Rampside, Roa and Piel Island
It is likely that the network of islands and sheltered channels round the southern end of Furness were well-known to such experienced sailors as the Norse. A rare Viking burial was found in Rampside churchyard in 1909 (with the sword buried in the grave). And the Furness Hoard, a late Viking stash of ingots and coins, was found about 6km away at Stainton. All the names in this vicinity: Roa, Foulney, Futheray (Piel) are Norse.
Rampside was part of Furness Abbey's extensive lands in the medieval period but only after a land swop. Michael le Fleming and the abbot of Furness met in the middle of the twelfth century to neaten their boundaries. Urswick was exchanged by Furness Abbey for le Feming's Rampside and the dividing line, Shearer Beck (now Sarah Beck) is still used 850 years later as a boundary marker for Barrow-in-Furness Borough Council.
Piel Island's safe harbour and deep basin might have been a Roman signal station or, later, a Norse guide point for coastal shipping. There is no evidence but it's highly plausible. Today the ruins of Piel Castle are clearly visible and again tell the story of the might of Furness Abbey. The Abbey's ships had to be loaded and unloaded by small boats. This required speed and a fortified warehouse. It was the stage for an event of national importance when Lambert Simnel landed in 1487, intending to seize the English throne. The landlord of the inn on Piel, the Ship Inn, is known as the King of the island. He has a throne made from a single piece of oak, possibly from the castle or a shipwreck and the King can make "Knights of Piel".
The Westfield Greenway is a scenic walk (7km or 4.5 miles) for all the family from the Foulney Island car park to Cavendish Dock.