Silloth

Street Map

Silloth (sometimes known as Silloth-on-Solway) is a port town and civil parish in Cumbria, England. It sits on the shoreline of the Solway Firth, 22 miles (35 km) west of Carlisle. It has a population of 2,932.

Silloth is close to the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site.

Historically a part of Cumberland, the town is one of the finest examples of a Victorian seaside resort in the North of England. Silloth developed in the 1860s around the terminus of a railway from Carlisle which had begun construction in 1855. For the first time, workers from the factories of Carlisle were presented with affordable access to the seaside and the town flourished as a destination for day trippers. The town reached the peak of its popularity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Recent years have seen a great deal of development with many of the sea facing properties having received facelifts. The main central attraction is a large expansive green that is utilised throughout the year to host various events and activities.

In June 2012, it became clear that the Silloth (specifically the Solway Plain between Silloth, Abbeytown and Westnewton) has been identified as a potential site for a Geological Disposal Facility for the UK’s high level nuclear waste. Two other sites have also been identified – Eskdale and the Ennerdale – both of these are within the Lake District National Park. The Solway Plain wasn’t named by the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) Partnership, rather they referred to the ‘Low permeability sedimentary rocks associated with the Mercia Mudstone Group(MMG)’. This was in (publicly available) document 285 of the West Cumbria MRWS in a report written by Dr Dearlove, the consultant geologist recruited by MRWS.

Silloth’s largest church is Christ Church, which is situated on Criffel Street and was completed in 1870. Several other churches and chapels of various denominations are also located within the town or its outskirts.

One of the busiest ports in Cumbria, Silloth is owned and operated by Associated British Ports. The main cargoes are wheat, fertiliser, molasses, forest products and general cargo.

An example of a Victorian flour mill, the building was constructed adjacent to the New Dock in 1887. Carr’s flour mill is an operating mill which supplies flour to a number of food manufacturers such as United Biscuits, Warburton’s Bread and several other leading bakeries and confectioners.

Farming of livestock, mainly sheep, beef and dairy cattle, takes up most of the surrounding landscape.

There are a number of static and touring caravan and camping parks in the town and surrounding area.

The town has a small brewery which produces traditional ales for the guest beer market. It recreates traditional ales brewed to the original recipes. A range of 20 beers are produced; some are available in the Albion and Silloth Social Club.

Many small businesses can also be found located on the former Second World War airfield and associated buildings.

Tourism is a major economic player in Silloth, with dozens of large and small static and touring caravan parks located within a ten mile (16 km) radius of the town centre. This is responsible for the tremendous growth in the population on most days throughout the summer months. Although a couple of these parks are somewhat self-contained they still rely heavily on the town for support and infrastructure such as post office, doctor’s surgery, chemist, newsagent’s, mini supermarkets, hardware, spares and consumables, cafes, chip shops, sandwich bars and pubs. Silloth also plays host to several small annual events held on the town green. These include a beer festival held in September, its steam rally, kite and food festivals. By far the town’s largest annual event is Solfest. The Solway Music Festival (Solfest) is Cumbria’s biggest four day live music festival with a maximum attendance in 2008. Situated just outside the town, Solfest has been running since 2004 and now regularly attracts crowds of over 10,000 every August bank holiday weekend, with its eclectic mix of music, site art and cabaret performers and the friendly atmosphere which resulted in it rocketing the town firmly back into national awareness by winning the “Best Family Friendly Festival” award in the 2007 UK Festival Awards (the only Cumbrian festival ever to win an award). Solfest has also been credited by Cumbria Tourist Board for introducing a younger generation of tourists to Silloth and in doing so has greatly boosted the future of tourism in the town. Amenities include a championship golf course ranked amongst the country’s top fifty courses, several hotels and bed and breakfasts, public houses, tea rooms and eateries.

Silloth also prides itself in its coastline along the Solway Firth which has been described in one of the country’s leading sea fishing publications, Total Sea Angling, as having the best flatfish fishing coastline in the country, with over 20 miles (32 km) of beach and promenade to choose from. Bait and equipment are also available locally. Wind and kite surfing are also popular along the coast at Allonby, 8 miles (13 km) from Silloth town centre.

The railway came to Silloth in 1856, passing through the villages of Kirkbride and Abbeytown to Carlisle. The railway provided quick access to the town for tourists, but was closed as part of the Beeching cuts in 1964.

Silloth is on the B5302 road, which leads to the A596 and the town of Wigton, 12 miles (19 km) away. The B5300 connects the town to Maryport, 13 miles (21 km) away.

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