We moved to Grange over Sands at the turn of the century. Prior to this, we'd relocated a number of times, following my work throughout the UK.
Sue and I met whilst working for the Inland Revenue (!) in Liverpool. We were designers for the training materials used when the UK tax system was transferred to computers. We worked with a lively team in a building over The Liverpool pub (fonly referred to as 'downstairs') on James Street in the city centre, often walking down to Albert Dock which was still in its transformation phase having been a derelict group of warehouses for a number of years. Dockside developments and tranformations were starting to take shape throughout the country.
We moved to Perth in Scotland where I was employed by General Accident Insurance (now part of Aviva), before moving back to England in the early 90s ~ Elswick near Preston. Here, I set up Leech Design, my graphic design business. Our two daughters were both born there and went to the wonderful village primary school half way between Elswick and Great Eccleston. We enjoyed living in Elswick, but found that we were travelling everywhere at the weekends for days out, and started to find the flat landscape around Elswick monotonous when out for walks and bike rides.
Deciding we would like to move, the search began - the Lake District being top candidate. This was pre-broadband, the internet and emails were in their early days. Most of my work arrived through the letter box, so a good postal service was essential, moving to a town where the collection was after 4pm was a major attraction. After considering Ambleside, Windermere and Arnside, and a failed offer for a property in Silverdale, we kept coming back to Grange over Sands.
Grange is an attractive Edwardian holiday town built of local limestone on the edge of Morecambe Bay. The railway links to the mill town areas of Lancashire made this a scenic and healthy retreat. Prior to the rail links, Grange, and old name for farm, was owned by the monks of Cartmel.
Built on the hillside of Hampsfell, a lot of houses have wonderful panoramic views of Morecambe Bay. The promenade was one of the many attractions for us, we used to rollerblade along there regularly! Grange also has a comprehensive range of shops - from classic hardware shops where you can buy any number of candles, to award winning butchers, cafés and the town boasts more pensioners than you can shake a stick at. The average age of residence in the 2000 census is quotes as 164. Its all this fresh air and hilly walks keeping everyone healthy and active. But don't expect to get through Grange in a hurry in your car, the typical resident doesn't do 'hurry'.
The M6 is about 30 minutes away, Kendal 20 minutes, the bottom end of Windermere 15 minutes, the Lyth Valley a short bicycle ride away, Arnside and Silverdale a short train journey across Morecambe Bay, and Hampsfell right at the back of our house for car free walks. Carmel is 5 minutes in the car, and an enjoyable walk over Hampsfell with its Lake District panorama.
We walk up Hamsfell regulary. There are good views over Morecabe Bay as you ascend from Grange, then once you reach the crat the views open out. There is a shelter at the top, and from on its roof is a panoramic view of the whole universe, with a pointer dial to help you pick out the Lakeland fells, the Yorkshire fells including Inglebrough, and Blackpool Tower. Other walks include Edenmount Wood at the end of our road - compact, but riddled with paths and some good limestone features; Eggeslack Woods off Windermere Road leading up to Hampsfell and beyong to Lindale. Walks over to Cartmel, either across the path on the Golf course or an alternative path through a farm which avoids any road walking (Haggs Lane isn't a pleasant walk). Cartmel is riddled with paths, plenty of pubs with for such a small village, cafés, L'enclume (awarded Best Restaurant in England 2013, having been a close second previously), the Priory and the race course which holds popular meets on Bank Holiday weekends, usually with a funfair. Humphrey head is not far away, and Whitbarrow Scar is an excellent walk too.
Holker Hall in Cark is close to Cartmel - there's a nice walk between the two across the race course, through a wood and along some very quiet country lanes. Holker has an annual show each summer and beautiful gardens which are open all year round, plus a restaurant, café and farm shop.
One for you bucket list is a walk across Morecambe Bay. This is not something to do alone as the sands are dangerous. The limestone surrounds soak in water which then works its way underground on its way to the sea. The water can then emerge and liquify the sands, pretty much anywhere in the bay - the locations moving daily. There have been many fatalities due to quicksands, and plenty of close calls. However, there are organised crossings, mainly in the summer months. This is a chance to find the true scale of the Bay - and its big. When out in the centre, you walk towards the shore in one direction and it doesn't get any larger, nor the opposite shore any smaller!
It is difficult to imagine moving away from here.
Here are some of my photos of Grange and Morecambe Bay.