The Kent and Bela Estuary, Milnthorpe
Diversity of landscapes is one of the delights of South Lakeland, from lakes and mountains to floodplains and shorelines.
The confluence of the Kent and Bela Estuary is flat marsh land mostly passed by and unnoticed by those unfamiliar with the area. The footpath down to the shore line is easily missed, on the edge of the Milnthorpe to Arnside road, opposite Dallam Park.
The Kent wanders laconically in from the North West. The rush and tumble of white water left behind in Kentmere. Its last burst of energy drained by the salmon haven of Levens Park. The Bela falls over a weir holding it captive and calm in a final bend through Dallam Park.
Here is an ever changing scene. Catch it on a quiet summer’s evening and your shadow will cast long and low over empty sands. The bubble and pop of crustacean holes, accompanying the more distant sounds of the waders. In winter flocks of fieldfares rise up from the salt marshes. Sometimes cormorants are hanging their wings out to dry or geese gather and stock up for the next leg of their flight.
Cast your eyes up and north and the Lakeland amphitheatre provides a majestic backdrop. In winter clear sky and white tops will lure keen walkers up. And yet this little known estuary sometimes proves a haven from autumn storms. Frequently the grey caps of cloud will be sat low down and it takes little imagination to feel the wind and water laden air. Step down in the estuary and you could be 5 degrees warmer and a good deal drier.
Take care, though, to watch and end enjoy from the firm shore. The sands hold their own quicksand treachery and will not hesitate to suck the unaware down.
This gem was kindly contributed by Alvina Labsvirs from Holme