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Swimming and watersports

The two most popular spots to take to the water on the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty are at Allonby Bay and further north at West Beach at Silloth.

They really are lovely with miles of beach to play on – just make sure you check the tide tables before you arrive or you may have to walk quite a way before you can get your feet wet!

Hardy swimmers can take a dip here, or you can get more of an adrenaline rush if you’re into kitesurfing or windsurfing. Watersports here are a very informal thing though – you won’t find lifeguards on our beaches.

One of the popular kitesurfing websites has given its top tips for Allonby Bay: “On really windy days you’ll find a bit of chop, but that’s as large as the waves get at Allonby, making it the ideal freestyle venue.”

But they put warnings in place too, which apply to swimmers, kitesurfers and windsurfers alike: “Allonby beach can have strong currents. This can make it unsuitable for beginners. There are some rocks that get barely hidden at high tide. If you arrive at high tide, ask one of the locals to point them out to you.”

We would really like you to think of the wildlife when you visit any of the beaches on the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty too. We can exist in harmony, but it takes some consideration from our human visitors.

Please do be careful of the wildlife if you do decide to head to the sands here. There are birds nesting on the beaches above the high water mark between March and July and they are at their most vulnerable when sitting on eggs. Stick to existing paths and tracks whenever possible – and stay below the high tide line.

Take a wide route around birds that appear distressed. Move away quickly and quietly – even if that means you are going back the way you have come.

Allonby was a fashionable bathing resort in the 18th century – seek out the old bathing house where seawater was once pumped in to pools so the Victorians could take a dip.

The Environment Agency rates the water quality at Allonby as good – though they don’t list West Beach in their bathing water surveys.