KNOTT End -- the name means a hill close to the coast -- is one of my favourite birdwatching places but there are plenty of historic spots to enjoy. I began my trip, which was wet and windy, by looking out on a high tide.

Waves were breaking on an area of shallow rocks which have led to an interesting but not confirmed theory.

In the second century AD Ptolemy produced a map of this coastline showing an anchorage called Portus Setantiorum marked on it.

It is thought that the Romans were planning to invade Iceland and this may have been an ideal launching point for an invasion fleet.

Close to Knott End is an earthwork called Dane's Pad which many people think may have had Roman origins.

Scandinavians in the ninth and 10th centuries certainly landed here from their powerbase on the Isle of Man.

Hackensall Hall, which has Elizabethan origins, was built on land once owned by a Norseman called Haakon.

The nearby Eagland Hill derives from Ekke-Lund, which means a grove of oak trees on a hillside.

I followed a well-marked footpath with the Wyre estuary on the right and the golf course to the left.

This is a very muddy area and ideal feeding site for wading birds.

I counted large flocks of dunlin, knott, redshank, curlew, bar tailed godwit and a few lapwings, as the tide started to recede.

Hackensall Hall is now used by the golf course but it is certainly an impressive -- some say haunting -- building and it is surrounded by some mature trees.

Here I found a flock of long-tailed tits and a pair of great spotted woodpeckers. By the time I returned to Knott End the wind and rain had been replaced by watery sunshine. Close to the car park is the old railway station -- the line here ran from Knott End to Garstang but has not operated since the 1960s.

Locals know the line as the Pilling Pig named because of the sound made by the engines which once operated along the track. Alas building over the last 30 or 40 years has meant that there is no way that it could be reopened. This is a pity because it could have been a valuable tourist attraction.

As the tide receded I was able to do a bit of beach-combing along the strand line.

I found lots of shells, including many whelks.

There were also a lot of sponge-like structures.

Each had a honeycomb structure.

At one time each cavity contained an egg.

The structure swells up with water and floats, which is the way the whelk is spread from one habitat to another.

The strand line also contained lots of bird feathers, which are obviously interesting. but there was lots of litter which is becoming a real problem.

Not all the litter on our shores can be blamed on local people.

I found several bottles with Spanish labels on them, which means that foreign ships are dumping their litter at sea.

I was staggered a few days ago to read a report which pointed out that glass is not easily biodegradable and can take one million years to break down.

Next time you plan a trip to the seaside you should set off for Knott End, where there are cafes and the scenery is spectacular.

Route: From East Lancashire there are several possible routes to Knott End but I have a favourite. This is to follow the M6 to Junction 32. Then follow the A6 towards Garstang. Turn off the A586 and then via Stalmine Pressall and Knott End. In winter there is plenty of parking. An alternative route is to go to Fleetwood and the Knott End Ferry.