NAMED as the most romantic film of all time, Brief Encounter has captured the imagination of audiences for 70 years.

It starred Celia Johnson as Laura, a married woman with children, whose conventional life becomes increasingly complicated because of a chance meeting at a railway station with a stranger, Alec, played by Trevor Howard.

It was partially shot at Carnforth Station - renamed Milford Junction in the film - and the iconic refreshment room has been faithfully restored to its 1940s period glory.

And that is the end point of this 5.6 mile walk.

It is one of a series of 12 which has been put together by Stuart Ballard, on behalf of the Leeds-Morecambe Community Rail Partnership (CRP) and the Lancaster and Skipton Rail User Group (LASRUG).

It starts at Bare Lane Station, on the Lancaster to Morecambe line. It, too, has enjoyed a moment of fame - the old station building, now a private dwelling, was featured on the BBC property programme Homes Under the Hammer.

The route also takes in the Lancaster Canal and the village of Hest Bank, which borders the salt flats of Morecambe Bay.

Its history stretches back centuries. Its oldest building is the Hest Bank Hotel, formerly known as the Sands Inn, which served as a coaching inn long ago for vehicles which navigated the treacherous sands of Morecambe Bay.

It once had a railway station. Unfortunately in 1965, a sleeper train derailed at high speed, damaging the station buildings. No-one was seriously hurt, but the platform was subsequently closed.

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Step by step

Exit Bare Lane Station next to level crossing and turn right along road. Pass entrance to Bare Lane Station Park & Ride (R), red pillar-box (L), Queens Drive (R) and Hest Bank Road (R).

Just before a bus shelter and Bare Lane Village Hall turn right onto public footpath signed ‘Hest Bank’ and go down enclosed path alongside the village hall (L). Pass narrow paddock and row of bungalows (L). Go straight across a road. At second road bear left and follow footpath sign ‘Hest Bank’. At T-junction of paths, follow ‘Hest Bank’ sign right, keep to hedge and iron railings (L) with open area to right, then turn left at bottom and follow path with iron railings (L).

Pass Happy Mount Park (L) adventure playground (behind railings), and Morecambe Golf Course (L). Continue uphill through a tunnel of trees with paling fence to left, and leave golf course. Follow path around to right and descend to a wide wooden footbridge over a ditch.

Cross this bridge and follow path around to the left when it runs adjacent to the Morecambe-Carnforth rail line (R). Cross wooden footbridge over beck and go up incline to cross the single railway line. (Watch out for trains.) Descend path from railway line and pass under the West Coast Main Line railway bridge. Turn left along lane, which runs adjacent to the railway line before turning right and eventually rising to a canal bridge.

Just before reaching the canal bridge fork right onto the towpath of the Lancaster Canal and turn left immediately to pass under the bridge (No 116). This towpath passes through Carnforth. Arrive at Hest Bank boat moorings. Pass under bridge No117. There are good views across Morecambe Bay (L). Pass under bridges Nos 118 and 119. Enjoy view (L). Pass swing bridge No 120 and pass under bridge No 121. Pass picnic area (just out of view) (L) then immediately pass under bridge No 122, and then pass under bridges Nos 123 to 127. Pass along the low aqueduct.

Arrive Carnforth moorings. Pass the Canal Turn pub (L) and leave towpath here by forking left through pub car park. Turn right along main road pavement. Cross over road to other pavement at pedestrian crossing as if going to superstore, and turn right up gradient towards fork in road ahead. At Haws Hill junction bear left down one-way street signed railway station. Pass police station (L) and continue down this street to Carnforth Station on left at bottom of hill.