the south at Rossall School and carry on travelling north around the coastline with the beach and sea on your left.
The shingle of Rossall Beach at Cleveleys gives way to old and tired seawalls in front of Rossall School. The highway also ends here, with a footpath taking you through the five bar gate at the very end of Rossall Promenade. Then head on foot past Rossall School.
Watch the water!
You’ll see a water outlet set into the sea wall – it’s a land drain which discharges surface water onto the beach. If you hear a gurgling noise, get out of the way because this is what happens next:
The tall concrete pillars here (below right) are known locally as the ‘tank traps’ – supposedly to stop invading troops from coming up the beach.
They might have had a use in the war, but a more likely explanation is that they were built to protect the open air swimming pool. It once occupied the space in the field at Rossall School, behind the tall adjacent wall which you can see in the above photo.
The old concrete walls fill the space between the five bar gate, and the new sea wall at Rossall.
There isn’t actually a coast road which hugs the edge of the sea from Cleveleys to Fleetwood. You have to head slightly inland and drive around the land at Rossall School, parallel to the tram lines as far as the traffic lights at Westway. Turn left at Westway and head back to Fairway, the coastal road.
Rossall Hospital (now a care home) is on your right. Behind it, on the corner of Westway, are new houses built where the original Rossall Hospital once stood.
Rossall Coastal Defence Scheme
The Rossall Coastal Defence Scheme is a £63m project which was completed in 2018. 2km of new sea defences (just over a mile) have been built between Westway and Fleetwood Golf Course. It will protect 7,500 properties from the risk of flooding.
It’s a huge piece of civil engineering – about twice as wide as the one it replaced. It’s built in three sections as it rises out of the beach. First, a rock revetment takes the majority of the abrasion from the sea, then a stepped sea defence offers a second line of protection.
The wide promenade itself is split into two levels, with finally the rear flood wall. It’s an amazing public space, and so wide that it’s not easy to photograph!
The grassy overflow land to the rear has been relandscaped into an ecology park. The overflow channel is still in place to collect any overtopping (particularly in later years) but now takes the form of a meandering stream. As a Biological Heritage Site the Larkholme Grasslands is an environment adapted to the harsh conditions, and home to a wide variety of wildlife.
Fleetwood Golf Course and Rossall Point
The Rossall Coastal Defence Scheme ends where Fleetwood Golf Course begins. Rossall Point is just what it sounds like, the place where the coast starts to turn eastwards at the end of the peninsula. Rossall Tower is at the right hand edge of the golf course.
The land starts to turn away from the prevailing weather here, so a big, concrete sea defence isn’t needed. Instead, the sand and shingle beach provides the best kind of natural sea defences that there are.
The footpath to the rear of the beach is backed with a small, natural dune system. The dune has grown over the years, created by grasses trapping the windblown sand.
The beaches here are wide, open and wonderful to enjoy if you like peace and quiet, walking and seaside pastimes like fishing, horse riding and kite flying.
Designed to lean into the wind, Rossall Tower is a public building with a number of uses.
The ground floor is an information point – pop in and have a look at leaflets and beach finds. The National Coastwatch Institute monitor the sands at our end of Morecambe Bay from the first floor. The top floor is an open observation deck. It’s well worth a climb to the top to take in the amazing view.
To the north of Rossall Tower are public car parks, a children’s play area and the Log Cabin. There’s also a large open field where you can enjoy a picnic or a game of football. This is a popular spot and well used throughout the year for all manner of things, from walking the dog to having large family parties at the weekend.
The Drive along Fleetwood Seafront
These clips were filmed while the sea defence works were in progress, so we need to get the dashcam rigged up and take new footage next year. Still an interesting look at the seafront though, over several videos. The first one covers the drive from Rossall Hospital at Westway, to the Sea Cadets base at the end of Beach Road – the area already explained above.
Once you head north beyond the open green spaces of the golf course links you come to the boating lakes. One is used for the model boat club who hold meetings, events and big competitions here.
