Secrets of the bay revealed

Fishing traps.
Fishing traps.

The channel of the River Kent has been eroding its way eastward for some time and has now reached Priest Skeer, a large outcrop of stony ground about three quarters of a mile north west from Morecambe Lodge shore.

Several feet of sand have been removed from the west side of the skeer and exposed the remains of some ancient fish traps.

In 2000 a similar situation occurred at Flookburgh when some previously unknown fish traps were discovered.

Research proved that these date back to the 14th century and were almost certainly put there by the monks at Carmel Priory. Having been a fisherman all of my working life, as were at least four generations before me, I found the discovery most interesting and exciting.

I believe that those artefacts now showing on Priest Skeer may also be many hundreds of years old and well worth researching.

Would anyone or any group of people be interested in looking at the site and perhaps trying to find the age of the traps?

All that needs to be done is to dig out what looks like the oldest piece of wood and send it to a research centre to be carbon 14 tested. (We sent the Flookburgh samples to Oxford University.)

Some of the structures that are visible will almost certainly not be the oldest because they will have been renewed from time to time so it might be necessary to dig into the ground along the rows of posts to find what looks like the oldest.

The traps are only visible at low water on spring tides, so the optimum time to see them would be about six hours after high water when high tide is between about eleven o’clock and two o’clock.

I would like to stress that there is no danger in going out there – the sand is hard and flat right to the scar.

Unfortunately I am too old to undertake the work myself but I should be pleased to assist or give advice to anyone who may be interested.

J K Manning

j.mann@live.co.uk

Address supplied

(NB: Editor’s note – people should take care when venturing out on the sands