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Things to see on the Heysham Coast

Looking from the limestone outcrop across Morecombe Bay at Heysham Coast, Lancashire
The vast estuarial flats of Morecambe Bay at low tide from Heysham Coast | © National Trust Images/Joe Cornish

The Heysham Coast offers more than your average seaside stroll. It has a history of saints, shipwrecks and graves, all against the backdrop of Morecambe Bay. Take a minute to soak up the views from the chapel on the headland, believed to have been established by St Patrick.

Sunsets and seaside sounds

Stand on the headland at Heysham to experience the evening sunsets across Morecambe Bay. Watch as the sun slowly melts into the sea and the sky moves from blue to pink to orange.

Watch the tides changing and the stormy weather bringing in crashing waves. Listen out for the 'peep' of the oystercatchers as they wait for the sea to uncover their next meal, hidden in the mud.

St Patrick's Chapel

According to local legend, St Patrick came ashore here in the 5th century after being shipwrecked, and subsequently established a small chapel on the headland.

St Patrick’s Chapel still exists today, though the current structure is thought to have been built at least two centuries after the original to encourage the act of pilgrimage.

The rectangular chapel is made of sandstone and measures just seven by 2.2 metres. One of its most impressive features is its curved Anglo-Saxon-style doorway.

The chapel is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade I-listed building. It’s also a Scheduled Ancient Monument, which means that it gets extra protection due to its age, uniqueness and fragility.

The ruins of St Patrick's Chapel at Heysham Coast, Lancashire
The ruins of St Patrick's Chapel | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

Rock-cut graves

The intriguing story of man’s connection with Heysham continues with the remains of eight rock-cut graves. Located just south of the chapel, they were cut from the sandstone headland. Look out for several that are body-shaped and have rock-cut sockets; these were possibly designed to hold wooden crosses.

It's thought that the graves were created around the 11th century and were used for burying very high-status people. Take a moment to absorb the atmosphere of the area around you – it’s easy to feel transported back in time.

The unveiling of this story has been made possible by archaeological excavations over the years, the most recent taking place in April 1993 on land below the stone coffins. No human bones were found, but more than 1,200 artefacts were recovered, revealing that the site was occupied around 12,000 years ago.

The Heysham trail

To get the most from your visit to the Heysham Coast, download the self-guided Heysham trail, which will tell you what to look out for during your time here.

Exposed trenched graves in a slab of rock near the ruins of St Patrick's Chapel at Heysham Coast, Lancashire; these have been dated as pre-Norman and are unique in the United Kingdom.

Discover more at Heysham Coast

Find out how to get to Heysham Coast, where to park, the things to see and do and more.

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