St Bees Valley

Where Ships Once Sailed

At one time, it was said that ships sailed along the St Bees Valley, in West Cumbria, towards Whitehaven via Pow Beck (formerly Po Beck). St Bees head is known to have once been an island, called Preston Isle, and Pow Beck is believed to be the survivor of a sea channel.

The fact that the beck forms two separate streams, with outlets at St Bees and Whitehaven adds credence to the theory. This would also account for deposits of clay, silt, and sand that have been left behind.

  • I am aware of ships navigating part of Pow Beck in Whitehaven, where they visited a mill, which was once located in the towns Marketplace. A bridge at the mill once crossed Pow Beck, adjacent to the Golden Lion.
  • Pow Beck is a stream in Cumbria, flowing in a southwesterly direction to the village of St Bees where it flows into the Irish Sea. Despite rising only 0.62 miles (1 km) south of Whitehaven Harbour, the stream flows south for 2.8 miles (4.5 km) to the coast at St Bees. The present course was much altered by the Furness Railway in 1849 to improve the drainage of the valley.
  • An embankment was constructed at Whitehaven harbour, with railway sidings and swingbridge installed, thus artificially raising the level of the town centre.

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St Bees Valley
St Bees Valley


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