Humphrey Head

From Humphrey Head across the foreshore and the estuary to Arnside Knott

Where does riverbank end and coastline begin? Trace the course of the River Kent on a map and you’ll see it flow past the caravan park at Low Sampool, meet with the Gilpin, and in the course of an extravagant loop become estuarine. From there the estuary widens, although not as much as it apparently once did – the viaduct which bridges the river between Arnside and Grange-Over-Sands created new farmland from former mud-flats. Beyond the viaduct the land backs away until almost five miles separates the two sides. I can’t identify a demarcation, an obvious transition from estuary to bay, but on the west bank there is at least a boundary beyond which debate has ended and the sea holds sway – a long finger of land pokes down into the bay and the marshes to the west of it have no real claim on the Kent. That long finger is Humphrey Head.

Having been nearby at Ducky’s Farm…


…near Flookburgh for a children’s party,

Sunday afternoon was a perfect opportunity to continue my exploration of the river Kent, not that we would get particularly close to the Kent. Haste was decidedly not the order of the day and we started with a picnic snack, despite the biting wind:

Like Scout Scar or Whitbarrow, Humphrey Head is a wide limestone ridge with cliffs on the west side and gentle slopes on the east. The headland is mostly owned by Cumbria Wildlife Trust, and is apparently home to a diversity of flowers in the right season. At this time of year the most notable features are the twisted topiary of stunted wind-clipped hawthorns…

Which the kids, particularly B, enjoyed climbing…

A meanwhile was busy collecting great clouds of wool, deposited on all of the prickly objects in this open field…

Bizarrely, Humphrey Head is one of Wainwright’s Outlying Fells, but despite only reaching a puny 53m, it has the quality of light and space I associate with much higher hills…

It also has a trig pillar…

…from which we dropped down to the rocks of Humphrey Head Point…

The return leg of our exploration took us into Humphrey Head Wood…

…home to many large oaks which were in turn host to many ferns. Many of these giants were clearly dead or had dead, barkless branches. I wonder why?

A and B were particularly impressed with the hollow base of this tree trunk…

…the floor of which was carpeted with a wonderfully soft layer of small wood pieces. A fabulous howff, if you are under four foot tall.

Humphrey Head

2 thoughts on “Humphrey Head

  1. […] the the north, towards Fell End, you can see that another Outlying Fell, Humphrey Head, is in fact the last gasp of the long limestone ridge of Hampsfell. Rather fancifully, I was put in […]

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