Helsington Barrows and Sizergh.
Route. Oxenholme - Burton Road - Oxenholme Lane - Natland - Hawes Lane - Hawes Bridge - Scroggs - Helsington Laithes - Lane Head - Brigsteer Road - Kendal Race Course - Bradleyfield - Helsington Barrows - Brigsteer Road - Helsington Church - Holeslack Farm - Sizergh Castle - Nannypie Lane - Wilson Place - Larkrigg Hall Bridge - Cracalt - Natland - Helm Lane - Oxenholme.
Notes. Snow painted the low limestone escarpments to the west of Kendal, I knew this because I can see them from my back garden, there's something special about snow on limestone it acts like a drug a must have fix, this made for an easy decision, as the car was still frozen solid I'd walk from home. Come join me you don't need to park in the street opposite my house, anywhere en route will do, I'd recommend Natland, avoid the loop to Oxenholme unless you require tea or coffee, my good lady makes a mean brew.
Via tarmac lanes and the main road I wandered into Natland, once in the village Hawes Lane ushered me between dry stone walls, with tarmac still under foot I descended into the Kent valley, after crossing Hawes Bridge the west bank of the River Kent guided me north on a short pastoral walk as far as Scroggs. Take a look to your right when you enter these fields, the ruined building was once a bobbin mill, most walkers pass it buy without a second glance, time is taking it's tole on this fine old building, high river levels over the past few years have battered it's crumbling walls, it's only a matter of time before a pile of rubble sits on the spot, a large cairn marking the place a Lakeland industery once stood.
I left the river at Scroggs ascending the tarmac lane through Scroggs Wood, the lane terminated at the main road, I picked a gap between the traffic then legged it across, safe on the other side a finger-post pointed the way passed Helsington Laithes. The lane ascended passing under the by-pass to access Lane Head Farm and a green trod through sheep pastures. I continued up hill to Brigsteer Road, a short walk north followed, when I reached a narrow stile and bright white mile stone I left the road, squeezed through the stile and accessed Kendal Race Course. It must be over a hundred years since Horses thundered around this field, a large cairn is all that remains of one of the course buildings, I passed it before traversing Bradleyfield. Between gorse, blackthorn and low-growing juniper the path climbed, fauna fighting for survival in shallow limestone soils, it's a very special place the scar above the Kent and Lyth Valleys, treat it with respect.
A metal kissing gate allowed me to cross into Helsington Barrows, I continued climbing through stunning limestone scenery eventually reaching a large cairn overlooking Lyth Valley, a great place to soak up the view. Whitbarrow across a mosaic of flat waterlogged fields, to my right the Lakeland fells in all their winter glory, and to the left Morecambe Bay overlooked by Arnside Knott. That was the direction for me, towards the shifting sands of Morecambe Bay. Before the coming of drainage the waters of the bay would lap against the cliffs of Scout Scar and Whitbarrow, how times change. I continued south to reach Brigsteer Road and the narrow lane leading to Helsington Church. The lane guided me passed the church to be replaced by a farm track, a steep descent then deposited me back in the Kent Valley.
Once passed Holeslack Farm field paths guided me to Sizergh Castle, it was too late to nip in the cafe for a brew, so I let the castle access drive usher me through the man made landscape of Sizergh Park, I exited between a fine set of gate posts near the start of Nannypie Lane, Nannypie Lane in turn lead to the banks of the River Kent. I crossed the river at a fine suspension bridge, a bridleway then guided me north. My route passed through a large field bordering the river, then a muddy lane bordered by dry stone walls, then another field allowing access to Larkrigg Hall Bridge. After crossing the dry canal I continued to Cracalt, a farm and a few private houses. From Cracalt the access lane ushered me between an avenue of fine trees depositing me next to a stile accessing field paths skirting Natland, I spilled out of the fields into Helm Lane near High House, the lane then shepherded me up hill, under the West Coast Main Line to the main road within sight of home.
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The River Kent above Hawes Bridge.
Somewhere along the banks of the River Kent looking to Scout Scar.
In sheep pastures above Lane Head, not only admiring a fine example of a dry stone wall but viewing a distant Farleton Fell.
A stunning view from Brigsteer Road, across the horizon under deep snow the Howgill Fells.
Heading along Brigsteer Road enjoying this wonderful view, seen over the Kent valley the Middleton and Barbon High Fells.
From Bradleyfield another super view over the Kent valley.
Traversing Helsington Barrows, looking to the Whinfell Ridge.
Helsington Barrows looking south.
Rising high above the Kent valley, the Middleton Fells.
Ascending through Helsington Barrows, looking back to the Howgill Fells.
Soaking up views to Arnside Knott and Morecambe Bay with the cliffs of Whitbarrow to the right.
A litany of Lakeland favourites seen from the edge of Scout Scar.
The scene over Barrowfield, timeless Lyth Valley and the snow covered Coniston massif.
Dramatic limestone scenery, the Scout Scar plateau.
Descending to Brigsteer Road with this view to Farleton Fell for company.
Near Helsington Church, another wonderful view over the flat lands of Lyth to the Coniston massif, from left to right, Dow Crag, Coniston Old Man then the bulk of Wetherlam followed by Swirl How and Great Carrs, ending with Pike of Blisco far right.
On the banks of the River Kent looking to Larkrigg Spring Wood.
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