A River Kent Ramble.

Start. Oxenholme.

Route. Oxenholme - Natland - Hawes Lane - Crowpark - Hawes Bridge - Watercrook - Natland Road - Romney Bridge - Scroggs Wood - Hawes Bridge - Hawes Wood - Low Park - Wilson Place - Hawes Lane - Crowpark - Natland - Oxenholme.

Notes. With persistent wind and rain yesterday I thought maybe a wander along the banks of the River Kent may be interesting, the wind and rain hadn’t entirely blown through, I stood in the kitchen watching rain pool down the windows, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. With sunshine and showers forecast for later my plan was to follow the river into Kendal then make my way onto Scout Scar, returning along the opposite bank.

When the heavy shower passed I left home, as has become the norm I descended into Natland via Oxenholme Lane, Hawes Lane then guided me to the River Kent. I joined the east bank of the river at a small car park reserved for Kent Angling members, north I rambled the drumming of rain on my hood drowning out the noise of the river. Along muddy paths I rambled, gates and stiles aided my crossing of field boundaries, every now and then the rain would stop but it always started again.

I had a quick look around Watercrook site of a Roman Fort (very little to see), before following a footpath behind the Clarks Warehouse, this path deposited me on Natland Road, I continued north into Kendal. With wind and rain battering my body, did I really want to ascend Scout Scar? the answer was no, I decided to join the west bank of the river then head south.

After crossing Romney Bridge I joined a good path running along the river bank, with tarmac under foot, a railing to stop me falling in I continued, when tarmac ended a muddy path took over. With the Sewage Works to my right (mostly out of site) and the river my left I rambled on, after climbing a flight of steps I entered Scroggs Wood. From Scroggs Wood it was field walking, again gates and stiles aided my crossing of field boundaries, I stopped to explore an old mill just before Hawes Bridge, when I reached the bridge the rain had stopped, I opted to continue south.

Continuing south meant traversing Hawes Wood, in dry weather it’s boggy, you can imagine what it’s like after a day of heavy rain. I picked my way through, it was either that or head home. Muddy wet and miserable I exited the wood into sheep pastures, oh and it had started raining again what a surprise. The path I now followed was muddy but not too bad, it guided me to the head race that once supplied water to power the grinding stones of the New Sedgwick Gunpowder Works. The day suddenly got better, this is a thrilling stretch of path especially with the river in spate.

Along the head race wall I wandered, noise and spray, a thrilling few hundred yards of walking. All good things come to an end, I soon entered the site of the Low Wood Caravan Park, Covid was keeping the visitors away, it was eerie wandering through a place that should be packed this time of year. The access lane deposited me at Wilson Place Footbridge, I crossed, paths on the east bank then guided me back. Through muddy fields I rambled, between the hedge rows of an even muddier lane, relief came at a small yellow arrow, this marked the start of a footpath cutting through coppice woodland. The path runs above the river, you get the noise but not the spray, it guided me into sheep pastures and sunshine, I continued through fields until a stile allowed access to Hawes Lane, all that remained to re trace my steps of earlier.

view route map.


The River Kent above Hawes Bridge....

....swollen after heavy weather, the wall on the opposite bank is actually a mill race, we'll come back to that later.

Passed near Watercrook Roman Fort this featureless green mound is generally believed to be man made, built long before the Romans arrived.

Weir at Scroggs, the power of the River Kent was harnessed at an early date, a water powered corn mill was built at Helsington Laithes in 1297, in 1800 it was developed into a marble works, polishing limestone to adorn the inside and outside of grand buildings, that is when this weir was built.

The River Kent looking north to Romney Bridge.

From Scroggs Wood views to Watercrook Farm.

The mill race we viewed at the top of this page....

....and the mill it once powered.

When I was a kid this was a substantial building, the years have been unkind, I was lead to believe it was once a bobbin mill, feel free to correct me if you know different.

Built to last the twin arches of Force Bridge, during Storm Desmond in 2015 the river was running over the bridge parapets.

The Kent near Low Park.

Looking back along the head race wall, a spectacular stretch of footpath.

The head race once carried water to power the New Sedgwick Gunpowder Works.

Cooperage near the entrance to Low Park.

I'm on the other side of the river now, in a old quarry where stone was quarried to build the black powder industry across the river.

Looking to the head race, the path that guided me less than a hour ago clearly visible.

The sun's out quick grab the camera, sitting relaxing on Dorothys memorial bench, looking over the river to Hawes Wood, the purple of the birch trees on the skyline.

Near Crowpark witnessing a grey Benson Knott under a heavy sky.

Observing the River Kent from Hawes Lane.

Near Natland, still in Hawes Lane viewing The Helm.

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