Carlisle & Silloth Bay Railway - Towns

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Carlisle & Silloth Bay Railway - Towns
Carlisle & Silloth Bay Railway - Silloth

Silloth - With a population of almost 3000 people, the town was inspired by Carlisle businessmen as a railhead and port in the 1850’s. The imaginative planning is to be seen in its wide elegant tree lined streets, spacious sea front green and magnificent promenade stretching towards Skinburness. Thousands of servicemen came to know it in World War II through the building nearby of a major aerodrome which now holds industrial firms.

It retains a busy and interesting little dock. Originally, Silloth was a small community of a few farm houses and was noted as a safe anchorage for ships during storms. It was in the mid-19th Century that the Carlisle and Silloth Bay Railway initiated the development of Silloth as a town. An eminent physician declared ‘the air to be cleaner and more health giving than anywhere else’, and coupled with the large grand hotels that were built to accommodate visitors, Silloth became known as a Victorian seaside resort. For more information visit the Silloth-on-Solway Website

Abbeytown - A nearby hamlet, Abbey Cowper, was once called Cowbier after the cows kept there by the monks. South of the Abbey, Swinsty (now a private farm) served as a piggery for the monks. Many of the village buildings were constructed from the Abbey's stones when it fell into ruin after the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536. But the abbey's church remained to serve as a refuge for the people during border raids. Abbeytown is near the Solway Coast and Moricambe Bay. The Cumbria Coastal Way passes nearby. The land also provided excellent pasture for horses and cattle, and a weekly market and two fairs a year traded in the livestock. Sheep were grazed for the lucrative wool trade, and salt was mined from the sea. Walkers will enjoy ambling along the River Waver and watching for wildlife. It was in Abbeytown that The Solway Junction Railway joined the Carlisle and Silloth Bay Railway before leaving it again at Kirkbride Junction.

Kirkbride - In Roman times the Kirkbride fort was situated a few miles to the south of the later fort at Bowness on Solway. The fort was likely founded by Agricola and probably re-built during the mid/late Trajanic period as part of the Stanegate frontier. It is possible that the Kirkbride fort, built on the River Wampool beside the natural sheltered harbour offered by the Moricambe mud-flats, represents the Portus Trucculensis mentioned by Tacitus (Agricola XXXVII.iv) but as yet unidentified. Kirkbride airfield first opened in 1939 and remained open for use by the RAF until May 1960. Its primary function was as a care & maintenance base (no 12) to keep aircraft being delivered from factories until they could be accepted to full time active squadrons, the idea that aircraft were being kept as far as practical from the action until needed. All types of aircraft were seen inc, Avro Tutors, Magisters, Fairy Battles, Spitfires, Hurricanes, Avro Lancasters, Halifaxes and Liberators. Last official aircraft to be flown out from the airfield was a mk14 Gloster Meteor in 1960. Today Kirkbride is still a huge site with private flying taking place off the remaining main runway and all the main hangers still intact and being used for various things,sadly none of them aviation related. Carlisle and Silloth Bay Railway ran through Kirkbride which had its own station.

Drumburgh - Drumburgh was at the junction to Port Carlisle and is close to one of the small forts that which were associated with Hadrian's Wall and. Some of the stones from the Roman time are to be seen in the grounds of Drumburgh Castle a fortified house that stands directly on the line of the Way. Drumburgh is one of the last outposts of a once extensive peat bog on the Solway plain. Raised mires such as this are formed when vegetation grows in a body of standing water over a long period of time. Dead plant matter falls to the bottom of the lake and gradually fills it up. Because there is little oxygen in the environment this material does not rot but instead compresses into peat.

Burgh-by-sands - Burgh by Sands was an attractive well kept station and it was here that the Romans built Hadrians Wall which took 7 years to complete. At 73 miles (117km) it was completed in AD 129 and abandoned in AD 383. A stone and earth wall, in places as high as 14 feet (4m) with forts at regular intervals, built between Wallsend on the east coast and Bowness on Solway on the west coast. It passes through the Burgh by Sands, but where can it be seen, sadly in Burgh by Sands, nowhere, nowhere above ground that is. The remains of the wall within are underground.

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