Date - 23rd March 2010 Distance - 7.5 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL6
Start point - The Square, Broughton in Furness (SD 213876)



"The weather was rotten on Sunday so it was as well we did not go walking", said Grizzly.

"Yes, and in any case Dad and Uncle Brian were at another concert on Saturday night, so Dad was glad of the rest", replied Tetley.

"Our pals Wayne and Crumble are in seventh heaven though, as they seem to be at a concert every other week, sometimes even more frequently", said Grizzly.

Allen chimed up, "especially the series in Manchester where the Halle and BBC Philharmonic are performing all Gustav Mahler's 10 symphonies. Mahler is Wayne's favourite composer."

"Your are right", replied Tetley, "but I think all those drives to Manchester are beginning to take their toll on Dad, and don't forget that there are the trips to the Royal Exchange theatre in Manchester too, where our pals Rex and Starbuck go along. So maybe he should opt for a rest this week."

Just then Shaun trotted in with Little Eric riding on his back as usual.

"I caught those last comments, and I can't say that I disagree, but I have come to tell you that we will be walking tomorrow. Dad has just got off the phone with Uncle Eric. We are to walk in the Dunnerdale valley starting from Broughton in Furness."

"We have done a few walks from there before, Shaun", replied Tetley. "It is a lovely area, so it should be a nice day out."


The Walk

It had been agreed to start walking about 10:00, so we did not have to set off too early, although it was as well that Dad allowed a longer than usual to get to Broughton, as some unexpected road works meant he had to make a detour. We were not late and while Dad and Uncle Eric got ready, we settled in the rucksack.

The walk had been published in the Westmorland Gazette, and it was to be quite delightful through the pretty countryside. After the severe winter is was nice to have warmer weather and for the most part it was bright with some sunshine. The cool wind at times however reminded us that we are perhaps not completely out of the woods yet.

As we waited, Shaun called out, "look there's The Square Cafe."

"Oh yes. Dad has made a few visits there in the past, and I bet he and Uncle Eric will be going there after the walk today", said Grizzly

"I am sure of that, and it's Dad's treat today too", added Allen.

So finally ready, Shaun said, "we cross the square and walk up New Street at the side of the cafe. After the bend we will come to a gate that we take into open pasture, called West Park."

Keeping to the centre we walked on ahead, before rounding a pond completely overgrown and choked with bulrushes. A metal fence lay beyond and this we climbed with care using an old metal ladderstile.

Grizzly said, "beyond is an area called East Park. This and West Park that we are walking over, are part of the grounds surrounding Broughton Tower, the rear of which we can see along that track to the right."

He went on, "I have done some research. The spacious mansion is built round a pele tower that was built by the Broughtons in 1322. The Earls of Derby held it until 1651, and then by the Sawrey family and others who took the Sawrey name until 1920. I think the pele tower is in the centre being visible up to a height of about 60ft. The basement is tunnel-vaulted and there is a spiral staircase. The Gilpin Sawreys built the house in the 18th century and wings were added in a similar style in 1882-3. It later became Broughton Tower Residential Special School for delicate children, the registers of which exist from 1947-98. Now it is divided into apartments, the owners of which can enjoy the grounds. Footpaths on the estate, some of which we were using today, were created in the 1990s after evidence of public use was gathered. It seems that they had been omitted when the definitive map was drawn."

Turning our backs to the building we proceeded left towards some white gates, but well before reaching them, the path went right over more pasture, crossing a stream and so to the road via a stone step stile. There were to be quite a number of stiles and we regretted not keeping count.

"Through the stile immediately opposite", advised Shaun.

The path took us over a number of pastures surmounting the walls by a few different kinds of stiles, the last one bringing us to the access track of Hagg Farm.

"Where to now?, asked Allen.

"We are going to Broughton Mills, which I guess is on ahead in the same direction", replied Grizzly.

"Look, over by the hedge there is a signpost", called out Little Eric.

"It is not very tall, so must have been put there for bears", said Shaun peering to read it. He went on, "it points to Broughton Mills, so you were right Grizzly!"

Beyond the hedge was a stream that tumbled over a small waterfall to the left. A gate barred the way into the next field, so Uncle Eric had to stand in the stream to open it so we could continue.

Crossing the field ahead, the path soon became very muddy as it descended through trees and into another large pasture. Descending this we walked on through the wall gap by a huge ash tree, then over the next pasture. In this, and other pastures, were many of our beloved Herdwick sheep.

"That one is posing for you, Dad", said Tetley.

"What no complaints, Allen", enquired Little Eric.

"I don't mind pictures of Herdwicks. They are our very favourite sheep and synonymous with the Lake District."

At the far side of this pasture a gate gave access onto a rough track edged with stone flags.

