Halfpenny, Stainton and Tunnel Hill.

Start. Oxenholme.

Route. Oxenholme - Helm End - Stang - Halfpenny - Halfpenny Lane - Stainton Lane - Stainton - Lancaster Canal - Hincaster Tunnel - Tunnel Hill - Hincaster Road - Wellheads Plantation - Sedgwick Hall Bridge - Wellheads - Wellheads Lane - Crosscrake - Low Barrows Green - Barrows Green - Burton Road (A65) - Oxenholme.

Notes. This was a superb ramble, field paths linked by narrow lanes, a small slice of history and, as we're still social distancing I met but six people this stunning morning, all played by the rules. I suppose this excursion visits some of South Cumbria's secret places, one I had never set foot in, Halfpenny. Come along play by the rules and we'll stay safe until the day we can set foot in the Lake District once more.

I left Oxenholme via the busy Burton Road (not so busy at the moment), a large empty lay-by (usually full with dog walkers cars) marked the point I left the main road. The thick line of green dashes on the map cut across the lower slopes of The Helm, they guided me into sheep and cow pastures, through some stunning countryside depositing me at Stang, a scattering of converted farm buildings and modern bungalows. I turned left, wandered to a foot-path sign which directed me across a field to a narrow foot-bridge, the beck, St Sundays Beck then guided me through another field to Halfpenny, another scattering of old and new buildings.

Now in Halfpenny Lane I let it's tarmac surface usher me to the main road, I crossed to join Stainton Lane, the start of a mile and a half of tarmac walking to access the Lancaster Canal. It may have been tarmac walking but it was a stunning, a quiet stretch of the grey stuff, with St Sundays Beck for company. I wandered to Stainton described by Wainwright as “a place of antiquity” (no photos too many parked cars) then on to the Lancaster Canal.

This stretch of canal is un navigable, filled with water but severed in a number of places by modern roads, the section I was about to walk was dry and over grown with scrub and mature trees, well no chance of drowning. This interesting stretch of dry waterway, gifts the walker with the cherry on the cake, the Hincaster Tunnel. Built in 1816-1817 this mammoth slice of engineering is 378 yards long, the portals at each end made from cut limestone, the rest is made up of 4 million bricks. Boats were pulled through the tunnel by means of a chain or rope fixed to the south wall, lacking a tow path the horses were led over the hill via a purpose built horse path.

The horse path now guides walkers over the hill, it guided me to Hincaster from where I carried on along the canal. Not long after leaving Hincaster the canal has been severed by the main road into the Lake District, this inconvenience meant a short stretch of tarmac walking, passed the north entrance to Levens Park then over the main road. Once on the other side a flight of steps allowed access to the canal via a field path, this I followed as far as Sedgwick Hall Bridge, the first canal bridge after leaving the Hincaster Road.

At the bridge I turned up hill, ascended Wellheads letting field paths guide me over a couple of hills then through fields all the way to Crosscrake, stiles of various kinds aided my crossing of field boundaries, a substantial foot-bridge safely ushered me over the West Coast Main Line. I missed an obvious ladder stile, distracted by a tractor ploughing the field, field paths eventually ejected me onto a tarmac lane next to Crosscrake School.

Confined by hedge rows and dry stone walls, with tarmac under foot I followed said lane over a high ridge, gifting me with exceptional views over the Kent valley. Passed Low Barrows Green I wandered, a small slice of field walking deposited me at Middle Barrows Green, another tarmac lane then led to Barrows Green and Burton Road, all that remained to follow the pavement north along this not so busy stretch of road, home was just around the corner.

view route map.


It may not be the high fells of dales of Yorkshire, but it's the journey that's important, the lower slopes of The Helm on a stunning day.

Views over the valley of St Sunday's Beck.

Viewing the eastern face of The Helm.

Making stately progress over field paths on a stunning day.

St Sunday's Beck, my route crossed this narrow footbridge.

St Sunday's Beck looking towards Halfpenny.

Halfpenny Lane, it may be tarmac but guided me through some stunning country side.

Rearing up from the pastoral lands of South Cumbria The Helm.

The crystal clear waters of St Sunday's Beck near Stainton.

The not so crystal waters of the Lancaster Canal.

Driven 76ft below Tunnel Hill the Hincaster Tunnel.

Farleton Fell as seen from Tunnel Hill.

Summerhouse Hill viewed from the Hincaster Road.

Ahead is Sedgwick Hall Bridge, seen from Wellheads Plantation.

Ascending Wellheads Hill looking north to the distant hills of South Lakeland.

Gracing the western skyline Scout Scar.

A stunning view over a gentle rolling landscape, in the distance the limestone cliffs of Whitbarrow.

The familiar summit of The Helm seen from Wellheads Hill.

Could you wish a better place on a day like today, over Kendal and it's fell the Kentmere range.

Taking in the view, across the horizon the Middleton and Barbon High Fells.

Wandering through a working landscape.

Boundary Post at Barrows Green.

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