A walk around Kentmere and Longsleddale

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The weather forecast for the day after we got home from Shropshire promised good weather. A pity we hadn’t stayed there longer as we would have been able to get out back on to the hills. I was still on holiday from work so I decided to make the most of it and took the train over to Staveley to get out on the fells. Last time I was here a few weeks ago I’d worked out a couple of circular routes that would take me from Staveley over to Longsleddale and back to the Kentmere Valley so I thought I’d give it a go. This is a very quiet part of the Lake District National Park. During the walk, after leaving Staveley, I saw only 4 other walkers on Brunt Knott, two locals in Longsleddale and a mountain biker during a 5 hour walk.

Leaving the staton I picked up a every tasty pork pie at the Bakery in the Mill yard, took the path along the river and walked to Barrley Bridge and was soon heading up into the fields.

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Views of the Kentmere valley and mountains soon opened up to my left.

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I headed towards Brunt Knott passing Brunt farm

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and, although it was a slight diversion, decided to climb to the top. I took a rather direct steep route up to the summit – there’s the trig point dead ahead!

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The views from the summit, on a sunny day, are outstanding in every direction

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Looking south west I could see as far as the Kent estuary and Morecambe Bay

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and looking east there were the Coniston fells

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the Langdales, Crinkle Crag, Bowfell and the Scafells

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Red Scree, Helvelyn (I think!), Yoke and Ill Bell to the north

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Kentmere Pike and and Harter Fell

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Looking towards the east

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the Howgill fells to the south east

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After enjoying the views for a while, and grabbing a bite to eat, I set back down the hill and continued along the path east towards Longsleddale

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It was starting to get rather wet and muddy underfoot

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The fells to the left

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Getting closer to Longsleddale

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Starting to descend into the valley. Looks stunning

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I followed the path north along the floor of the valley

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Looking over to the other side of the valley I spotted an old Pele tower incorporated into a farm house – Yewbarrow Hall.

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A little further along a lonely church – St Mary’s

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Getting closer to the head of the valley

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At the farmhouse at Hollin Root, I turned off taking the path up the hill heading back to the Kentmere Valley

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Looking back down the path

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and south, back down the valley I’d just walked along

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It was a modest climb and I soon reached the relatively flat moorland. There were good views of the fells to the north east and Gatesgarth Pass at the head of the valley.

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After a short while I could see Skeggle’s Water, a small tarn, to the north. No time to divert to take a closer look though. I needed to keep moving as I wanted to catch the train that left Staveley just after 6 o’clock (otherwise a two hour wait for the next one).

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Carrying on across the moorland. It was a lot drier underfoot than the path I’d taken between Brunt Farm and Longsleddale.

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Approaching the Kentmere Valley

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Starting to descend off the moor

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Cutting across the fields

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Heading towards Low Elfhowe in the Kentmere Valley. ONly a few miles back to Staveley now.

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The weir at Barley Bridge

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Another kilometre to the station. I made it with about 15 minutes to spare before the train arrived.

This was an excellent walk in beautiful countryside in an extremely quiet part of the Lake District.

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St Margaret’s Tower, Staveley

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St Margaret’s tower stands in the centre of the village of Staveley in Cumbria. It’s all that’s left of a church that used to occupy the site, which was demolished in 1865 when a new church, St James’, was opened on drier, higher ground. Since then the tower has stood proud in the small graveyard. The clock  at the top of the tower, was added in 1887 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

St James’ has a stained glass window designed by Edward Burne-Jones and made by Morris and Company. I really must go and have a look next time I’m in the village.

Potter Fell

Last year some of our relatives from the North East booked a cottage in Staveley for a week’s holiday. We called up to see them as it’s only just over an hour’s drive away. Until then we’d never thought of visiting the village and the nearby Kentmere valley, rushing past on the by-pass on our way to other parts of the Lake District. Well, they certainly did us a favour as we discovered what has now become a favourite part of the National Park! I was up there again recently, on my own this time, to go for a walk up on to Potter’s Fell.

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I took the train; a Virgin mainline Pendelino to Oxeholme where I swapped over on to the Northern train that trundles over to Windermere via Kendal, Burneside and Staveley on a single track line.

Starting out from the station I headed into the village, through the Mill Yard and over the footbridge crossing the River Kent

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The weir behind the Mill Yard

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and a short distance further up the river, another weir at Barley Bridge

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Along the leafy lane. Hardly any traffic to worry about.

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Cutting across the fields

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The path took me over the fields to a minor road that would lead to Brunt’s farm and my first objective, Brunt Knott, the highest point of Potter’s Fell, which soon came into view

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I walked past the farm buildings

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then through a gate that took me on to the track that led up on to the fell.

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Getting nearer to my destination

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Looking back there was a good view towards the high fells

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A stiff climb, and the summit came into view

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Reaching the summit the views were exceptional in every direction. Photos just can’t do them justice.

Looking over to the Coniston Fells, Crinkle Crags, Bowfell, the Langdales and the Scafells

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Looking down towards the  Kentmere horseshoe

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and across to Longsleddale

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A Panorama shot on my phone

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I had a few options now and was tempted to head down to Longsledale and complete a circuit cutting back across to the Kentmere Valley further north. However, I decided to leave that for another day and retrace my steps and then head over to Potter’s Tarn.

