WINSTER VALLEY & BARKBOOTH LOT NATURE RESERVE

 


Summary

Date - 4th April 2017 Distance - 7 miles
Ascent -
1080ft
Map - OL7 Start point - Layby beside A5074 (SD 4227 9261)

 

Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk

 

Preface

It was Monday and all was quiet. Dad and Uncle Brian were at Elaine's at Feizor as usual. Some of our pals, Pepsi, Ruswarp and Tristan had gone along too.

Southey was reading his Lake District magazine , while Tetley was deeply engrossed in his latest edition of the Dalesman.

They both looked up when with iPad in paw, Allen said, "we have a walk pencilled in with Uncle Eric for tomorrow"

"What are the weather prospects?", asked Tetley.

"A sunny day with light winds", he replied.

"That's good news then", replied Southey.

Glancing at the doorway, Allen called out "tea!", seeing Shaun, Grizzly and Little Eric.

"I'll get the mugs and plates", volunteered Southey.

"And I'll lend a paw filling the mugs Shaun", said Tetley.

"Thanks pal."

"What's the cake?", asked Allen.

Grizzly has made chocolate caramel shortbread, while I have done cherry and ginger scones and there is butter and raspberry jam to go with them", replied Little Eric.

"Ooh my very favourites", enthused Allen.

"And mine too", agreed Tetley.

So soon we were all content with steaming mugs in paw and cake and scone on the plates.

"Mmm the scones are yummy", said Shaun.

"As is the caramel shortbread", added Southey with a look of delight on his face.

Tetley then brought the thoughts back to walks. "Have we any ideas about where we might go tomorrow?"

"Well pal", replied Shaun, "frankly no. So I guess we will have to rely on Uncle Eric."

"There have been a few good walks from the Westmorland Gazette recently, so maybe we will be doing one of those?", mused Grizzly.

"We'll just have to wait until Dad speaks to him tonight", said Little Eric, bringing the conversation to an end.


Soon after 19:00 Dad came to see us. "I have talked to Uncle Eric, and the walk is on for tomorrow. We are doing one recently published in the Westmorland Gazette, in the Winster Valley."

"That's a lovely area", said Tetley.

"Can't wait", added Allen.

 

The Walk

Although Dad and Uncle Eric were not taking a picnic, we were up early to pack ours to have after the walk. So at least today then Allen did not have to carry it in his rucksack.

The day was sunny throughout and after a cool start quite warm with light winds.

"How do we get to the start", asked Southey, as Dad pulled out of the drive.

"Up the M6 to junction 36, then taking then along towards Kendal, but taking the A590 turn off", said Shaun. "Then soon we take the A5074 through the Lyth Valley eventually to the lay-by on the left adjacent to the start path"

Through the Lyth Valley, Southey said, "how lovely the countryside is."

"This area is famous for damsons and in a couple of weeks the trees will be ablaze with blossom and wonderful sight", said Grizzly..

We got to the start first, so Dad got his boots on so not to delay setting off.

As Uncle Eric arrived we called out a cheery "good morning."

"Nice to see you lads", he replied.

So ready for the off, the start was signed at the south end of the lay-by...

...and through a gate that Uncle Eric kindly held open for us.

Through this the path was muddy as it descended and then up over a slight rise to the valley bottom, crossing a stream in the process. Here it climbed steadily to a gate, with on the left a stile into a field.

"We will cross that stile on our return route", said Shaun.

To the right was Hawkearth Bank, with the gorse in bloom.

Keeping on by the woodland on the left, the path descended again to the road at Birks Bridge.

Sheep were grazing in the final field, Southey whispering, "there must be a picture here Dad. That group are posing for you."

"Oh no", cried Allen trying to frighten them off, but to no avail. "There goes my hope for a sheep picture free story once again."

"We turn left", said Shaun.

A short distance brought us to Birks Bridge. This is a footbridge beside a ford that as can be seen was quite shallow today.

"We do not cross the bridge, rather keep on along the road", said Uncle Eric. Then reading from the instructions went on, "to then take the track right signed The Wood Farm."

"Seems a bit pompous ", remarked Southey.

