The day after the long Easter weekend I took an extra day off work and we headed up the M6 to Tebay where we turned off the motorway and after a short drive arrived at the small village of Orton. It’s in Cumbria but last year the attractive village and the surrounding area to the north of the Howgill Fells was included in the Yorkshire Dales National Park when the boundaries were extended. It’s not a well known area and so not crowded with tourists, but the countryside is very beautiful and extremely peaceful. Hard to believe it’s only a few miles from the busy M6.
I’d read a few blogs with reports of walks in the area so we decided on a route based on some of these which would take us past and through some extensive limestone pavements around Great Asby Scar.
We parked up in the small car park in Orton (managed to get the last space!) and set out
We soon reached open countryside. Only relatively gentle hills today,
with distinctive limestone rock formations, drystone walls and plenty of sheep.
As we started to climb, there was a good view of the Howgill Fells to the south.
After a couple of miles we reached a crossroads. Our route would take us straight on but one arm of the sign posts pointed towards the monument up on Beacon Hill above Orton Scar. We decided to go and have a look.
The monument on top of the modest hill was erected to mark Queen Victoria Golden Jubilee
It was worth taking the short diversion as the views in every direction were outstanding.
The Howgills to the south
the Lakeland fells to the west with the distinctive profile of Blencathra (Saddleback) clearly visible in the distance
and the northern Pennines to the north and east
We headed back down the hill to rejoin our planned route.
Great Asby Scar has one of the most extensive areas of limestone pavement in England and a section of it has been designated as a National Nature Reserve.
There was a heavily fortified Romano-British site – the Castle Folds Settlement – on top of one of the limestone scars. It’s possible to walk over the open access land on the Reserve to look at the site, but we decided to stick to the route we’d planned. But I think it would be worth another visit to the area to walk over the limestone pavement to take a look at the site.
We carried on along the bridlepath.
Some curious locals
A view over to the Pennines
A short distance before Great Asby village we too a path south west across some fiels and then picked up the path heading south west which would take us back towards Orton across some more limestone pavement.
As we stared to descend the Howgills came back into view
We descended into pastoral countryside, the fields fresh and green.
We reached the road at Sunbiggin and walked along the tarmac a short distance before joining a path that took us back over the fields.
A mile or so before Orton we passed the Gamelands stone circle in an adjacent field.
It’s one of the largest circles in Cumbria. Unfortunately the stones have all been knocked over and some have been removed.
A short while later we reached Orton
Time for some refreshment in the Chocolate Factory. It’s always good to have a refreshing view (and some cake!) after a good walk
We’d timed our walk to perfection – they stopped serving a little while after we arrived. Now that would have been disappointing.