Before the viaduct was built, Arnside villagers could supplement their income by ferrying passengers across the estuary.
There was a regular service of horse-drawn coaches from Hest Bank to Kents Bank, some of which would call at Silverdale. Locals also ran pleasure trips from Arnside out across the bay. Royal passage was offered at high tide by local ferries at 6d per person along the coast.
It was the monks at Cartmel who appointed official guides to aid travellers crossing the sands
. After the dissolution of the monasteries, guides were appointed by the Duchy of Lancaster, which is the case today. Guided walks are now popular events organized to raise funds for charities and the summer schedule can be found here.
In 1776 the owners of the marshes at Arnside, Storth and Hazelslack built an embankment to reclaim the land from the sea. This resulted in hundreds of acres of land being reclaimed right up to Arnside Tower. It is believed that in 1759 John Wesley crossed the sands but advised no one to follow him! The sands have always been treacherous and there are many sad recordings of loss of life.
When the viaduct was built the Furness Railway Company constructed the new road to Sandside, the promenade and a stone jetty to replace the old wooden one at Arnside. Steamers from Morecambe used to come to Arnside to tie up at the jetty half an hour before the tide turned but this ceased at the beginning of the 20th century.
We gratefully acknowledge P.D. Hogg, for the extract above which has been revised and taken from information published in ‘Harnolveseut to Arnside’ 2005.