Fleetwood is on a peninsula of land. Rossall Point marks the spot where the north/south coastline begins to turn east/west (ish) at the golf course. It’s an interesting spot, it’s wild and windswept and quite natural. It’s a great spot for anyone who loves a natural coastline.
Walk Around the Coast to Rossall Point
There’s a coastal footpath, right against the edge of the beach, all along the whole of the Fylde Coast. So you can walk north from Cleveleys to Rossall Point, or west from the ‘seasidey’ parts of Fleetwood seafront.
Cleveleys ends adjacent to Rossall School. Through the Five Bar Gate from Rossall Promenade there’s a section of old concrete revetments. They’re known locally as the ‘tank traps’.
Next up is the glorious, brand new Rossall Coastal Defence Scheme. One mile of new sea wall, opened in 2018 at a cost of £64 million, it protects the area against coastal flooding and erosion. It’s also an amazing public space – perfect for walking, cycling and enjoying the beach.
The new Rossall sea wall ends at Fleetwood Golf Club. Here the landscape becomes far more natural. It’s actually a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and would you believe, where Morecambe Bay begins. The big civil engineering of the man-made sea defence changes here to a low wall against a path.
Visit Rossall Point
At Rossall Point, the coastal footpath butts up to sand dunes and natural sea protection to the landward side. There’s a short wall against the beach – which is ideal to sit and rest on when the walking and biking gets too much!
On this section of North West UK coast, the prevailing weather generally comes from the south west/west. At Rossall the new sea defences get battered pretty much head-on by the weather. At Rossall Point though, the land changes direction relative to the direction of the waves. You can see the change in the next photo.
Here, the prevailing weather doesn’t hit the shore head on. The waves glance along and off the land, causing less erosion, and hence big sea defences aren’t needed.
It’s not a completely isolated place, but is used mostly by local people – and those in the know. It’s about as natural as you’ll get, without going to a completely remote coastline.
The small dune systems against the path are home to sea holly and dune grass and other native coastal plants. They’re specially adapted to live in the dry sand with extremely long root systems. These enable them to search down into the depths of the sand to find the moisture they need to survive. Of course they also attract the butterflies, insects and wildlife which thrive in this salty habitat. Listen on a warm day, can you hear the sound of crickets?
Beach Safety at Rossall Point Seafront
The Fleetwood coastline around Rossall Point Seafront is only marginally less dangerous than the more northerly Morecambe Bay. That’s the beach which is renowned for shifting quick sands, and the ill fated Chinese Cocklers who died in 2004. On 5 February at least 21 Chinese illegal immigrant labourers were drowned by the incoming tide after picking cockles off the Lancashire/Cumbrian coast.
Please take care, know the tide times before you go walking and don’t risk leaving the shore edge on an incoming tide.
The whole of the Fylde Coast can be dangerous to beach users. When you venture out there you should always have a knowledge of tide times, an awareness of where the sea is and when it starts to come in. Ideally you should let someone know before you go walking on the beach.
Huge islands form rapidly when sea water fills the gullies around sandbanks. It cuts walkers off and leaves them stranded. The beaches shift on a daily basis with the movement of the tides which is exaggerated by the strong winds on the coast. You can’t rely on the landscape looking the same for two days on the run.
A Home for Wildlife at Rossall Point Seafront
There’s a stile just at the end of the new sea wall adjacent to Fleetwood Golf Course. This is where Morecambe Bay officially ends, and it’s also where the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) begins.
The SSSI includes the whole of the Wyre river estuary and beaches at Fleetwood and covers the area right to the far northern side of Morecambe Bay.
The Wyre Estuary is an integral part of Morecambe Bay, one of the two largest areas of intertidal estuarine flats in Britain (the other being the Wash). The combined Wyre/Morecambe Bay estuary is of international significance for wintering wading birds and national significance for wintering wildfowl. The Wyre estuary also supports many important species of wild plants.
The huge sandbanks are a perfect home for birds and wildlife. They feed on the worms and invertebrates which live in the sand or are washed up by the sea.
Fleetwood is home to enormous numbers of wading and sea birds. Some live here all year round, some come here to breed in summer, and others come to feed and overwinter.
Please don’t disturb the birds
The birds, which look cute running along the water’s edge, are trying to conserve vital energy and warmth while the tide is in and their feeding grounds are covered by water. Please don’t disturb them or let your dog run at them. When they fly away they waste energy that’s difficult to replace in winter when food is more scarce.
Marine life is rich on the coastline, and you’ll often see the black heads and puppy dog eyes of swimming seals. Maybe you’ll catch an odd one having a rest on the shore. You need to be quick and alert to them, they surface for minutes and bob up and down, looking similar to a floating seagull. Then they are gone, back under the water to hunt for more fish.
The Fylde Coast is also home to porpoise, and there are groups of people who scan the shores looking for sightings of them swimming. You’re probably more likely to see (or smell!) an odd dead one, washed onto shore.
Rossall Coastwatch Tower at Rossall Point Seafront
Not quite exactly at Rossall Point is the Coastwatch Tower. It’s where volunteers watch over the water from their high vantage point, keeping an eye out for mariners and beach users in distress.
The waters in this area are used by career sailors and the general public alike. Pleasure boats, fishermen, canoes, kitesurfers and others enjoy lots of sports here. They can also easily get into trouble in the rapidly changing conditions on this coastline.
The Coastwatch Tower has been rebuilt in recent years. The old tower was demolished in January 2012 and this brand new replacement built. It has different levels for different uses, including:
- a lookout point for the Coastwatch volunteers,
- an open roof where you can take in the view, and
- education facilities which can be used by the general public.
The base of the old Coastwatch Tower is now a block of public toilets.
While you’re here…
Have a look at the homepage of the Visit Fleetwood website for more of the latest updates.
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