Helsington Church from Oxenholme.

Start. Oxenholme.

Route. Oxenholme - Natland - Hawes Bridge - Prizet - Briggs House Farm - Helsington Church - Holeslack Farm - Sizergh Castle - Sizergh - Nannypie Lane - Wilson Place - Larkrigg - Cracalt - High House - Oxenholme.

Notes. There’s a number of walking routes from the Kent valley to the quaint St John’s Church, but for those whom would just like to soak up the views a perfectly good lane ends at the Helsington View Point opposite the church. For those with a little more energy follow in our foot fall, or join the walk somewhere en route, basically its a ramble through sheep pastures to a fine view point, then back taking in some fine scenery en route.

We start in Oxenholme because we’re supposed to be staying local, our route followed Oxenholme Lane into Natland then Hawes Lane to the banks of the River Kent, after fording the river at Hawes Bridge we stepped into fields on the west bank. North we walked to the first stile, ignoring this breach in the dry stone wall we turned up hill immediately ascending to Prizet, a long village, one single narrow lane lined with modern bungalows ending at a Victorian mansion, Prizet House. Our route crossed the lane to access a green track following an ancient boundary, this terminated at a wide duel carriageway, the main artery into Kendal and the South Lakes. With most of the country in lock down the road was quiet, we crossed to be greeted by a finger-post inviting us to Whetstone Lane.

Through sheep pastures we ascended, narrow stiles and gates aided our crossing of field boundaries, we crossed said lane to continue through pastures to Briggs House Farm, a way marked path then ushered us onto a bridleway, we turned south. With a lovely green trod under foot we continued, field gates and stiles kept us on track, we soon emerged next to the Church of St John into grey hazy views over Lyth Valley and Morecambe Bay. The church is thought to date back to 1726, what you see today is the result of restoration work carried out in 1888 and 1910. To the rear of the cemetery we found a bench tucked under a dry stone wall, cosy out of the biting wind, we sat, had a brew and something to eat before continuing.

Continuing meant following the track south to Holeslack Farm, a restored 16th century farm house and barns sitting in the 1600 acre Sizergh estate. From Holeslack we wandered through Rash Spring Wood emerging into sheep pastures to the rear of Sizergh Castle, good paths then guided us to the castle (closed due to Covid, the gift shop was open, the cafe provided takeaway food only). Not wanting to sit in the winter chill we continued down the castle access road to Nannypie Lane, Nannypie Lane in turn guided us to the banks of the River Kent and the Wilson Place Footbridge.

We crossed said bridge, our route now headed north a muddy bridleway under foot, mud soon gave way to the old mettled track, then field paths as we ascended to Larkrigg Hall Bridge. With the bridleway still under foot we continued to Cracalt, a small scattering of farm buildings and the odd private house, the access drive lead between a fine avenue of trees to the Sedgwick Road and a stile, we crossed said stile, field paths then ushered us to Helm Lane. After climbing the lane we emerged onto Burton Road a few hundred yards from Oxenholme and home.

view route map.

home.

Sunlight on Kendal Fell.

The Helm seen from the ascent to Prizet.

A dusting of snow on the Whinfell ridge with Benson Knott green to the right.

Ashstead Fell, Castle Fell and Whinfell seen over Kendal from field paths near Briggs House Farm.

One of the views that greeted us from Helsington View Point.

Helsington Church or to give it it's official name, Chapel of Ease of St John Helsington. Built in 1726 in this isolated position to allow parishioners from nearby farms and villages to access a place of worship, lets not forget three hundred years ago roads were muddy tracks, if you were lucky you had a horse, if not it was shanks's pony, it was an awful long walk to the Parish Church in Kendal.

Whitbarrow as seen across Lyth Valley from Helsington Church.

Sitting in an idyllic setting, Holeslack Farm.

Sizergh Castle seen from the north.

And again this time from the access drive, the oldest part of the building is the solar tower dating back to the 14th century.

Chapel Wood and Sizergh Fell as seen from the castle drive.

Sue strides out across the River Kent.

En route to Larkrigg this ancient track under foot.

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