Woodland and striking limestone scenery with wildlife galore and outstanding views.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D/A) From the front door of the pub, follow the road in front of you, downhill round a left-hand bend towards Bowland Bridge. Take the first right, signposted to High Newton and the Church at Cartmel Fell. Pass the entrance to Burblethwaite Hall on the left after 300m or so, and then a house called Greenthorn Barn on the same side.
(1) After further houses to right and left, and shortly beyond a phone box, turn left into the entrance of Pool Garth. Follow the driveway round the hillside and when the track divides take the right-hand fork. Turn left and walk in front of the house, then turn right to a gate. Cross the top of the field to another gate, then follow the left-hand edge of the next field, below some small rocky outcrops. Go through a field gate on your left, and walk down to meet a track to the right of a farm.
(2) Turn right through a gate and walk up the track beyond, then bear right to St Anthony’s Church. Exit the graveyard via the lych-gate and walk past the old school on the left (notice the natural slide on a rock outcrop on the bank to the right). At the end of the church drive, turn left down the lane, to a junction. Turn right and follow this lane for 50m, before turning left through a gate onto a track that descends along the edge of a wood then swings left by a barn, then right down to a farmhouse. Turn left through the farmyard and out to a lane. Go through a gate opposite and walk down the side of the field. Head to the right of a shallow muddy pool and walk down to a gate and a footbridge over the River Winster.
(3) Walk up the left-hand side of the field ahead then go through a gate on the left. Bear right across a field to a gate in a hedge and continue across another field with a reedy area to the right. At the end of the field, go through a gateway and bear left through a third field to a gate into the wood. On meeting a track, turn right past a barn and follow it left through the trees and across a valley bottom into more woodland, where the path bears left again and climbs to Pool Bank. Bear left through a gate and past a barn out to the road, among a cluster of old houses.
(4) Turn right, uphill, past a converted barn on the left. Descend then climb to a road junction, where you take the left fork. The road winds past North Lodge on your left and continues through trees. Ignore a footpath sign on the left, but just afterwards turn left at a layby on a bend onto the obvious path. This path winds through the woodland for 630m then climbs to meet a wall and then a crossing track. (The intrepid and nimble can seek out Fairies’ Cave from here: turn left through a gateway and then immediately left again onto a vague, muddy track. There is no obvious path from here down through the trees to the small gorge, and the entrance is reached via an awkward scramble up a mossy boulder choke. A torch is required to explore the cave entrance. Return the same way.) Cross the track and follow a permitted (diverted) path that bears right at a path junction and continues through the woods below and parallel to the unseen slopes of Whitbarrow.
(5) After a mile, the path meets a track near Witherslack Hall; bear left and right to continue in the same direction as before to a gate into a field. Turn left towards the cliffs of Chapel Head Scar and, after a gate, follow the fence beside a football pitch. Turn left over a stile and walk behind the goalposts to pick up a path back into the trees. Keep right at a fork and follow the path up the wooded slopes of Whitbarrow. As it climbs obliquely, the path becomes steeper and rockier, with occasional views, until you finally reach a wall and wooden stile at the top. Turn left, parallel with the wall; the trees gradually thin out as you follow the path along the edge.
(6) By a couple of cairns, the path bears right, away from the edge, and further cairns lead between scattered limestone to Lord’s Seat, where there is a domed cairn with views in all directions. Turn left here and walk down the ridge, before following the path as it drops down to the right towards a long, low limestone scar. When you reach the scar, follow it left until it ends, to be replaced by a wall. Ignore a squeeze stile, continuing ahead with the wall still on your right. After some open birch woodland, go through a gate and continue through open grassland with intermittent limestone outcrops. In a shallow valley, turn left onto a less obvious path and follow a low limestone scar on the right. In another slight dip, turn left and follow a minor grassy path down a shallow valley and through bracken to a wall. Climb a through-stile and follow the narrow path beyond as it descends through scrub woodland with occasionally rocky sections. The path leads through hazel and yew woodland, ever downhill, passing a fenced-off water tank on the right, to reach a fence at the bottom of the wood.
(7) Follow the fence and then turn left over a stile in the wall directly above Fell Edge Farm. Walk down to the farm and between the barns and farmhouse, exiting via the cattle grid onto the drive, which you follow as it winds downhill to a road via two further cattle grids.
(8) Turn right along the lane and then left over a stile after 125m. Follow the fence to a farm drive. Turn left then immediately leave the drive for a footpath on the left that drops down the field below a house. At the bottom of the field, find a gate in the right-hand corner and continue along the edge of the next field, ignoring a gate on the left. Another gate ahead leads below the farm, beyond which you leave the hedge and bear right to a gate into a farm track beyond the last of the buildings. Turn left along the track for 150m to a gate, then follow the wall on the left. Go through another gate and continue along the wall towards the valley bottom. Cross the valley floor through a series of gates and walk up to a road.
(9) Take a few steps to the left, then take a footpath over a stile on the right that climbs to a stone barn. Keep to the right of the barn and descend between two rocky knolls to a gorsy bank, below which is a ladder stile. Follow the wall beyond and continue over another rise to another ladder stile. Continue in the same direction (now with the wall on your left) to a gate and walk down the side of the last field to a through-stile into a lane.
(10) Turn right and walk into Bowland Bridge. Turn left and descend to the river. Beyond the bridge, follow the road ahead uphill and back to the Masons Arms.(D/A)
D/A : km 0 - alt. 71m - Masons Arms
1 : km 1.11 - alt. 72m - Pool Garth
2 : km 1.68 - alt. 62m - St Anthony’s Church
3 : km 2.62 - alt. 8m - River Winster
4 : km 3.63 - alt. 49m - Pool Bank
5 : km 6.71 - alt. 55m - Witherslack Hall
6 : km 8.03 - alt. 209m - Lord’s Seat
7 : km 10.26 - alt. 103m - Fell Edge Farm
8 : km 10.75 - alt. 31m - Lane
9 : km 12.09 - alt. 19m - Woodside Road
10 : km 12.94 - alt. 26m - Phone box
D/A : km 13.62 - alt. 71m - Masons Arms
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
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The YHA is a great institution and I guess most fell walkers have stayed at a hostel at some time in their lives. They were created "to help all, especially young people of limited means, to a greater knowledge, love and care of the countryside, particularly by providing hostels or other simple accommodation for them on their travels". Here's a collection of routes starting or finishing at a YHA in The Lakes. Along the way are 1 Wainwright and 2 interesting pubs.
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.