A Circuit from Milnthorpe including Beetham Fell, Hazelslack and Arnside Moss.

Start. Milnthorpe.

Route. Milnthorpe - Old Bridge - Dallam Park - Heron Corn Mill - Beetham - Beetham Fell - Whin Scar - Fairy Steps - Underlaid Wood - Hazelslack - Arnside Moss - Arnside/Hincaster Railway - Sandside - Milnthorpe Bridge - Dallam Park - Old Bridge - Milnthorpe.

Notes. Two days rambling through the limestone Dales in stunning Spring weather had left me on a high, with only the morning spare today I opted for a short walk from Milnthorpe. Just ten minutes down the road, less time spent traveling meant more time walking. I was strolling over familiar ground so took the opportunity to take in some of the historic features littering the landscape in these parts.

After parking in Milnthorpe, Old Bridge guided me over the River Bela into Dallam Park. Built in 1763 this quaint twin arched bridge carried the road to Sandside until 1813, the route roughly followed the public foot-path to Dallam Tower then over the hill to the port at Sandside. With the first historic feature ticked off I strolled south, waymarked paths under foot, over the lower slopes of Castle Hill I walked, the site of a motte-and-bailey castle dating to around the 11th century, No2 off the list. I continued into a hollow, looking to my left tick No3 the 19th century deer house. After ascending the next hill a ha-ha greeted me, a Victorian method of walling without ruining the expanse of parkland, No4, I then descended to Beetham.

Once at the Heron Corn Mill (not on my tick list today although a mill has stood on this site since 1096), a bridleway runs west between hedge rows and dry stone walls, this guided me to a tarmac lane, I turned left then wandered towards Beetham. Next to the first house on the right a finger-post invited me to the Fairy Steps, after squeezing through a narrow stile I headed up the field. The path a lovely green trod guided me into the woods on Beetham Fell, yellow arrows kept me on route, after passing a ruined cottage the path joined a narrow track. Still guided by yellow arrows I traversed the fell, the track terminated abruptly at the Whin Scar cliffs. Folk law tells us before Arnside acquired consecrated ground the dead were carried in their coffins along the Arnside/Beetham corps road, hauled up the cliff face with ropes before traversing Beetham Fell for internment at Beetham.

The corps road, tick No5 then guided me to Hazelslack, home to tick No6, a farm, and ruinous pele tower dating back to the late 14th century. This formidable structure was originally divided into a south and north halves, the north half having a tunnel-vaulted ground room. From the tower my route passed through two small fields, crossed a narrow lane to access Arnside Moss. I continued towards Arnside, a bit damp under foot but not a problem, just before reaching a narrow bridge spanning a drainage ditch a finger post invited me to Milnthorpe Road. This path ushered me through long narrow fields, hemmed in on two sides by high reed beds, it soon swung left depositing me on the busy road opposite a disabled car park.

Behind the car park the embankment that once carried the track off the Arnside/Hincaster railway, tick No7. Primary used as a mineral line carrying coke and iron ore from County Durham to the iron works of Barrow and the Cumberland (Cumbria) coast. Opened in 1876, until 1942 it also carried passengers between Grange-over-Sands and Kendal, in 1966 the Beechin axe fell, the track bed was lifted leaving a short stretch of line to the quarries at Sandside, this closed in 1972.

Over the old track bed I wandered, Sandside was my next port of call, forgive the pun. This stretch of coast was once the Port of Milnthorpe, tick No8, flat bottomed boats would dock at high water, unload their cargo of coal and guano (seabird and bat excrement used for fertiliser), it was then transported by horse drawn carts to Milnthorpe. The custom house was at Sandside and still exists today, Crown Cottage dating back to 1728, the port stretched from the cottage to the point near the business park. The building of the Kent Viaduct at Arnside in 1857 resulted in the estuary silting up forcing the port to close. I ticked it off my list then wandered on entering Dallam Park via a stretch of the old track bed that once lead to a viaduct spanning the River Bela. The river then guided me passed the single arch of Milnthorpe Bridge, passed Dallam Tower then on to Old Bridge, Milnthorpe and journeys end.

view route map.


Old Bridge over the River Bela, carried the road to Sandside from 1763 until the present turnpike opened in 1813.

Viewing the flat top of Castle Hill, site of a motte-and-bailey castle dating to around the 11th century.

Heading through Dallam Park looking to the White Scar cliffs of Whitbarrow.

Built in 1851 situated on the eastern slopes of Dallam Park the Deer Shelter.

The distant hills of the Lake District seen from Dallam Park.

A ha-ha, a wall and ditch, a Victorian method of walling without ruining the expanse of parkland,

Ascending to Beetham Fell, looking over the village to the limestone cliffs of Farleton Fell.

Approaching the ruined cottage on Beetham Fell.

Sylvan Arnside Knott as seen from above the Fairy Steps.

The Fairy Steps, ascend without touching the sides, the fairy's will grant you a wish, "I wish I was thinner". Folk law tells us the dead of Arnside were carried in their coffins along the Arnside/Beetham corps road, hauled up the cliff face with ropes, before internment at Beetham.

Another cleft in the Whin Scar cliffs, this you can pass through without making contact with the walls.

Plumb straight all the way to Hazelslack, the Arnside/Beetham corps road.

Nearing Hazelslack looking back to Beetham Fell.

Hazelslack Tower, a ruinous pele tower dating back to the late 14th century.

Arnside seen over Arnside Moss.

Reed beds on Arnside Moss, until the coming of drainage these fields would flood at high tide leaving Arnside almost, but not quite an island.

Viewing the mouth of Lyth Valley over the salt marsh to the north of Arnside.

From the track bed of the Arnside/Hincaster railway views over upper Morecambe bay, taking in the white washed buildings of Levens and the limestone scarp of Scout Scar.

Dappled light on Whitbarrow seen from the sea front at Sandside.

Hard to believe this was once a busy port.

The confluence of the Rivers Kent and Bela with views through Lyth Valley to the hills of Lakeland.

The elegant single arch of Milnthorpe Bridge backed by Castle Hill.

The River Bela in Dallam Park.

Milnthorpe Bridge over the River Bela, opened in 1813 when the new turnpike opened to Arnside.

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