Above and Below the Intake Wall.

Start. Sedbergh (Howgill Lane).

Route. Sedbergh - Lockbank Farm - Settlebeck Gill - Soolbank - Stile (Grid SD 6667 9314) - Ghyll Farm - Stone Hall - Hollin Hill - Elerthwaite - Buckbank Lane - Buckbank - Straight Bridge - Weir - Winder Drive - Vicarage Lane (Sedbergh) - Main Street - Howgill Lane.

Notes. This short walk starts in the ancient market town of Sedbergh, tucked away in the Western Dales, a bit of a backwater. Developed at the confluence of four rivers where ancient trade routes merge. I walked none of these trade routes today, nor did I climb the Howgill Fells, the weather was hazy, grey with rain promised for later in the day, so this was a little different.

After parking in Howgill Lane I strolled west to access the lane leading to Lockbank Farm, way marked paths guided me between farm buildings out onto the open fell, once on the fell side of the final intake wall I turned right. With a good path under foot and the intake wall my companion I wandered through grey vistas soon reaching deep cut Settlebeck Gill. Paths climb the fells from here, or if you wish descend back into Sedbergh, I did neither, it was down into the beck bottom for me then up steep ground on the opposite bank.

Now on the Soolbank slopes of Crook the paths weren't so visible but I had my friend the final intake to guide me, it guided me to a stile allowing access to sheep pastures, I crossed back onto the Rawthey Dale side of the wall. The path now a green trod descended to a barn before swinging sharp left to follow an ancient field boundary, stiles aided my crossing of dry stone walls where necessary finger-posts kept me on track. Once at Ghyll Farm I descended the access lane to reach Stone Hall a wonderful old building dating back to 1695, with 16 light and 2 light mullioned windows and large gable chimneys, it looks like it was once more than just a farm house.

From Stone Hall I traversed more sheep and cow pastures, stiles continued aiding my crossing of field boundaries, passed Hollin Hill Farm I walked then on to Ellerthwaite where I stepped into a tarmac lane. Buckbank Lane guided me to a farm of the same name, arrows then guided me between the farm buildings before I stepped into yet more sheep pastures. With the River Rawthey in a deep tree lined gorge to my left I descended to Straight Bridge, here the busy A683 crosses the river at a sharp bend, anything but straight. I crossed the road and continued following the waters of the river, at New Bridge I again risked life and limb crossing the A634, safely across river bank rambling continued. After passing an old weir the path left the river bank climbing a low hill depositing me on Winder Drive, I crossed passed through a metal kissing gate then descended to Vicarage Lane this in turn guided into Sedbergh. I found myself in Main Street, but my journey wasn’t over just yet, through the quiet streets I walked as far as the Dalesman Inn, next to which Howgill Lane merges into Main Street, a short walk up Howgill Lane saw me back at the car.

view route map.


Limestone barn near Lockbank Farm.

A gloomy day above Sedbergh, viewing the Frostrow Fells backed by Middleton Fell.

Above Lockbank Farm enjoying overcast views up Garsdale.

Above the intake wall looking towards Lockbank Farm with the woodland and grassland of Firbank Fell across the horizon.

Murk hangs over the Middleton Fells.

Settlebeck Gill.

A macabre seen in the Howgill Fells.

From the steep slopes of Soolbank dreary views to the vast bulk of Baugh Fell.

Seen across Rawthey Dale the low lying Frostrow Fell with Whernside grey in the distance, followed by Crag Hill and the Middleton Fells.

Looking to Aye Gill Pike from field paths below Crook.

Stone Hall a wonderful old building dating back to 1695.

Ancient field boundaries near Stone Hall.

Near Hollin Hill looking to cloud capped Crag Hill above Dent Dale.

Rawthey Dale, cut by the River Rawthey which we'll be joining next.

Tree lined and un-spoilt, the River Rawthey.

Weir between Millthrop Bridge and New Bridge, I can only presume it was built to provide a supply of water for Millthrop Mill, a cotton mill destroyed by fire in the 1940s.

Above the grey limestone buildings of Sedbergh, Winder.

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