ADVENTURES IN GRIZEDALE FOREST
1.Lawson Park, Machell Coppice, Parkamoor & Brantwood
2. Ascent to Carron Crag

 


Summary

Date - (1) 30th December 2008 & (2) 16th July 2009 Distance - (1) 9 miles (2) 5.5 miles
Map - OL6 & OL7 Start point - Monk Coniston car park (SD 316978)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Carron Crag 1030 314 SD 3259 9433

 

The Walk

Grisedale Forest Park, covers a large area of some 2447 hectares (6046 acres), above the east side of Coniston Water. On two adventures we visited different parts, the first in the company of Uncle Eric, the second just on our own with Dad. In each case the outward route up to a point was the same, so we have decided to combine them together. For the common route we have utilised pictures taken on both walks, a fact that may well be obvious from the foliage on the trees.

The weather conditions were starkly different. Being December, it was not surprising to have a cold frosty day, but thankfully there was not any wind. It started off sunny but then the cloud came down and it was pretty bleak. On the July walk the forecast was for a dry morning with showers in afternoon. In fact it was the complete opposite!

Our start point was the Monk Coniston car park at the very northern end of Coniston Water.

On the December morning, Tetley called out. "hi Uncle Eric. Nice to see you. We are very much looking forward to our walk and have your company."

"Thank you lads, it's good to see you."

We are always eager to be off, but on that December morning there was a nice effect of some light mist hanging over the lake, so we had to be patient while Dad took a picture.

Ready now, Shaun said, "we should walk along the road on the east side of Coniston Water. After a little way it will start to climb taking us past the buildings of Tent Lodge and How Head."

The view over the lake opened up. "That's a super view to Coniston Village and Coniston Old Man", commented Grizzly. "The summit is just about clear of the early morning mist and bathed in the sunlight."

At the next house, Shaun pointed, "we take the bridleway signed to the left."

Passing through the gate we came to this rustic sign. Shaun said, "we go right."

The path, rough and stony in places, climbed quite steeply passing through two more gates. Then the gradient levelled and the path became smoother too, finally joining a forest road.

Allen was looking at the map. "Turn right", he called out.

In a short distance we emerged from the trees, and arrived at an offset crossroad of paths. So far our route had been the same for each of the walks.

Distantly ahead we could see Carron Crag. This is where, in the story, we are going now, on the day in July 2009.

Seeing a signpost, Grizzly called out, "is this our path, Shaun?"

"No pal, that goes to Moor Top. We have to walk a few yards further to the fork, and go left", replied Shaun.

Almost immediately after the left fork, the path split once again.

"Where now?", asked Allen.

"We follow the forest road, not the narrow path descending left", replied Shaun once again.

"Where does that narrow path go?", persisted Allen.

"It leads eventually to the Forest Park Visitor Centre", replied Shaun.

Dad said, "that is where I adopted your pal Grizedale, in November 2002."

He went on, "it was after I had done the Silurian Way walk through the Forest, with Uncle Eric." Then pointing, "this is what the green bands on these marker posts indicate."

Now Tetley piped up, "that was when there was just Shaun and I in our club. The route included climbing Carron Crag too."

"And that's why you are having to take us again today Dad, so that Little Eric, Allen and I can tick it off from our Outlyer catch-up list", said Grizzly. "I will also finally catch up with Shaun and Tetley, on the Birkett Fells."

The forest road wound on ahead beside cleared ground, eventually bending left as it reached the trees again. "To get to Carron Crag, we take that narrow path with a green banded marker post climbing away right". pointed Shaun.

This led through the trees, and up to the rocky summit of Carron Crag with its prominent trig point.

Here Dad paused. "I am going to ring Uncle Brian, to check he is OK.

During the conversation it started to rain, and telling Uncle Brian this they ended the call. Dad's intention now was to take our picture sitting on the trig point.

"The sky looks heavy with rain", said Little Eric."

He was so right, as the heavens opened. We quickly dived inside the rucksack to keep dry. Dad sought shelter as best he could under the trees, but even so he was drenched, as the rain absolutely poured down for 20 minutes.

