GPS Cycle and Walking Routes

Ribble Estuary

5 miles (8.5 km)

Explore the most important river estuary in the UKon this coastal walk in Lytham St Annes. The Ribble Estuary attracts hundreds of thousands of birds each year. It's a special place with changing tides, lots of wildlife and nice views towards Southport and the Welsh Hills.
The walk starts from the RSPB Ribble Discovery Centre at Fairhaven Lake. The centre is a great place to learn about the birds that visit the lake and estuary. You can park at the lakeside car park or catch a train to the nearby Ansdell and Fairhaven train station.
The route then follows the lakeside path towards Granny's Bay before picking up the Lancashire Coastal Way to take you to Lytham. You can follow the nice surfaced footpath or take an alternative route through the sand dunes.
You continue along the promenade to Lytham where you can take a small detour to the pretty Lowther Gardens. Here you'll find attractive woodland, a rose garden and a pond with a statue and fountain.
After crossing the road to the sea front you continue to the iconic Lytham windmill. The mill was built at the beginning of the 19th century and is open to the public in the summer months. It contains a museum which explains the history and practice offlour milling. After leaving the mill you can enjoy a stroll along Lytham jetty. It's quite a long jetty and at low tide you can walk right to the end and enjoy an even better view of the birdlife in the estuary. Look out for herons, curlew, redshank, shellduck and dunlin. The walk then returns to the fairhaven lake car park the same way.
To extend your walking in this lovely area you can continue along the Lancashire Coastal Way in either direction. Heading east will take you along the River Ribble towards Warton and Freckleton. This section has nice views over the river and surrounding countryside with birds such as Lapwing and Little Egret to look out for. There's also lots of wildflowers in the summer which attract butterflies and other birds.
If you head west you will come to St Annes and Blackpool.
Also nearby is the delightful Lytham Hall. The old hall is surrounded by attractive woodland and parkland with nice footpaths to follow around the site.


FY8 1BD - Please note: Postcode may be approximate for some rural locations

Ribble Estuary OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking

Ribble Estuary Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking


The Clifton Arms hotel on Lytham sea front is a nice place to stop for refreshments. The large bar area has tables with fine views across the green to the estuary. You can find them at postcode FY8 5QJ for your sat navs.

Further Information and Other Local Ideas

On the opposite side of the estuary Hesketh Bank where you can explore the RSPB's Hesketh Out MarshesNature Reserve. The reserve is another great place for bird spotting on the estuary.

Cycle Routes and Walking Routes Nearby


Salt marsh on the Ribble estuary - - 611881

Salt marsh on the Ribble estuary at Lytham with the windmill in the background. You have to tread carefully around here as the grasses do a very good job of hiding deep holes in the ground.

Ribble Estuary National Nature Reserve - - 1366049

Ribble Estuary National Nature Reserve Looking across the tidal flats towards Warton on the other side of the estuary. The reserve extends to over 4500 ha and is home to many breeding birds in summer and an estimated 150,000 plus over-wintering wildfowl. The land is managed with a huge herd of over 700 cattle in summer to keep the sward in the right condition for the birds. Due to the fragility of parts of the site and the risk of disturbance to the birds, not to mention the speed of the incoming tides at certain times of year, access is limited to rights of way and permit holders.

Fairhaven Lake - - 1724875

Fairhaven Lake

Lytham, over Fairhaven Lake to the sea - - 923098

Lytham, over Fairhaven Lake to the sea and Southport. On a clear day you can see Anglesey and the Welsh Mountains.

The pond in Lowther Gardens - - 2836348

The pond in Lowther Gardens

Lytham Jetty, Ribble Estuary - - 2570619

Lytham Jetty, Ribble Estuary. View to Southport.

Lytham RNLI station at sunset - - 33240

Lytham RNLI station at sunset

The promenade on Lancashire Coastal Way - - 2628268

The promenade on Lancashire Coastal Way. Looking towards Ansdell.


GPS Files

GPX File

Ribble Estuary.gpx (On Desktop:Right Click>Save As. On Ipad/Iphone:Click and hold>Download Linked File)

Memory Map Route

Ribble Estuary.mmo (On Desktop:Right Click>Save As. On Ipad/Iphone:Click and hold >Download Linked File)