"The wild garlic is just beginning to show, so spring is on its way", commented Grizzly. "It will make a lovely sight in May when fully in bloom."

As the track curved round, part of a tree had split from the main trunk forming a bridge and making for a nice shot.

At the end of the track, at area according to the map called Hartley Ground, we joined the road.

"Turn left and cross the bridge over the River Lickle, which lends its name to this valley", instructed Shaun.

After a few hundred yards a signpost directed us right up the valley. The route took us over a number of fields, climbing more stiles to surmount the walls and crossing Stickletongue Beck.

"This beck is less than a mile in length from its source on the slopes of Great Stickle to its confluence with the River Lickle", commented Grizzly.

The path meandered, and for part of its route was near to the River Lickle, including this point where it passed over a wide shelf of rock. "It is low as a result of the quite prolonged dry spell, but I could imagine this scene would be quite dramatic, when it is in spate", said Tetley.

Soon we finally reached Broughton Mills, climbing yet another stile to the road by the bridge over the river. This is the boundary between the parishes of Broughton and Dunnerdale, marked by a stone, seen here with an inquisitive cat.

"Where to now, Uncle Eric?", asked Little Eric.

"From the stile we go left up the road to Green Bank."

There Shaun said, "we follow the signposted track."

This wound its way up beside Penny Crag Wood. As we cleared the trees, the view opened up to the right.

"Super view", called out Allen. "The Knott is the dominant hill on the right, the distant cairned top above Scrithwaite Farm being Raven Crag. We walked this ridge last April with you Uncle Eric, as part of a round including Great Stickle & Stickle Pike."

Another feature attracted us as we walked up from the wood, this being a strategically placed picnic table, with a fine view south over the Duddon Estuary.

"Just the place to stop for lunch", said Uncle Eric.

"Quite", agreed Allen, as he slipped his rucksack off.

We sat enjoying the view while we ate our sandwiches, Tetley saying, "before we set off will you take our picture sitting on the table, please Dad. After all we have to make at least one appearance in every story."

This was too, where we met the only other walkers today. They were a couple who were following a walk from a guide book, but had become unsure where they should go next. Uncle Eric and Dad were soon able to indicate the route they should follow.

After they had gone, Dad said, "whilst their walk book looked to have detailed instructions, I would never walk without having the Ordnance Survey map for definitive reference."

For the next part we were on the same path we had walked when we had climbed The Knott. It is a fine grassy track, almost of lawn quality. Here is a view looking back to the picnic spot.

The path climbed to pass through a gate, and then alongside a wall with fine views of Great Stickle towering up to the right. "I can see the steep path we took on the way up the its summit last April", said Shaun. "It was extremely windy that day and we had to shelter in the lee of the cairn for our picture. Sitting on the trig point was out of the question!"

"We think it is worth getting the camera out again", said Allen.

"You're right", replied Uncle Eric. "I can definitely feel a picture coming on."

At a gate, Shaun said, "we go left along that track towards Pickthall Ground."

The path led to a gate into a cluster of buildings. Tetley said, "the walk directions are a little difficult to follow here, so good job we have our trusty map."

By chance the lady who lives at Pickthall Ground happened to be there and said, "I was confused too when reading the directions in the paper."

We were eventually to go down the access track, but first we were taking a spur off along the path signed to High Whineray.

There were sheep here, Little Eric saying, "that one has a really large pair of horns."

The reason for the diversion was to view the medieval causeway over the extensive bog, beneath Potherilt Hill.

It is overgrown, but some stones show through that maybe were laid centuries ago. Grizzly said, "I could not find any information about this on the Internet. Obviously it was laid for safe passage over the bog, but by who and on who's orders is lost in the mists of time."

Retracing our steps to Pickthall, we then followed the access track to the road. "Now turn right and descend past Wood House to a junction of roads at Croglinhurst, where we should keep on ahead to Middle Bleansley", advised Shaun.

To the left and high above the opposite side of the valley stands Hagg Farm. "That's our next objective", called out Shaun.

So, taking the path left we crossed the River Lickle by the footbridge, and climbed steeply to the farm.

"That old tractor tyre on the verge planted with daffodils makes a pretty spring display", said Allen.

Beyond we reached the stile, on the right that we had crossed earlier in the walk, near the low signpost.

"Climb the stile and then retrace our outward route to Broughton", said Shaun.

"What a lovely walk through beautiful scenery", said Little Eric.

"So peaceful too", added Grizzly. .

We hopped out and settled in the car, while Uncle Eric and Dad duly went to The Square Cafe for refreshment.

They had tea and Dad enjoyed a lovely scone with butter and jam, while Uncle Eric had crumpets.

On the latter part of the walk Dad had pointed out that the sky was clouding over and indeed while they were in the cafe it came on to rain, so we got back just in time.


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