The other, larger one is used for canoeing and training. Blackpool and the Fylde College also use this larger boating lake for their nautical college students.
This amazing aerial photo of Fleetwood seafront and the boating lakes was taken from a plane by Visit Fylde Coast contributor Juliette Gregson (September 2014) –
Fleetwood seafront from the boating lakes to the docks retains its Victorian heritage and is really attractive, traditional British seaside.
Beyond the boating lakes is a pitch and putt and rolling green grassy gardens. Walk the footpath along the length of the beach towards the seaside of the green open space, or use the promenade where you can sit and take in the view from one of the seafront shelters.
Next stop on your journey is the Marine Hall. Indoors, it’s a multi-use function space while outside it’s surrounded by attractive gardens, beach huts and bowling greens.
To the rear of the Marine Hall you’ll find the accessible, open, sandy Marine Beach. There are also facilities here like public toilets and cafes to make your day out on the beach more comfortable.
This area is also where you’ll find the beach huts. There are two different styles, the traditional pastel coloured ones and a modern design which are integrated into the colonnades of Marine Hall.
Very few places in the UK can claim to have truly accessible beaches for wheelchair users, but local resident Michael Gray aims to make Fleetwood one of them. Read more about Fleetwood Beach Wheelchairs here
Ferry Beach and The Esplanade on Fleetwood Seafront
Next on the seafront at The Esplanade you’ll reach Ferry Beach which is also a site of Special Scientific Interest.
Here, you’ll find plants and native sea holly growing – which are specially adapted to the harsh salty sea air. In turn, the plants attract a wide variety of wildlife and birds.
It’s adjacent to Fleetwood RNLI station. There’s free parking here, right next to the promenade, so you can sit in your car facing over the water.
Look across the channel of the River Wyre to Knott End with Morecambe Bay and the Lakes beyond and a fabulous view for miles on a clear day.
Drive along Fleetwood Seafront – part two
Our next clip picks up where the last one left off at the Sea Cadets at Beach Road. Travel along the ‘seasidey’ part of Fleetwood seafront to the Museum on Dock Street. (Through the areas which we’ve talked about above).
Dock Street – where Fleetwood Seafront joins the River Wyre
You’ll pass Fleetwood Museum on your right, it was originally the old Customs House.
This is Dock Street. On the left is the disused land which was once the container parking for the ferry to Ireland. Eventually the brownfield site will be redeveloped. Until then it’s a useful car park each year for the thousands of people who visit for Tram Sunday.
There’s an eclectic mix of buildings along Dock Street. This is where Fleetwood Railway Station once stood, which was why Fleetwood grew in the first place. You can still see the splendour of some of these old buildings. Some of them have been restored – thankfully a number of them still stand. Others have been demolished to make way for more modern buildings.
Unmistakable next on your right is the Asda supermarket. Then a little further along, beyond the next big roundabout and next to the Marina, is the shopping outlet Affinity Lancashire. You can see its green roofs in the next aerial photo, also taken by Juliette Gregson in 2014 –
Our last video clip covers the journey we’ve just talked about, from Fleetwood Museum to Eros roundabout on Amounderness Way.
Fleetwood Marsh Nature Park
Against the banks of the River Wyre is Fleetwood Marsh Nature Park, although you can’t easily get to it from the seafront.
It sits against the tidal banks of the River Wyre and is a rich habitat for an amazing variety of wildlife. It’s a great open space for walking and enjoyment of the outdoors. Abandoned boats lie against the edge of the river making a good subject for artists and photographers.
It’s accessed via Jamieson Road (see the small oval car park next to the pond in the centre of the next photo). You’ll be rewarded with beautiful views and green landscapes for your efforts.
Here’s the third of Juliette Gregson’s aerial photos from 2014. In it you can see the footpaths at the Nature Park, extending along the river bank behind the new housing estate to Affinity Lancashire. Since this photo was taken a footbridge has been built across the harbour entrance.
While you’re here…
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