Solway Firth

Solway Firth

The Solway Firth is a firth that forms part of the border between England and Scotland, between Cumbria (including the Solway Plain) and Dumfries and Galloway. It stretches from St Bees Head, just south of Whitehaven in Cumbria, to the Mull of Galloway, on the western end of Dumfries and Galloway. The Isle of Man is also very near to the firth. The firth comprises part of the Irish Sea.

The coastline is characterised by lowland hills and small mountains. It is a mainly rural area with fishing and hill farming (as well as some arable farming) still playing a large part in the local economy, although tourism is increasing. However, it has also been used for the location of films such as "The Wicker Man" (starring Edward Woodward) which was filmed around Kirkcudbright.

Between 1869 and 1921, the estuary was crossed by the Solway Junction Railway on a 1780 m (5850 ft) iron viaduct (Edgar and Sinton, 1990). The line was built to carry iron ore from the Whitehaven area to Lanarkshire and was financed and operated by the Caledonian Railway of Scotland. The railway was not a financial success. After the railway ceased operating, the bridge provided a popular footpath for residents of Scotland (which was dry on a Sunday) to travel to England where alcoholic drink was available. The viaduct was demolished between 1931 and 1933.


The water itself is generally benign with no notable hazards excepting some large areas of salt and mud flats which often contain dangerous patches of quicksand that move on a regular basis. It is recommended that visitors do not attempt to navigate them without expert guidance. Also, the Ministry of Defence had by 1999 fired more than 6,350 depleted uranium rounds into the Solway Firth from its testing range at Dundrennan Range (see The adjacent Irish Sea is a carrier of radioactive pollution, and Sellafield is nearby.

There are over 750 km² of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in the area, as well as the National Nature Reserve at Caerlaverock.

Islands in the Solway

Unlike other parts of the west coast of Scotland, the Solway Firth is generally devoid of islands. However there are a few examples:

* Hestan Island
* Rough Island

The Isle of Whithorn is actually a peninsula.

The Isle of Man is also not far from the Solway.

Most of the islands on this section of the English coast are much further south in the Furness group, which is outside the Firth.


The earliest recorded history of the local area (including the Solway Plain) pertains to the Roman settlement of this part of Britannia. In the year 122 AD Emperor Hadrian caused the major monument of Hadrian's Wall to be built, connecting the Solway Plain to the eastern coast of Britannia.

The name 'Solway' is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and originates in the thirteenth century as the name of a ford across the mud flats at Eskmouth. "Sol" is the word for "mud", and "wæth" refers to a "ford". The three fords in the area at that time were the Annan or Bowness Wath, the Dornock Wath (once called the Sandywathe), and the main one was the Solewath, or Solewath, or Sulewad.


* Edgar, S. and Sinton, J.M., (1990), "The Solway Junction Railway", Locomotion Papers No. 176, The Oakwood Press, ISBN 0-85361-395-8
* Citation
contribution=Annals of Solway — Until A.D. 1307
title=Transactions of the Glasgow Archaeological Society
series=New Series
publisher=James Maclehose & Sons
(available at
* Ordnance Survey, (2003), "Carlisle & Solway Firth", Landranger Map, No. 85, Ed. D, Scale 1:50 000 (1¼ inches to 1 mile), ISBN 0-31922-822-3
* Ordnance Survey, (2006), "Solway Firth", Explorer Map, No. 314 , Ed. A2, Scale 1:25 000 (2½ inches to 1 mile), ISBN 0-31923-839-3

ee also

*Anglo-Scottish border
*Solway Plain
*Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust

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  • Solway Firth — (spr. ßóll ŭē förth), Golf des Irischen Meeres, zwischen England und Schottland, schneidet in nordöstlicher Richtung 53 km tief in das Land ein und enthält viele Lachse und Heringe. Während der Ebbe kann der obere Teil des S. fast trockenen Fußes …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Solway Firth — (spr. ßollwĕ förth), Golf des Irischen Meers, trennt das südwestl. Schottland von England …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Solway Firth —   [ sɔlweɪ fəːθ], seichte Meeresbucht der Irischen See, trennt Südwestschottland von Nordwestengland.   …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Solway Firth — [säl′wā] arm of the Irish Sea, between England & Scotland: c. 40 mi (64 km) long …   English World dictionary

  • Solway Firth — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Firth. Solway Firth Carte du Solway Firth. Géographie humaine …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Solway Firth — Der Solway Firth Der Solway Firth ist der Meeresarm, der das nordwestlichste County in England (Cumbria) vom südwestlichsten Schottlands (Dumfries and Galloway) trennt. Er erstreckt sich von St. Bees Head direkt südlich von Whitehaven in Cumbria… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Solway Firth — Sp Sòlvėjaus fjòrdas Ap Solway Firth L įl. Airijos j. tarp Anglijos ir Škotijos, Jungtinė Karalystė, D. Britanija …   Pasaulio vietovardžiai. Internetinė duomenų bazė

  • Solway Firth — noun a large firth on the west coast of Britain between England and Scotland • Instance Hypernyms: ↑firth • Part Holonyms: ↑Great Britain, ↑GB …   Useful english dictionary

  • Solway Firth — /sɒlweɪ ˈfɜθ/ (say solway ferth) noun an arm of the Irish Sea between south western Scotland and north western England. 60 km long …   Australian English dictionary

  • Solway Firth — Sol′way Firth′ [[t]ˈsɒl weɪ[/t]] n. geg an arm of the Irish Sea between SW Scotland and NW England. 38 mi. (61 km) long …   From formal English to slang

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