A Circuit from Beetham.

Start. Heron Corn Mill.

Route. Heron Corn Mill - Beetham - Beetham Hall - Beetham Park - Marble Quarry - Slack Head - Leighton Beck Bridge - East Coppice - Gait Barrows - Hawes Water - Challan Hall - Waterslack - Eaves Wood - King William's Hill - Castlebarrow - Holgates - Far Arnside - Arnside Park - Park Point - Arnside Point - New Barns Caravan Park - New Barns - Arnside - Arnside Railway Station - Arnside/Hincaster Railway - Sandside - Back Lane - Park Road - Dallam Park - Heron Corn Mill.

Notes. This walk was completely off the cuff, unplanned, I expected the heavy rain of yesterday to continue, when the sun started peering through the trees at the top of my garden I threw some gear in my bag, grabbed my walking boots and camera then pointed the car south. A few miles later I pulled into the Heron Corn Mill car park, now where to walk.

I still had no idea when I started walking, it seemed I was heading down the access road into Beetham. Through the village I wandered, passed St Michael’s Church and the Wheatsheaf Inn, passed grey limestone cottages with cobbled forecourts. At the road junction I turned left, walked to a finger-post on the right promising passage to Hale, Hale it was then, as I traversed the large field I formulated a plan. The field path that now guided me lead to another path cutting behind the 13th century tower house of Beetham Hall, this in turn deposited me at another finger-post. I’d already decided to head to Slack Head via the Marble Quarry, yellow arrows now guide me along woodland paths, over moss coated limestone scars then across the clints and grikes of the Marble Quarry. When I exited the woods it was a few yards from Slack Head.

Almost a mile of tarmac walking followed, passed the plush houses of Slack Head, passed the entrance to Dollywood Lane (a track I've followed many times), then down hill to Leighton Beck Bridge. Directly across the road a narrow stile and finger-post greeted me, this path I followed, up hill through sheep pastures yellow arrows and posts kept me on track, at the top of the final field a stile allowed access to Gait Barrows. Over rough pastures I walked, through mixed woodland soon stepping into the fields above Hawes Water. After descending to the lake I turned north, wandered round the lake, passed behind Challan Hall then climbed the field to reach a narrow stile and finger-post, a promise to guide me to Waterslack and Eaves Wood. The path descended through small fields before crossing the railway line to access Waterslack, after wandering through this quaint hamlet a stile greeted me allowing admittance to Eaves Wood.

Once in Eaves Wood way marked paths guided me over King William’s Hill to Castlebarrow and the Pepper Pot, a good spot for a quick brew. It was while swallowing my second cup of coffee I realised the sun was low in the sky, the penny dropped, we’re on GMT, the clocks altered last weekend leaving me with less daylight, a late start hadn't helped, time to get a wiggle on or I’d be wandering back in the dark.

From Castlebarrow I wandered north-west a dry stone wall ushered me to a stile, I passed through said stile entering Holgates, south between static caravans I walked to access a field path leading to Far Arnside and the a stunning stretch of coast. Cliff top paths then guided me along the ragged edge where Arnside Park meets the shifting sands of Morecambe Bay, round Park Point and Arnside Point I wandered, the path ejected me into New Barns Caravan Park. Again I wandered between static caravans, once at New Barns Bay it was a short but extremely muddy walk up the estuary to Arnside.

Arnside was quite busy, I shunned the people escaping the crowds at Arnside Railway Station, after crossing the footbridge I joined the track bed of the Hincaster/Arnside Railway, now an excellent footpath. By now I was running on empty, aching legs and feet talked to me, demanding I rested, pointing out the obvious, I'd walked far enough, the lack of food was taking it’s toll, I shouldn't have been so hasty to escape Arnside. The light was fading as I followed the railway path to Sandside, car headlights shone as I wandered along the seafront, after passing the Ship Inn I cut through a gunnel onto a narrow tarmac road, far safer to go this way than wander along the main road. Now normally at the junction of this road and the main road I’d continue following the railway path to the banks of the River Bela, with my body hot and clammy, my legs seriously objecting, my feet aching, I decided to follow the pavement along the main road to Dallam Park.

A long third of a mile followed before reaching Milnthorpe Bridge and the entrance to the deer park, the end was in sight, just two low hills to climb and I’d be back. With daylight fading fast, (the pictures don’t show how dark it was, the camera allows for the available light, you wouldn't believe how many blurred photos I took), I skirted the first hill, passed the Deer House then slowly climbed the next, on cresting the hill the Heron Corn Mill tilted into view, as the sun dipped under the horizon I slipped, tripped and stumbled my way through the final field, reaching the car as the cool arms of early evening wrapped themselves around the land bordering the river, a small shiver passed through my body as I stepped into the car.

Even if walking through soft ground most of the way had took it's toll towards the end, this had been a cracking good walk, taking in everything, plus a bit more this amazing area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has to offer. I know one thing my bloody legs will be aching tomorrow, worth while pain, a small price to pay for a stunning afternoon.

view route map.

home.

The remains of medieval Beetham Hall backed by Scout Hill with the slopes of Farleton Fell dropping in from the right.

Looking to Farleton Fell from cow pastures above Beetham Hall.

En route through Beetham Park.

The clints and grikes of the Slack Head Marble Quarry.

Views over the valley of Leighton Beck.

Sylvan Beetham Fell seen from field paths above the valley of Leighton Beck.

Enjoying woodland scenery on the short walk through East Coppice.

Nestled in a natural cradle, surrounded by woodland and pastures, Hawes Water.

Gait Barrows dressed in Autumns golden gown.

Rising from the shore of Hawes Water the woodland of West Coppice.

Near Challan Hall drinking in views over Hawes Water.

The Beech Circle in Eaves Wood.

On woodland paths in Eaves Wood enjoying stunning conditions.

Drinking coffee on Castlebarrow, soaking up spectacular views over Silverdale....

....to the west over the tree tops of Arnside Park, Morecambe Bay and the dark finger of Humphrey Head.

Silver light on the ebbing waters of Morecambe Bay.

In my book this is the finest stretch of coastal path in the north-west of England, looking to Silverdale and Know End Point from the cliff top path near Far Arnside.

Hampsfell across Morecambe Bay.

Near Arnside Point taking in views over White Creek to the Newton Fells and the limestone cliffs of Meathop Fell.

Sylvan Arnside Knott as seen from New Barns.

Silhouetted against a low sun Arnside Knott.

Lit by a low early evening sun the Kent Estuary at Sandside.

Just visible in fading light, over the silver ribbon of the River Bela Milnthorpe Bridge.

Capturing the last rays of the sunlight, Farleton Fell.

Nearly back, the car parks at the far end of this avenue of trees.

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