Your weekend walk with Bob Clare of www.lancashirewalks.com
I am a browser of graveyards always on the look-out for the deceased rich and famous. It is a form of autograph hunting where your subject is unable to avoid you. At the beginning of last month I had a real find. When Joe and I were on a traverse of south eastern Lakeland during an outing with the Norwest Fellwalking Club we came to St Paul’s church, Rusland and practically the first headstone we bumped into was that of Arthur Ransome’s. For many people their first introduction to the Lake District is through his children’s books – most famously “Swallows and Amazons”. The adventures of the Walker family had as big an influence on popularising the English Lakes as did Beatrix Potter and even AW.
Start: Newby Bridge at the southern end of Windermere LA12 8NB
Finish: Hawkshead village centre LA22 0NT
As with all linear walks a study of public transport options will be necessary unless you have kind friends and relatives. See Cumbria.gov.uk for information and links to bus timetables.
Distance: 11 miles
Time: 4½-6 hours
Map: OS OL7 The English Lakes South eastern area
1. From the eponymous bridge keep ahead on the Lakeside Road with the Swan Hotel on the right and soon after cross the Haverthwaite and Lakeside Railway line. Immediately after the bridge turn left on a drive leading to properties. Keep on the drive as it downgrades to a track leading into woods. After a stile by a wooden gate continue on a well waymarked public footpath climbing gently through a wood. At a ladder stile exit the wood and keep ahead crossing a line of four fields in a broad corridor between trees to reach the church at Finsthwaite. In front of the church turn left on a lane leading into the village. Where the lane forks go left and on reaching what counts as the main road turn left and then immediately right on a footpath in the direction of High Dam which is signed as being ½ a mile away. The way passes to the right of a static caravan and continues to enter woodland at a wooden gate. Follow the path as it climbs upwards and soon after joins the main track leading up to High Dam. High Dam is a beautiful tarn. An unobtrusive dam created it to supply water to a bobbin mill in Finsthwaite. The bobbin mill is long gone but has left this delightful legacy. Keep left when you arrive at the tarn and follow the track to a footpath junction just after a bridge of sorts. Turn left and soon after quit the trees to cross a broad ridge with rocky outcrops and sublime views of a great chunk of Lakeland. Keep on the path until you reach a signpost just after a wall indicating Crosslands is ½ mile further on. On a waymarked path drop down the hillside until you come to a lane. Turn left for Crosslands. Go through the hamlet to a junction with the Grizedale Road. To the left almost opposite take a footpath that leads across fields skirting the left side of a wood to a narrow lane. Turn right and follow the road as it brings you to a junction. Turn right. At the next junction keep straight ahead on a path leading up to Rusland Church. As you enter the grounds Arthur Ransome’s grave to the right.
2. After paying your respects exit the churchyard at its main entrance and turn right. In 350yds at a junction turn left onto a broad track and keep on it for almost ¾ mile as it passes through woods and then open ground. At a bridleway signpost turn left for Force Forge. When you reach a road turn left again and after 200yds close to property turn right on a footpath that takes you to the Grizedale Road at Low Bowkerstead. Turn left and keep on the road to Satterthwaite where refreshments are available at the Eagle’s Head, the last pub for some considerable distance as its billboards point out. Go through the village, pass the church and then turn left onto a bridleway taking you over Sawry Bridge and in ½ mile brings to the edge of Grizedale Forest at a remarkable tree where holly has grown through the bole of a near dead ash. Keep on the main track for over a mile until you reach Grizedale Visitor Centre.
3. Managed by Forestry England Grizedale is a super place to bring children. There is a range of activities including the ever popular “Go Ape!” Bear it in mind for half term. From the visitor centre cross the road to a bridleway in the direction of Esthwaite. This climbs between dense groves of conifers levelling off close to an elongated reedy pond. At the junction of tracks go left and then in another ¼ mile bear left onto a narrower signed bridleway. This joins another forestry track which leads to the road to Hawkshead at Moor Top. Turn right on the road and then left at Moor Top car park. Re-entering forest stay right at the next two junctions in the direction of Hawkshead and enjoy a lovely gentle descent into one of the District’s most attractive villages.