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Some Walks From Crosthwaite Green

During the strange Spring of 2020 when most residents of Crosthwaite rarely left the parish many of us rediscovered the old cart tracks, bridleways and footpaths that our forebears knew well. They would mostly have used them in their day to day lives to visit family, church or go about their work. For most of us, this dry Spring of glorious weather it was exercise that made us leave our homes. We met neighbours along the way and chatted at a distance. For many of us it made us appreciate afresh the beautiful valleys we have the privilege to live in as we followed Spring. First it drained our sodden land, then blossomed and finally turned to Summer’s glory. We heard bird song more loudly, watched lambs turn from babies to playful youngsters and the colour of Spring turn from yellow, to blue and to the crimson of Summer.

These walks are too good to keep for ourselves and so I hope by recording them to encourage others to explore our parish and beyond. I will add to them gradually as time permits and welcome any corrections to the narrative along the way. Perhaps others might want to add their favourite walks to these.

The format will be to indicate a route map to be used in conjunction with your own ordinance survey map. I have found it easy to find my way around using the OS app on my phone, but an old fashioned paper map might be just as good for some. I will describe the route of the walk, but this will only be a guide not a set of comprehensive directions so please don’t blame me if you go wrong!

There are plenty of viewpoints and points of interest and so I will try and draw these out and illustrate some with a snap.

Our fells here in Crosthwaite and Lyth are not so mountainous but they are hills. The area is characterised by gentle slopes and hillocks, but the Norse derived name Lyth means ‘ hilly’ and so most walks involve enough hill walking to get you out of breath at times.

Mostly the walks will avoid roads unless necessary, but our roads are quiet and some lovely walks can be enjoyed down them. Mostly the walks will follow ancient footpaths, cart tracks and pack pony trails that abound in this area. The two main rivers and valleys have old bridges crossing them and rise to uplands that frequently give outstanding views of the high fells of lakeland and the Kent estuary on Morecambe Bay.

In the higher parts of the parish there are extensive areas of open land where you have the right to roam, although not all of these have a permissive path to access them. Unless you plan to visit these by helicopter or parachute then you may feel you need the landowners permission to use a private track or path.

Our parish is beautiful and often overlooked in the rush to the fells, but it is still a working environment and our farming families have busy lives. Please help them by following the country code and particularly by leaving gates as you find them and keeping dogs under control, particularly when stock are out at grass.

I won’t give advice about clothing or footwear. Weather forecasts are pretty accurate these days and these walks are not in extreme environments, but dress sensibly for the time of year and take a drink with you if you’re going to be out more than a couple of hours. It’s not sensible to drink out of the becks in our relatively lowland valleys.

I’ll put an approximate time as guidance on each walk, but clearly these will depend on how you spend your time! Personally I walk these hills around 2.5 miles each hour but frequently get distracted and take longer.

All walks start from the crossroads at Crosthwaite Green, because that’s where I live. A word of caution on parking though. Safe parking around the green is quite restricted and visitors with cars might like to use the lay by on the A5074 at the top of Totter Bank (SD432911), or there is space for a couple of cars at the pull-off just beyond Hardriggs (SD436919). Give me a wave if you are setting off from here! I’ll record the walks in order of approximate duration.

Martin Douglas, June 2020.

Walks
Hemp Rake and Church Lane

A short walk ideal for a ‘first’ or ‘last’ look. Less than 3 miles and only 500ft of climbing to a beautiful viewpoint. Around 1.5 hours taking 10 minutes on the top to explore and admire.


Foxhole Bank Fell

Short and comfortable 3.5 mile walk around old parish tracks, delightful hills and to a lovely viewpoint. Two hours allowing for taking in the sights.


St Catherine’s Tower via Lords Lot

5.5 miles, around 1000ft of ascent almost all steady incline early in the walk, 2.5 hours. Great walk to blow away cobwebs before a late Sunday lunch.


Over the Hill to Broom Lane

A circular walk of less than six miles to take your time over. A short ascent of the Gilpin valley side of around 15 minutes. Around three hours at a leisurely pace.


Lost lanes and cart tracks of Crosthwaite

A walk of less than 6 miles that takes some lost lanes and tracks south of Crosthwaite and around the north of Whitbarrow. Some of these get overgrown in high summer, when long trousers are essential to avoid stings.


Windswept on Whitbarrow

A roughly three hour walk, around six miles that climbs over 1000ft. It’s good to blow off cobwebs. On Whitbarrow there is almost always a wind and it’s a good idea to carry a layer you don’t expect to use.


Cat Crag and Knipe Tarn

A walk that covers small country lanes, farm tracks and public footpaths to a beautiful tarn and fabulous viewpoint. Around 6 miles and 1000ft of gentle ascent. A three hour round.


To St Anthony’s Cartmel Fell

A lowland walk worth taking your time over. Around 8 miles and a leisurely 4 hours taking in the sights. Particularly beautiful on a sunny Spring day when the bluebells are out.


Rosthwaite Heights and Rulbuts Hill

Around 10 miles and 1700 ft total elevation, no strenuous climbs if taken at a steady pace.


To find the source of the Gilpin

This is a fairly strenuous walk of around 11 miles and with about 2000ft of overall elevation. None of this is tough, but combined with the length means you should leave around 5 hours to cover the route.


A yomp down Whitbarrow

Some walks are just meant to be done at a yomp and this is one. On top, Whitbarrow is easy limestone walking and it compels you to stride out. Although this is a longish walk, a strong walker will complete this 12 mile round in a little over 4 hours. More senior ones like me may take up to 5.


A Full Circuit of Whitbarrow

If the yomp over the top of Whitbarrow doesn’t stimulate you then this walk of a similar 12 mile distance might do.


All The Way to Gummers How and Back

A full days long walk of around 12 miles and 2000 ft of ascent. This is possibly the toughest walk in this series, so you should leave a minimum of six hours.


Cunswick Scar and Lords Lot

A long walk that could be boggy through the pastures between the two heights. For this reason I would avoid doing in Winter. Instead make a day of it in decent weather. It is varied, needs your attention in choosing paths and around 13 miles long. Allow a leisurely 7 hours and take a picnic to have around the cairn of Cunswick Scar.