The Story of the Solway

shore walks & events


No one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced.”  [David Attenborough]

I have always been happy to show groups of people what can be found on the shore in the region of the Allonby Bay Marine Conservation Zone (now upgraded to a Highly Protected Marine Area)– ranging from the submerged forest (if it’s visible), seaweeds, the patterns, the pebbles, and of course the animals that live on or in the shore, on the rocks, and especially the reefs built by the extraordinary honeycomb-worm Sabellaria. A few years ago, Caz Graham of BBC Radio 4’s Open Country joined me for a shore-walk and if you’re interested you can listen to the programme here.

Look!”. I love the way that shore-walkers hold out objects to be admired, and on my Solway Shorewalker blog there is a gallery of hands holding objects found on the tideline, on the sand, on the rocks and in the pools.


I’m afraid I will no longer be doing guided shorewalks, as of 2024. Thank you so much to all those dozens of people who have joined me over the years – it’s been such fun, and a great privilege to show you the wonders of the low-tide shore, and I’ve loved the many conversations, and questions, and laughs, that we have had. Keep visiting, and enjoying, and learning, and spreading the word!



June 8th, 4.30pm. ‘The edge of the Solway’, at  the Words by the Water’ festival, Keswick

January 23rd, 7.30pm. Red: stories of sandstone from both sides of the Solway. Keswick Lecture Society, Queens Hall, Keswick School



Wednesday October 11th, 7.15pm, Loweswater Village Hall. ‘How I learned to love the Solway’

Saturday March 4th, 4.30pm Maryport Arts and Literature Festival, Senhouse Museum. ‘Living on the edge



September 14th, Wednesday, 10am- 4pm The Saltmarsh. A creative writing day, experiencing, learning about, talking about and even writing about, saltmarshes. Outdoors and indoors, at RSPB Campfield near Bowness-on-Solway. Donations suggested of £5 for the RSPB, payable on the day. Tea and coffee and biscuits provided but bring your own lunch.  Wellies, waterproofs and warm clothes recommended. Booking essential – please use the Contact form on this website.

August 25th, 7pm. Maryport Settlement. Strange creatures of the Solway shores, an illustrated talk

January 22nd, evening. Launch of the ‘Hadrian’s Wall 1900’ celebrations at Bowness-on-Solway. My own short talk is on ‘Strange animals of the Solway shore‘. More information, images and weblinks from the talk are on my Solwayshorewalker blog.



November 23rd, 7pm Kendal Mountain Book Festival online,in conversation with Dr David Cooper of MMU’s Centre for Place Writing.

Kendal Mountain Literature festival, with David Cooper

October 4th, 11am: Wigtown Book Festival online, but talking ‘live’ in the studio to Polly Pullar, about The Fresh and the Salt: our chat is on the WBF YouTube channel here.

September 9th, 7.30pm. In conversation with Chris Bridgman of the Kirkgate Theatre, Cockermouth, in association with the New Bookshop, Cockermouth (online event)

September 3rd, 7.30pm. The virtual Launch of The Fresh and the Salt, on Birlinn’s YouTube Premiere channel: readings, 2 videos about Port Carlisle, and Jenny Bell of Pentabus Theatre singing the Mudshrimp’s Song (World premier!). The launch video is here.

April 2020 Pentabus Theatre would have been putting on a play, On One Side Lies the Sea, at Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, much of which was based on conversations with people living along the Cornish and Solway coasts: the Cumbrian haafnetters, and mudshrimps, would have been part of the Solway story. Singer-songwriter Jen Bell even composed a song, The Mudshrimp Song, based on delightful conversations that we had during the preceding months! It features in my online launch, at 17 minutes.

Pentabus programme