The River Kent and the Kendal Scars.

Start. Natland.

Route. Natland - Appletree School - Larkrigg - Wilson Place - Nannypie Lane - Sizergh Cottage - Sizergh Castle - Parkside Road - Helsington Church - Brigsteer Road - Barrowfield - Scout Scar - Cunswick Scar - Kendal Fell - Serpentine Wood - Serpentine Road - Beast Banks - Bowling Fell - Captain French Lane - Highgate - Abbot Hall Park - Waterside - K Village - Lound Road - Romney Bridge - Scroggs Wood - Hawes Bridge - Hawes Lane - Natland.

Notes. With heavy snow forecast, promising white-out conditions on the hills I decided to stay close to home today, I've been caught out in this kind of weather before, believe me it's no fun, in fact it's quite frightening. A wander through the Kent Valley before venturing onto the Kendal Scars seemed a safe option, a river bank ramble followed by wander over a vast limestone escarpment, stunning views with maybe some snow thrown in.

My day started with my back to the Church of St Mark, Natland, to the south-west corner of the village green Helm Lane terminates at the junction with Natland Road, I wandered to this junction before turning left, I soon reached Appletree School to be greeted by a finger-post inviting me to Force Bridge, I obliged. Following field paths, bridleways and green lanes passing Larkrigg Farm before reaching the footbridge at Wilson Place. I crossed the bridge to access Nannypie Lane, with tarmac under foot I started a long easy ascent, passing under the A591 at Low Sizergh before ascending the lane behind the Strickland Arms, at Sizergh Cottage a finger-post almost hidden in a holly bush announced I'd reached the start of the path to Heaves Barn. Following this path I ascended the field before turning right at the first boundary, the path carried me along the edge the field, a fine dry stone wall for company, I passed behind Sizergh Castle, then through the public car park to access a green lane. Once in the lane I turned west, through splendid parkland, between dry stone walls I strolled until a tarmac lane disappearing into Brigsteer Wood stopped me in my tracks, a plethora of finger-posts greeted me, I ascended the bridleway to my right signed Helsington. Through a wonderful tract of grassland high above Brigsteer Wood I walked, after following the path through a small copse a delightful little kirk came into view. The Parish Church of St John, Helsington commands fine views over Lyth Valley and upper Morecambe Bay, or it usually does, not today, hazy views greeted me with snow clouds sweeping in from the west.

The tarmac access road guided me north, on reaching Brigsteer Road I stepped onto the limestone escarpment of Scout Scar to be greeted by the first flakes of snow. A magical three mile ramble followed, high above the valleys of the Kent and Lyth, massive limestone cliffs guided me north, passed The Mushroom a well known local landmark, then on to the splendid cairn on Cunswick Scar where I turned south-east to start the long walk back. In heavy snow I wandered through limestone pastures, narrow slit stiles carried me across field boundaries, after crossing the bypass (footbridge) and Kendal Fell I entered the shelter of Serpentine Wood. Leaving the wood there's only one rule, keep walking down hill until you reach the river then turn south, if you wish to visit The Monument on Bowling Fell as I did leave the wood then follow Serpentine Road south, at the first junction descend to Beast Banks, turn right, walk a few paces up the hill, a gap in the wall next to a folly allows access to the remains of a motte and bailey castle and The Monument, the same rule applies when leaving the monument, keep walking down hill.

With everything turning white including me I followed the waters of the Kent south, passing the new K Village before crossing Romney Bridge, still heading south but on considerably narrower paths I passed the sewage works, no escaping that. The path and river curved around Alavna Roman Fort at Watercrook before entering Scroggs Wood, a short walk along snow coated woodland paths followed before I entered pastures at Scroggs. Through fields on river bank paths I rambled, easy walking at the end of the day, next on the agenda Natland Gorge, an impressive limestone ravine cut by the turbulent waters of the River Kent, Hawes Bridge spans the river here, I crossed to start the short walk over snow covered tarmac back to Natland.

view route map.


St Mark's Church, Natland.

Looking to The Helm from Appletree School, is that small rift of light good weather on the way or is it just disappearing over the horizon?

The footbridge at Wilson Place.

The day was progressively getting worse, in the pastures above Brigsteer Wood looking over Lyth Valley to Whitbarrow.

On a hazy horizon, upper Morecambe Bay and Arnside Knott.

The prospect north, the cliffs of Scout Scar rise above Barrowfield Wood.

Another look across the jagged edge of this wonderful limestone plateau.

The Mushroom, erected in 1912 to commemorate the coronation of King George V, if you think it's aged well it was refurbished in 2002.

With the weather closing in around me views south over Barrowfield Wood.

Looking to the summit of Cunswick Scar.

A thin dusting of snow decorates the cairn on Cunswick Scar.

Views back across Cunswick Scar.

From this vantage point above Kendal Bypass you usually get some good views over the Kent Valley, Potter Fell and the High Street massif, usually!.

Crossing Kendal Fell looking towards Kentmere, I'm not the only clown up here on a day like today, there's a load of golfers behind me.

Heading to the shelter of Serpentine Wood.

One of the northern access points to Serpentine Wood.

The Summer House in Serpentine Wood, built in 1833, a small levy of sixpence was charged for it's use.

Standing proud on what was once a motte and bailey castle, the Castle Howe Monument, erected to commemorate the 1688 revolution whereby King James II was overthrown by Parliament.

A quintessential part of Kendal, ginnels and alleyways.

The entrance to Abbot Hall Park.

The River Kent at Watercrook.

A winters scene in Scroggs Wood.

The River Kent above Hawes Bridge.

Winter in Natland Gorge.

The twin arches of Hawes Bridge span the river at this rather spectacular spot.

Looking towards Natland from Hawes Lane.

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