The Eden Estuary Trail (7.5 miles/12km)
The Eden Estuary Trail takes you through some of the most beautiful areas within the Solway Coast AONB. Starting in the village of Burgh by Sands, you will soon be confronted by the wide, open vista of the Solway estuary. You will visit historic sites and stunning landscapes with their richly varied wildlife. Always remember though, the estuary and river Eden can be dangerous due to the twice-daily tides.
Edward I was king from 1274 to 1307 and spent most of his reign campaigning on England's western and northern borders. He was known as Longshanks, for his height, and the Hammer of the Scots, for his hard and efficient pursuit of supremacy in Scotland. In the winter of 1306, while attempting to quell another uprising, he became ill and rested at Lancercost Priory for several months. He died on Burgh Marsh of dysentery, within sight of the shores of Scotland which had plagued him for so long. The monument pictured marks the place of his death, and, although it is slowly sinking into the marsh, plans are afoot to rescue and restore it, to remember Edward I, Hammer of the Scots.
Architecture on the Solway Coast is varied and fascinating. Thatched cottages are rare on the Solway, but during late Medieval times, reedbeds were common, providing abundant raw materials for thatching. Later, drainage works to improve marshes for rearing sheep meant that many wetland habitats disappeared. Clay Dabbin barns are a relic of past times. They were constructed of a mixture of clay, pebbles and straw, and then plastered over. On your walk, look out for the clay barn just along the lane from the thatched cottage.
The intertidal river Eden is an ever-changing environment due to the twice-daily inundation of the river channel by the incoming tides. This provides a spectacle for the birdwatcher all year round. In spring the Solway is a feeding area for those birds migrating north to their breeding grounds in more northerly countries. In summer it is home to a large breeding population of gulls, terns, wading birds and other salt marsh species. Autumn sees the return of thousands of northerly breeding birds, some of which are Solway winter residents such as goldeneye, barnacle geese, pink-footed geese and whooper swans. Many are on passage to warmer wintering grounds such as Africa. In winter, due to the large concentration of birds, predators abound such as the peregrine falcon and its smaller cousin, the merlin. The walker is sure to see a wide range of bird species and should be on their guard for rarities at all times of year, as the inner Solway regularly produces notable species.