For once in 2012 I was lucky with the weather and for the first time in I can’t remember how long, the sun shone for much of my walk.

It didn’t allow me to escape a wetting however as the clouds came in during the final mile.

At this time of the year, the wind batters the coast forcing sea birds to take refuge inland, so keep your eyes open.

From the car park next to the Golden Ball pub, follow School Lane towards the church. I managed to see field fare, redwing and even a waxwing shltereing under the tree. Walking around the village you will see several awards on display celebrating its well-kept appearance.

From Church Lane, turn right along the path to the modern church and follow it round the grounds to a wicket gate.

Pass through a field and another gate which leads to the cemetery and the old church.

Both churches in the village are dedicated to St John the Baptist and on the wall of the older church is a sundial dedicated to the memory of Rev G Holden, a man fascinated by tidal movements and who is credited with inventing the first set of tide tables.

Thanks to the efforts of the Churches Conservation Trust, the old church has been well maintained. A date of 1717 is recorded over the door . There is also a less formal note informing you how to obtain the key!

Turn left and head towards the road leading to the village. In the fields nearby my bird count included redshank, curlew, oyster catcher and more than 200 giulls of varying species.

Cross the road and look out for the footpath signed Pinfold. Pass into a narrow alleyway tto thie sheep fold, It was here that strong sheep were impounded until their owners gathered to identify them by their ear or ‘lug’ marks.

This practice of lug clipping dates to Angllo Saxon times abut sadly most of the pinfolds in Lancashire have been demolished.

The ones we have left, as the one in Pilling, should be preserved for posterity.

From the pinfold, continue along the track which is easy to follow in the winter months as the vegetation has died back. Approach farm buildings on both sides of you. The track bears to the right and through a gate.

Turn right and reach a car park and toilet block near the road through the village close to Old Carr farm.

From here cross the road and look for a sign indicating left. This takes you over fields for about a mile before you reach Pilling beach.

It was at this point that the rain began and my black labrador gave me a look which seemd to say ‘how far is the car?’ but we soldiered on.

At the beach there is another extensive car park and you can look out for the remnants of Second World War gun emplacement, ready to repel any German forces invading from Southern Ireland or the Isle of Man.

Turn right at the sand and join a narrow road for about a mile. Pass Fluke Hall on the right and on a fine day you might enjoy views over the salt marshes.

Return via School Lane to the Golden Ball.