Over the last two weeks I have enjoyed this stroll three times each, thankfully, in perfect late summer weather.

I was visited by three friends from the south and each asked to go to Heysham.

How grateful I was that I have loved this place which I visited for the first time 50 years ago, and it has changed very little since then.

Each of my friends wanted to drink beer – not the alcoholic brew, but nettle beer which is still a feature of Heysham.

There is no doubt that Heysham is one of the most unspoiled villages in the whole of England. Its single street is lined with restaurants, cafes, 17th century cottages and a pub. The street leads down to a rocky shore and here are two ancient Christian sites.

Here is Heysham Head, once a site of pleasure gardens and a carting circuit where a very young lad called Nigel Mansell learned his racing skills. This area is now preserved as a Nature Reserve thanks to the National Trust.

My Walk From the car park, follow the main street and lookout for the old Heritage Centre on the right. This building was formerly a barn adjoining a 17th-century farmhouse and is staffed by local volunteers (Tel: 01524 859 517). Continue along Main Street, looking out for the Royal Hotel on the left. This dates back to the 16th century and was formerly a corn store. To the left of this is a cottage, famous in the early 1900’s for the nettle beer brewed there by Granny Hutchinson.

Nettle beer is described as a tonic made from herbal extracts, sugar, yeast, lemons and of course nettles. It is said to stimulate the blood, help those who suffer from rheumatism and also to be an ‘unconfirmed’ hair restorer.

Just before the road forks, look for St Patrick’s Well, also called the church well. This is set in an alcove and is reached by a set of steps. The water is quite salty. Because of this it was regarded as a “cure all”, and pilgrims travelled long distances to drink it. Modern visitors are advised not to sample it and I would advise them to stick to nettle beer or a “proper sup” at the Royal!

Rejoin the street and fork left to reach St Peter’s Church. This is one of the most attractive and most ancient religious buildings to be found in Lancashire. Heysham dates back to Saxon times and this church and St Patrick’s chapel nearby were established prior to the 8th century.

The name Haysham also dates from this period and means a clearing in a wood. There is part of an Anglo-Saxon cross in the churchyard of St Peter’s and inside the church, close to the south door, is a hog-back tombstone.

Until 1961 this was in the churchyard, but was brought indoors to prevent further erosion. Viking in origin, it dates back to the 10th century. It is not unique, but is the best example of its type to be found anywhere in Britain.

There are pagan symbols on one side and Christian symbols on the other. Could this have marked the last resting place of a Christian convert who was not quite sure if he had made the right choice?

The view from the churchyard over Morecambe Bay is wonderful, and gets even better as a set of stone steps and a steep path leads on to Heysham Head.

Here is the ruined St Patrick’s chapel which was probably built in the 8th century but extended in the 10th. By the side of the chapel are some graves cut out of the still rock. It is thought that both the church and the chapel were built by missionaries who had sailed over from Ireland.

Beyond the chapel, follow an obvious track as it heads slightly left towards Throbshaw Point. When the pleasure grounds were closed in the 1960’s it looked as if Heysham Head could become a housing estate.

Thankfully, the National Trust bought the site and it has now become one of Nature’s treasure chest. Here there is something different to see each and every day of the year. It even changes hour by hour with the ebb and flow of the hill.

Follow the obvious paths and it loops its way round to the left, away from the Bay to Barrows Field and from there, climbs uphill to Vicarage Wood.

Follow the winding footpath through the wood and on to an old orchard. According to the church register of 1753, here grew in profusion plums, pears and apples. Descend a set of stone steps and return to the car park.