"Oh dear", said Allen miserably, "we really feel for you Dad."

After it had passed over, Dad climbed to the summit, and we sat on the trig point to mark us all having climb this fell.

There are many interesting things to do and see in this park, including the amazing sculptures, one of which we could see from the summit. Grizzly told us, "it is called 17 Degrees South and was created by Linda Watson in 1997. So named because it is 17 degrees from the vertical leaning towards the south."

"Ok lads, I am soaked enough, so let's head off in case there is more rain."

However it did not materialise. As we said earlier the forecast was back to front. It was a dry walk back, retracing the outwards route. Underfoot the paths had become unsurprisingly running streams.

He then went to Jane & Sam's (Hat Trick Cafe) and had gorgeous piping hot vegetable soup and then blackcurrant and apple crumble with cream. "Nothing more than you deserve", said Tetley, "after the soaking you endured."

Now, for the purposes of continuing our account, we need readers to ignore the last paragraph, and imagine us at the crossroad of paths once again. We also need Doctor Who's Tardis, to transport us back to December 2008, and our walk with Uncle Eric.

We are at the fork and Little Eric asked, "what is our route, Shaun?"

"Go right signed to Parkamoor."

The walk instructions then indicated that after a while another path to the right had to be taken. It is unsigned and easy to miss, so we kept our eyes peeled, and after a little while Tetley called out, "there."

It entered the trees and wound its way down to Lawson Park. This former farmhouse was at the time being converted into the new headquarters Grizedale Arts. (www.lawsonpark.org)

Grizzly said, "in his book 'The Plague Dogs', Richard Adams based his research establishment (Animal Research, Scientific & Experimental) from which the two dogs Rowf and Snitter escape after being horribly mistreated, on Lawson Park. Richard Adam's is perhaps more famous for his novel Watership Down."

The garden and grounds were undergoing renovation. Here is the Market Garden, lying dormant under its coating of frost, but looking neat and tidy, ready to wake up in the spring.

"That's unusual", pointed Little Eric. "A swan sculpture maybe?"

Rounding the building, the path took us through the trees of Machell Coppice, and so down to the road that runs along the east side of Coniston Water.

Shaun instructed, "it's left past Bailiff Wood and then on to Dodgson Wood car park."

Here we stopped to have a chocolate bar and drink. As we sat we saw one of many robins today.

"Now our way is that good path from the back of the car park", called out Tetley.

It wound through the oak woodland, and came to a barn owned by the National Trust. Beyond this, the path went left by a wall, to a stile which we climbed. Now following white topped markers we climbed gently as the path zigzagged through the trees. Eventually we reached a stile on the left. "We cross that", said Shaun.

This took us out of the woodland and along a narrow track with a wall to the left. Some way along this a beck crosses the path. The wall stops on either side, but the gap has been bridged by horizontal stone slabs, to prevent sheep straying into the gill beyond.

We were intrigued by this. "Come on" called out Allen, "let's sit on the slabs."

Safely tucked up again, Dad and Uncle Eric walked on, the track soon joining the path at Low Parkamoor. From here there was a section of open fell. Although the day had started sunny and clear, by now the cloud had rolled in, making it a cold bleak day, and denying us what should have been a terrific view of the surrounding fells. The path eventually entered forest and it was quite oppressive at times walking along. You can almost feel the cold oozing out of this wintry scene.

There were plenty of mountain bikers about on this section too. This is another of the popular pastimes in Grizedale Forest.

Eventually we came to a narrow signed path on the left. "That's our route", said Shaun.

This descended to join the path we had walked earlier, leading us Lawson Park. "Now we take that good path right", called out Shaun.

This descended steadily passing above the grounds of Brantwood, once the home of the poet John Ruskin, and on down to the road.

Looking up from the map, Tetley said, "turn left and after Black Beck Cottage, take the footpath right."

This led over pastures to Tent Lodge, where the road was joined once again, for the short walk to the cars.

"That was a most interesting walk", commented Grizzly.

"And we have explored more of the many tracks and paths within the forest", added Little Eric.

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