RATHERHEATH, STAVELEY & COWAN HEAD

 


Summary

Date - 9th May 2018 Distance - 6.5 miles
Ascent -
900ft
Map - OL7 Start point - Loop by A591 at Ashes Lane (SD 4863 9626)

 

Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk

 

Preface

Southey was staring out of the window looking glum.

"What's the matter pal?", Tetley asked looking up from reading his Dalesman magazine. "Surely it can't be about walking, as we had a good day with Dad, only yesterday."

"Yes of course, but I love to walk with Uncle Eric, and the last time we had to cancel because of the weather."

Allen by now had the iPad in paw. "We have a day down to walk with him on Wednesday." Then after a few more taps with his paw, "and the weather looks to be dry, if rather cloudy."

"Oh that's made me feel much better", replied Southey as a smile crossed his face.

"And even more so I guess", announced Shaun, as he with Grizzly and Little Eric arrived with the tea and cakes.

"Super", exclaimed Allen.

He and Tetley went to get the plates and mugs, then Southey helped Shaun pour the tea.

"Thanks pal."

"It's scone day", said Grizzly. "Little Eric has made fruit, and I have done cherry & ginger. Of course there is butter and raspberry jam."

We all tucked in.

"Both are delicious", said Tetley.

"Absolutely", agreed Southey.

For once we did not discuss where we might be walking, rather leaving it to Dad and Uncle Eric, so that it would be a surprise.

When Dad told us, after talking to Uncle Eric, Southey said, "sounds lovely. It is an area that I have not walked."

Tetley said, " some of us have been on parts of this before, but there are new sections, so that will be nice."

 

The Walk

The plan was to meet Uncle Eric at the start.

As Dad drove along the Kendal link road from the M6, Southey asked, "where exactly is the start point."

Tetley was quick to answer. "beyond the end of the link road, just after a short section of dual carriageway, there is a loop, that was once the main road, giving access to Ashes Lane. We will park along there past Ashes Lane."

For once we were there first, but soon Uncle Eric arrived, and we called out, "good morning."

"Hello lads, nice to see you."

Soon they were ready, and quickly we got settled in the rucksack.

Just a few yards from the cars our route was the footpath though the woods that led over a small bridge.

Being May it was bluebell time. "Wow, what a super sight they are, over there", remarked Little Eric.

"They will be in bloom at Oxenber Wood at Feizor", commented Allen. "Brings in lots of walkers to see them, and boosts sales at Elaine's too."

Onwards the path came to Ashes Lane. "We cross and go through the gate on the far side", instructed Shaun.

The path then soon brought us by pretty Ratherheath Tarn. A preserve of a local angling association.

"What a lovely tranquil scene", said Grizzly

A waymark directed us right to cross a stile, to then head half left, where gorse was in bloom.

More waymarks directed us across the pasture to Ratherheath Lane, including this sized for us.

"It's right to the Crook Road", said Shaun. Then right for 250 yards to a track signed Ashes Lane.

The wide track was muddy and led through a gateway and then on to cross two wall stiles, passing at one point this shapely tree, that was just about to burst into leaf.

After the second stile, Shaun said, "the instructions state we go left, and then right past that old ash tree."

Beyond the path was clear passing through more gorse bushes in full bloom.

This took us over Knott Hill and down to a gate. After keeping close to the fence and wall on the right, we strolled on to Ashes Coppice.

Rounding the boundary, a ladderstile took us into the coppice. Here there was more bluebells to see. "Beautiful", said Grizzly.

A wall stile allowed exit from the coppice and then on, to go a little right to cross a track and on to pass though a kissing gate in the right corner, with the lovely cluster of buildings of Ashes away to the left.

Very soon we arrived at this four-armed signpost.

"Which way now?", asked Southey.

"Well lad, you look at the map and tell us, based on the walk instructions", said Shaun. "It will be good practice."

"Hmm", he said. "We have come from the Ashes Coppice direction, and we should go as signed to Staveley."

"That's spot on pal", said Tetley. "Well done."

"I'm getting there, but still not as good as the rest of you."

"Well we have been walking a lot longer", replied Allen.

The path led us round a wall corner and over a stile, to then cross the pasture to the right of a large tree and then by the wall on the right to the A591.

"We take that stile on the far side", said Shaun.

It was then along by a wall to cross this tiny stream...

...and pass under the railway...

...and so the Kendal Road in Staveley.

"We should go right now", advised Shaun.

"I would like to have a look at the new Gowan Bridge, that has been built to replace the original destroyed in December 2015 during Storm Desmond", said Uncle Eric.

"A good idea", agreed Tetley. "Let's go."

It was not far, and here is the new structure which we trust will be standing for many years to come. It was opened in May 2017, and meant that Staveley was once again accessible from the south. A relief to residents and traders alike.

Unlike the old bridge that had pier standing in the river to support the a double arch that we guess must have been weakened during the storm, the new bridge spans the river completely.

Returned to our route passing a seat. "Will you take our picture, please Dad?", asked Little Eric. "After all we have to appear at least once in each story.

"Of course", laughed Dad and once we were settled he lined up the camera.

Striding on we soon took the track off to the left signed Dales Way.

"In about 150 yards, we leave the Dales Way going right on a narrow path between walls", advised Shaun.

This ended at a wall stile. Now it was on ahead, but drifting a bit right to take a gated track by the wood to Cragg Farm, set in its nice grounds.

Took the gate to the right of the buildings and crossed their lane and then across the lawn to a wall stile.

Here the walk description was a bit vague. It told us to follow an unclear path. We thought we had got on the correct one, but this brought us to a wall. We wandered up and down a bit but it was clear there was no way over.

"Stating the obvious, we are not on the right route, said Tetley."

"Quite", agreed Grizzly. "Perhaps it would be best to return to the stile and take stock from there."

Initially we had gone down to the the right of some fenced woodland. Now instead we crossed the pasture to the left of the wood, to see the gated stile mentioned in the instructions.

"That's a relief", said Allen.

Beyond it was across the large pasture down to a stile into the tarmac drive of the apartments at Cowan Head. Walked through and out along the drive to Winter Lane.

"It's over that stile opposite", said Shaun. "Then we should bear right over the field."

"Aww just look at that little calf with its mother", said Southey.

The field path led to a stone step stile, by which was this tree stump adorned with fungi.

Beyond the path led on to come to the walled farmyard of Bowston Farm and so through a gate going right to cross the railway and follow the track past houses to the A591.

Crossed the road carefully and over the stile opposite walked down to the road where the cars were parked and where bluebells were growing on the verge.

"What a lovely walk", said Southey. "I so enjoy exploring new areas. Thank you to all for doing some of it again."

"You're welcome pal", replied Allen.

Now Uncle Eric and Dad drove to the 2 Sisters Cafe at Plumgarths for lunch. Dad had an open tuna mayo sandwich and Uncle Eric a ciabatta. Tea to drink for Dad and hot chocolate for Uncle Eric. Then Dad was a bit piggish and had a piece of orange chocolate tiffin that sounded and was scrumptious! Well he deserved it!

We sat in the car to have our picnic lunch. Lovely sandwiches, then chocolate caramel shortbread and mincemeat slice. Warming mugs of tea too.

Suddenly Allen exclaimed, "no sheep!"

"What?", said Little Eric.

"Dad did not take any pictures of sheep, so I will get a sheep picture free story. Yippee."

We all rolled about laughing. "You and your sheep pictures", said Tetley.

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