"At The End Of The Longest Cul-de-Sac in England..." Barrow in Furness by nickandchris

Barrow in Furness Travel Guide: 53 reviews and 154 photos


As Barrow , (west Cumbria) is just down the road from us, I thought I'd better make the effort to write a little about the place(known locally as the town at the end of the longest cul-de-sac, the A590)
A one time, massively huge, ship and submarine-building town, and an important port, everything depended on this industry. If you didn't work for Vickers Armstrong (as it was back in it's heyday) now B.A.E. Systems, then you were the odd one, the out-comer. Now with the shipbuilding industry going abroad, the workforce has declined until only a mere few thousand remain employed here. Barrow has had to adapt and attempt to change. Not an easy task for a traditional working class town who had always relied upon local resources and industries such as the steelworks and iron ore mining.
The port is still used today by cargo ships and for the launching of any submarine or boat built at B.A.E. and even the odd cruise ship calls. There are still a few fishing boats remaining. I suspect they have to travel a long way for their catch these days.

New Beginnings....

People have had to adapt, re-train, change their vocations, move away or face the consequences of the dole queue.
Gradually old buildings are coming down,(not necessarily the ones that should) and new replace them. People are being re-housed as poor areas facing re-development fall to the demolition men.
Redundant docks are being re-vamped in a massive re-development scheme, still to happen.Barrow is Britain's newest cruise liner port and Gateway to the English lakes by sea. Each year, more ships are calling here, an excellent port of call for visitng the Lake district and all other nearby local attractions. It's ideally located for exploring this western corner of England and this is what Barrow are desperate to promote.
Could Barrow really have a marina, would people use it, pay for it etc.\? Will speed boat users turn to Barrow for their pleasure now the speed limit is in force on Windermere?It needs a lot of major works before Barrow can expect people to visit this area for pleasure and leisure. They do already have a floating restaurant in the dock, an enterprising local 's idea, but there is a long way to go.

The Good with the Bad.......

I have always been fond of Barrow, it's old-fashioned appearance appeals to me. First impressions are of the long tree-lined Abbey Road as you enter Barrow. Not too bad.
Admittedly there are some dreadful buildings in the town, the terrible concrete 60's precinct by the market, most of it lying abandoned and graffiti covered. Desperate for a major face-lift.
On the other hand, the Town Hall and other facelifted red sandstone buildings are at the opposite end of the scale, proudly dominating Barrow.

The best thing about Barrow is Walney Island, crossed by a single bridge which still occasionally has to be raised to let large boats under. The fact the island only has one access is of major concern to the islanders if there was a major incident. The island is really an extension of Barrow and consists of rows and rows of terraced and semi-detatched houses that at one time would have been home to the shipyard workers, the larger the house, the higher up the salary scale you were.
Walney Channel is popular with the boating fraternity and the island's beaches are a magnet to old and young alike in the summer. We often walk the beaches in Winter, collecting firewood. Now we take Philip with his new petrol powered radio-controlled car. An ideal place for this sort of thing.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Fresh air, beaches, old-fashioned
  • Cons:At the end of the A590
  • In a nutshell:Good location for western Lakes and the Furness Peninsula
  • Intro Updated Feb 14, 2006
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Reviews (21)

Comments (9)

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Oct 15, 2013 at 8:54 AM

    Great tips

  • karenincalifornia's Profile Photo
    Nov 24, 2007 at 7:52 PM

    Another fascinating in-depth description that only a local could write. Walney sounds positively wonderful, but there's that frightening A590 again leading out of town. Should I attempt it??

  • MikeStarr5's Profile Photo
    Nov 18, 2007 at 3:45 PM

    I had heard of Barrow-in-Furness but did not really know where it was or anything about it. I had NO IDEA whatsoever about Dalton-in-Furness hence my interest. I love your descriptions excellent stuff

  • Maxus's Profile Photo
    Feb 28, 2007 at 1:25 PM

    Fantastic page, I really enjoy your writing and some great pics of my home town (where I have not been for years)

  • sandysmith's Profile Photo
    Feb 21, 2007 at 3:00 PM

    Walney Island and trhe warm beaches sound good - refreshing my memory of the tips here - thinking of making a trip to the Abbey next month

  • davesut's Profile Photo
    Feb 15, 2007 at 12:24 AM

    Barrow looks more interesting than people give it credit for. Will the shipbuilding continue on its decline? Experienced similar exits from heavy industry around Lancashire in days of yore

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Nov 23, 2006 at 1:19 AM

    Nice place. Not so touristy. Great insightful tips. Cheers, SL

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Jan 27, 2006 at 12:03 AM

    a lovely town at the seaside, I always enjoy seeing the boats in such a harbour !

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo
    Jan 18, 2006 at 8:37 AM

    An interesting seaside town. I wonder if Barrow, Alaska borrowed it's name from this place - maybe some homesick English sailor?

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