A Circuit from Oxenholme.

Start. Oxenholme Filling Station.

Route. Oxenholme - Helm Lane - High House Farm - St Mark's Home - Cracalt - Larkrigg - River Kent - Wilson Place - Nannypie Lane - Force Bridge - Force Lane - Park Head - Levens Park - Levens Bridge - Levens Park - Hincaster Road - Lancaster/Kendal Canal - Hincaster Tunnel - Tunnel Hill - Well Heads Lane - Stainton - Crosscrake - Low Barrows Green - Barrows Green - Oxenholme.

Notes. I spent the morning with my nearest and dearest Christmas shopping, once let off the leash I found myself striding out through sheep pastures, along river side trod's and over canal tow paths, ending the day wandering through narrow byways on little used roads. I was recently forced to buy a new camera, lets not go into detail, it's a sore point, but it's a newer model than the one it replaced and takes.... pause for dramatic effect ....bloody awful pictures, I can't fathom it out, my daughter who's tuned into modern gizmo's can't either, so here I am on yet another test run.

This walk started at Oxenholme Filling Station because I'd just filled the car up and found a parking space, which is more than I can do on the road outside my house. With the threat of rain in the air I wandered south, after passing a large lay-by I turned right into Helm Lane which guided me down hill under the West Coast Main Line into Natland. After passing High House Farm and a white-washed house a finger-post on the left invited me to St Mark's Home. Via field paths I made my way towards the children's home, ancient bridleways then lead me down the lane to Cracalt before guiding me via green trod's to the banks of the River Kent. The waters of the river guided me down stream depositing me at the foot-bridge at Wilson Place, I crossed said bridge to access Nannypie Lane which in turn lead to Force Lane. It's worth taking your time wandering these narrow tarmac ways, the river's, littered with the remains of gunpowder production, with no leaves on the trees you get a real good feel of how large this dangerous but lucrative industry was, and that matters later in the walk.

The tarmac of Force Lane guided me under the busy A590 the main road into the Lakes, then on to the a scattering of houses at Park Head where I joined field paths for the short walk to Levens Park. Once in the dear park the public foot-path shepherded me to Levens Bridge, I crossed, re-entered the park to follow a wonderful avenue of oaks, once the main carriage drive to the hall. I exited the park, turning right. With the tarmac of the Hincaster Road under foot, in fading light and persistent drizzle this narrow lane guided me to the Lancaster/Kendal canal, my progress was halted by the Hincaster Tunnel.

Built to take the canal close to the gunpowder works on the banks of the River Kent, the original line of the canal was planned roughly where the present day West Coast Railway runs, the gunpowder industry was so lucrative it made it viable to cut a tunnel through the hill at Hincaster. Built between 1816-1817, at 370 yards long it runs 75ft below the hill, the first brick constructed engineering project north of the Mersey, 4 million bricks take the weight of the hill side above all made locally at Heversham.

Because boats were legged through by boatmen (no tow path) horses were guided over the hill via a horse-path, this was my guide, depositing me back on the canal for the short walk to Stainton. It was time to turn my back on the northern reaches of the Lancaster/Kendal canal, I had around two miles of pleasant tarmac walking to reach the pub at Barrows Green. This was no ordinary tarmac walk, these lanes are quiet, only used by farm vehicles, the council has had the sense to designate them cycleways, cycleways with stunning views as the lanes follow a wide grassy ridge, possibly the original route south. By the time I reached Barrows Green it was dark, the draw of the inn was irresistible and what did it matter if I had one too many, the car could stay where it was until tomorrow.

view route map.


Strolling passed Cracalt en route to the banks of the River Kent.

An ancient boundary line near Larkrigg.

Larkrigg Hall Bridge.

The foot-bridge at Wilson Place.

The River Kent at Sedgwick.

Striding out through Levens Park.

The stately pile of Levens Hall seen from Levens Bridge.

Levens Parks famous avenue of oaks, once the original carriage drive to the hall.

The Horse-path over Tunnel Hill.

Hincaster Tunnel seen from the east.

Rising above sheep pastures and hedge rows, Farleton Fell.

The canal at Stainton.

It doesn't look like it but this is Farleton Fell viewed through evening gloom, I'm wedged on a field gate trying to hold the camera still.

The prospect south from the quiet tarmac lane above Stainton....

....my chosen route home.

The Punch Bowl at Barrows Green.

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