North Shore: Cliffs

North Shore: Cliffs

The whole of the Fylde Coast is quite flat. But there’s quite a rise from sea level to the main road of the seafront promenade at North Shore Cliffs. It makes for amazing views across the sea and lovely cliff-top walks.

The road gets increasingly higher than the sea as you travel northwards from Blackpool North Pier.

The height difference between the lower and upper promenades continues from Gynn roundabout to Bispham. Then it tapers in so that the road and sea are back at the same level again from Anchorsholme, just south of Cleveleys.

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This video was taken near Jubilee Gardens – the seafront park near to Gynn roundabout.

The Cliffs at Blackpool North Shore

Spectacular Views from North Shore: Cliffs

Walk on the footpath, ride a tram or drive along the main highway from the bright lights of Blackpool and you’re not that aware of the steep drop from the main road down to the lower promenade and sea.

But head down the steps or slopes to the water’s edge on foot, turn to look upwards to the main road, and you’ll be surprised at just how steep it is.

Blackpool North Shore Cliffs
It’s quite a drop at Blackpool North Shore Cliffs

One of the advantages of this high stretch of coastline between Blackpool North Pier and Anchorsholme is the amazing views.

You’ve already seen some of them in the video – here are some more –




Cliff Lift

In their heyday many British seaside towns installed contraptions for ferrying holiday makers up and down their steep coastal cliffs. Some towns built funicular lifts where the technology of an elevator (a cable pulling a car up) meets the technology of a railroad (a car on a track).

Here in Blackpool, engineers came up with the Cliff Lift.

Cliff lift at Blackpool North Shore Boating Pool
Cliff lift at Blackpool North Shore Boating Pool

It was built in 1930 and made a Grade 2 Listed Building on 8 March 2010. Externally it looks much the same as it did in its heyday, albeit with a few modifications. However, it’s now permanently closed, but a handy landmark on the seafront.

The Rocks that make the North Shore Cliffs

This area is known as the Cliffs. Obviously it’s a man-made cliff, which is pretty clear to see from the concrete-esque blocks which stop  the land from falling into the water!

Did you know these man-made blocks disguise what started out as a landscape created by an innovative company called ‘James Pulham and Son‘?

They were landscape designers in the early 1900s, who specialised in creating artificial stone from Portland Cement.

Blackpool North Shore: Cliffs
Man-made landscape at Blackpool North Shore: Cliffs

Their ‘Pulhamite’ was made from a secret mix of cement, poured over brick, clinker, smaller rocks and building rubble. The mixture made what was viewed to be a quite realistic rockery landscape. Back in the day, the geological accuracy of their rock formations was one of their main selling points.

Blackpool North Shore: Cliffs
Pink Pulhamite showing under layers of newer concrete repair
Man-made rocks at Blackpool North Shore: Cliffs
Man-made rocks at Blackpool North Shore: Cliffs

It was James Pulham & Son who were engaged to ‘rockify’ the cliffs of the Coastal Cliff Park, along Blackpool North Shore, between 1922-23.

Among many other projects in Lancashire they also completed projects in Ashton Gardens in St Annes and at Barnacre House in Garstang.

The firm completed gardens and architectural projects all over the UK. They stopped trading at the beginning of the Second World War, although James Pulham IV didn’t die until 1957.

Rockery along Blackpool North Shore: Cliffs

Over the years the rockery along Blackpool seafront was continued northwards.

It reached Little Bispham (where there are toilets at the seafront tram stop) in the mid 1930’s.

Year in, year out, this section of seafront takes an incredible battering from the weather.

Over the years Blackpool Council have carried out their own repairs. Creating their own mix of concrete repairs they have eventually covered most of the original Pulhamite mix. One or two little bits are still to be seen.

Blackpool North Shore: Cliffs
Is this weathered Pulhamite visible between the layers of rock?

Other Fylde Coast Artificial Rockeries

Have you taken a walk along the lovely seafront at St Annes? If you have, you’ll be familiar with the landscape of gardens, rockeries, flower beds and ponds. Did you know that the rockery stones there were also Pulhamite?

When you visit, watch out for the information boards along the seafront. They’ll tell you much more.

Pulhamite rockwork at St Annes seafront
Pulhamite rockwork at St Annes seafront

While you’re here…

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