Keeping our eyes peeled it was Grizzly that called out, "there's the sign."

Reaching the farm, Southey asked, "where now?"

"To the left of that barn, then after the short walled track, into fields via a gate", replied Uncle Eric.

On this section there were more muddy areas that was the main feature of conditions underfoot today.

Crossing a small stream...

...the path led to the side of a wood and into a walled track, and then finally down to a narrow road.

"It's left here", said Uncle Eric.

We had seen no other walkers and in the quiet of the countryside the bird song was delightful. Hearing some here, Tetley looked up, whispering "that's a blue tit.

"What a beautiful song", said Southey.

The road climbed steeply to pass a road off left. We then took the next right until shortly opposite the access to Barkbooth Farm.

"Right lads", said Uncle Eric, "this is where we enter Barkbooth Lot Nature Reserve, which is owned by the Cumbria Wildlife Trust."

Through gates on the left the reserve was entered. Trying to orientate ourselves, we paused to survey the terrain. "There seems to be a sort of path rising to the right", said Tetley.

"OK", agreed Dad, "let's give it a try."

At the top we came to a wider path leading left. "This would seem to the the right route and should take us past the pool", said Uncle Eric.

As it undulated, Dad suddenly pointed, "look there are two deer."

The path led on to a gate into Low Fell Plantation, part too of the nature reserve. Here there was an information board and leaflets, which Dad and Uncle Eric took.

Opening it there was a map, and we could see now exactly where we were.

So turning right, in a few steps the tall gate into the plantation was reached. From here we followed the waymarked circular route that meandered up and down, through this charming predominately oak woodland, with alder in the wetter areas.

So so quiet and peaceful with just the sound of the birds singing. So calming.

Dad commented, "some year we must come back here in May as the bluebells and wild garlic will be a sight to behold."

Reaching the bottom we came beside Arndale Beck, and a seat provided a perfect place Dad to take our picture.

"Thanks Dad", said Tetley, as we scrambled back into the rucksack.

The path meandered on, to return to the tall gate, and exit to the information board, continuing past to soon reach the road, where there is a small car park for visitors.

"We go left", said Uncle Eric.

This led downhill to the signed entrance to Lambhowe Plantation.

Setting off this morning, Dad had been wearing his woolly hat, but he had slipped it into the waist strap of his rucksack, as the day warmed up. While taking our picture it fell to the floor and had not noticed leaving it behind.

At this point Dad now realised what had happened.

"It was knitted specially for you by Auntie Kim", said Southey. "You'll have to go back for it."

"Absolutely", agreed Dad, heading back up the road, while Uncle Eric walked slowly on.

Despite Uncle Eric saying not to hurry, Dad walked as fast as possible and reaching the seat thankfully, there it was.

"Make sure you put it in the rucksack", commanded Tetley.

"Yes lad."

Then returning to the entrance to Lambhowe, Dad noted the additional mileage. "1.4 miles", he said.

"Further than I would have thought", commented Allen.

Walked up through Lambhowe to a kissing gate, where just beyond we found Uncle Eric was sitting on a fallen tree. He commented, "this would have be a great place to sit if we had brought a picnic."

So strolling on through more glorious woodland, the path finally brought us to a gate into a field, with this charming view across to Hubbersty Head.

On the far side stands the lovely dwelling of Lamb Howe...

...that we skirted to the right. Crossing the access road, then took the track climbing left to a gate into a field. On the far side, a ladderstile gave access to a wide walled/fenced path overshadowed by woodland.

A wicket gate on the right led out into a field, and here it was left by the wood to the corner and the stile...

...over which we rejoined our outward route, turning right to the start.

"That was a lovely lovely walk", called out Southey. "Thank you for suggesting it Uncle Eric."

"You were right Tetley", went on Little Eric, "it is a beautiful valley.

"Time for refreshment?" said Tetley.

"Yes pal we are going to the Olive Tree at Milnthorpe", replied Dad.

While we sat in the car having our picnic, Dad enjoyed a chicken and bacon pannini, while Uncle Eric had a toasted teacake, and of course a big pot of tea!

A grand day.

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