Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published January 24th 2014
A Beautiful Victorian Seaside Town
Grange-Over-Sands is a Victorian seaside town with wonderful views of Morecambe Bay. The named 'Grange' comes from the French word 'graunge', meaning granary. The monks of Cartmel Priory stored their grain here until the dissolution of the monasteries, and could only be reached by crossing the sands from Lancaster. Despite being a hilly area, it is a popular place to retire. I have never been except for visiting friends before, so it was nice to go out and explore for once. I started off at F-Rocks Boutique, a small dress agency on Kents Bank Road, which supports a charity (I can't remember which one). Behind the counter there was a poster saying that the owner was going to take part in a Zumba challenge to raise money.
Browsing the racks, there were loads of wonderful clothes at big discounts. I found myself a black raincoat for over £20, and for £40 you could get a long suede tan coat.
Next door to the dress agency, Age Concern get some very useful donations. It has stock that really suits the people it is aiming to help. For example, in front of the door was a motorised scooter with a 'sold' sign on it, and behind that, a shopping bag on wheels. I the complete opposite direction, I was quite taken by some cute knitted children's beanies for £1 each. I bought these, thinking they would be perfect to accessorise some of my collectable bears. I also bought a denim dress to go over leggings and a checkered shirt for £2.
Next door is Grange bakery, which supplies Gillam's Tearoom. Turn around the corner and you will find Higgins, an award-winning butchers, which has been named Britain's Best Butchers.
Play a game of criss-cross along Yewbarrow Terrace and you'll be able to visit all types of shops, such as Hobby Quarter, Paragon, The Country House, the bright Daisyroots Bookshop, and old dusty Curiosity Shop selling antiques.
There are no shortage of places to buy gifts either. They have two chocolate shops, and a place with collectible figurines, including meerkats, Willow Tree, Beatrix Potter, and Winnie The Pooh.
St. Paul's Parish
As well as places to shop, Grange has sites of historical interest too. St. Paul's Parish, which was consecrated in 1853, but as the town grew, new additions were continued to be made up until 1953.
The Clock Tower was presented on the 2nd December 1912 by Mrs. Sophia Deardin. It is made from local limestone and sandstone from St. Bees. Its Latin inscription translates to 'a gift of love'.
Community Apple Orchard
Grange-Over-Sands has a history with apple orchards, but most have been lost due to development. There used to be an orchard in Yewbarrow Paddock, but in 1874 the estate was spit up and sold at auction. The orchard was demolished to make way for shops and cafes on what is now called Yewbarrow Paddock.
The town's orchard heritage was brought back in 1998 when the council created a new organic Community Orchard, managed by volunteers. Varieties include Keswick Codlin and Duke of Devonshire, so named because it was introduced by the Duke of Devonshire's gardener. Another highlight is the John Hugget apple tree, raised in 1940. Hugget lived in Grange, and worked at the Fuel Office on Yewbarrow Terrace, which is now the Hazelmere Cafe. Other trees include pear, mulberry, plum, quince, crab apple, greengage, lyth, medlar, and hazel. Wildlife is encourage by growing hedges such as buckthorn and hawthorn.
Grange Oriental Gardens
The Oriental Gardens by the railway is a nice place to wander. Influenced by Victorian design, it contains many species of trees and shrubs, and keeps a collection of wildfowl, including several species of ducks.
A war memorial faces the pond; it was unveiled in 1921 to commemorate the men of Grange who gave their lives between 1914-1918.
The Oriental Gardens is very attractive and well maintained. The birds have been given little huts to roost in, and it is most enjoyable to watch them swimming on the pond. As there are birds about, you are asked to keep dogs on leads.
Grange-Over-Sands Railway Station
Since my train home was delayed, I had a chance to read about the history of Grange-Over-Sands Railway. Completed in 1887, it was the last part of a chain that connected to areas around the Cumbrian coast. Promoted by the Mancunian businessman, a John Hodgen, within a few years the railway was a vital part of industry, transporting iron, steel, and coal.
The salt marshes along Morecambe Bay used to be sand.
From the station you get a wonderful view of the coast. The sand, mudflats, and salt marches are rare, but important habitats for wildlife around Morecambe Bay. The channels of the River Kent Estuary are constantly changing. In recent years moved towards Arnside, washing away huge areas of salt marsh and depositing the seeds on Grange's beach. The sand has now become a spongy grassland. With it arrived salt marsh plats such as edible glasswort, sea milkwort. scurvy grass, and purple flowered lavender.
Over two hundred thousand birds visit Morecambe Bay each winter, including pink footed geese, shelducks, pin tails, oyster catchers, grey plover, curlew, red shark, and many more.