Descending down towards the valley

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Approaching Brunt Farm

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Just after Brunt Farm I spotted a small group of sheep shearers.

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A view of the southern part of Potter’s Fell as I walked down the narrow road heading south down the valley.

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The bridge that crosses a small stream on the path heading towards Potter Tarn

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After a short, stiff climb, I reached Potter Tarn

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The tarn is actually a reservoir built to supply water to a local paper mill and is dominated to some extent by a huge concrete dam. However, standing in the right position you can avoid looking at it and appreciate the small lake and the attractive surrounding scenery.

After a short stop to admire the view and take a few photographs I carried on over a stile, past the dam and up across the fell towards Gurnal Dubs another, slightly larger tarn.

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It’s another reservoir but is particularly attractive. In this case the dam is hardly noticeable as it’s clad in stone and turf. There’s a stone boathouse at the northern end of the tarn.IMG_1370

I walked along the path a little further and took a panorama with my phone

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then back to the north end to take a break and a bite to eat by the boathouse. A family of four – parents plus two older teenagers, were also sitting on the grass. The mother and daughter donned their wet suits and went for a swim in the small lake. Brave souls! The male members, however, declined to join them and we chatted for a while.

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Rested, I set back down towards Potter Tarn

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I then turned left and took the path down the valley. Reaching the Staveley to Burneside highway Winking smile 

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The dry stone walls lining the road were covered with moss

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I walked along the lane towards Staevely, cutting across the fields along the path after the small sewage works (fortunately, no noticeable odour today!). Eventually the bridge over the Kent at the back of the Mill Yard came into view.

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Unfortunately, the renowned Wilf’s Café was about to close, and as I had about an hour before my train was due I was forced to resort to calling into the Hawkshead Brewery for a refreshing (non-alcholoic) beer

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Just what I needed after a good 10 mile walk!

it hadn’t been too strenuous, although there were a couple of stiff climbs the fells were of relatively modest height. But the views on a fine day were outstanding and unlike other parts of the Lake District it was extremely quiet – I didn’t another soul between leaving and returning to the village other than the sheep shearers, a few farm workers and the family up at Gurnal Dubs.

Hawkshead Brewery

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Before driving over to Kentmere we called into the Hawkshead Brewery at Staveley. It’s a real brewery where they brew there own ales, but they also have a beer hall where they serve their beer as well as food. It’s open lunch times and also during the evening on Friday and Saturday (food only served until 3 pm, though).

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Visitors can look over the brewery from a viewing gallery at the back of the building

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and they have 2 large storage tanks next to the beer hall.

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They also run brewery tours at 2 pm on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

It might seem odd that they’re called Hawkshead Brewery when they’re a few miles and across the other side of Windermere from the village of that name. However, that is where they started. But they outgrew their original premises after four years and moved to the present site, in the Mill Yard, beside the River Kent, in Staveley. Their range of craft beers are rather excellent (you can buy bottles to take away so no need to try them all at once!).

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Next door there’s a rather excellent craft bakery that sells scrumptious bread and cakes, and they have a café too.

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So two yeast based production facilities next door to each other.

There’s a number of other manufacturing, commercial and retail businesses based in the mill yard, including a shop that makes and sells chutney’s sauces and relishes and the UK’s largest cycle store.

It’s worth pulling off the fast road between Kendal and Windermere for a visit.

Walk from Staveley to Potter Tarn

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Last Sunday we drove over to Staveley on the edge of the Lake District. It’s somewhere we’ve previously bypassed on the way to other parts of the South Lakes but some of our relatives from the North East were staying there in a cottage for a week’s holiday so we drove up to pay them a visit.

After a rather nice dinner at the Hawkshead Brewery  Beer Hall, we decided to set out for a walk.

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Starting from Barley Bridge we took a path between some houses and through a gate that took us onto a grassy hillside.

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The hill was quite steep in parts but as we climbed great views opened up down the valley to our left

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Reaching the top of the hill, there was a good view towards the fells (Brunt Knot?)

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Reaching the farm we turned right along a track before taking the next left turning, passing another farm, before crossing a stream and turning right. The path soon took us up another hill towards our destination – Potter Tarn.

Looking back we could see the “blue remembered hills” of the Coniston Fells, Crinkle Crags, Bowfell and the Langdale Pikes on the horizon.

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After a short, brisk climb we reached the tarn

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We retraced our steps back down the hill but turned right, making our way down the track towards the River Kent.

We passed this old farm building. It looked derelict from the back but was still occupied

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Eventually we reached the woodland by the side of the river. We followed the path downstream, intending to cross over to the other side by crossing the bridge marked on the OS map. But when we reached the appropriate location it wasn’t there – washed away by flood waters

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We walked back towards the quiet minor road

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and followed it in the direction of Staveley – upstream.

About half way back tot he village we took the path that cut through fields beside the river

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Eventually reaching the village

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We returned to the cottage for a welcoming brew. It had been  less strenuous  than other recent walks, but still enjoyable. And it had introduced us to an area of Lakeland we hadn’t previously visited. We’ll have to explore further in the future.