North from Arnside.

Start. Arnside.

Route. Arnside - Arnside Railway Station - Hincaster/Arnside Railway - Sandside - Back Lane - Hollins Well - Haverbrack Fell - Cockshot Lane - Longtail Wood - Beetham Fell - Slack Head - Dollywood Lane - Hazelslack - Arnside Moss - Arnside.

Notes. I'm afraid I haven't got much to show for my efforts today, just mud on my boots and a bag full of wet clothes, the few photos I took are pretty grim, much like the weather. It was always going to end with wind and rain I just didn't know quite when, so planned a route with plenty of bolt holes if and when the weather changed.

I set out from Arnside, a short drive from home, it nearly always has better weather than the Lake District and Dales of Yorkshire. I actually had a route planned, a massive loop taking in nearly everything this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has to offer, unfortunately the weather gods had other plans.

North from Arnside I walked the old track bed of the defunct Arnside/Hincaster Railway under my boot soles, this popular footpath deposited me at Sandside where I leisurely strolled along the deserted sea front. After passing the Ship Inn I turned my back on the sands of upper Morecambe Bay. A narrow way next to the Inn car park guided me onto the tarmac of Back Lane, I swung left then continued wandering behind the flats on Sandside sea front. Waiting for me behind Sandside Business Park a finger-post promising access to Haverbrack Lane.

This was my route, through a small cops to another finger-post, this time promising access to Haverbrack Lane and Hollins Well. Along the edge of sheep pastures I wandered, the path entered woodland before ascending to Haverbrack Lane, the route to Hollins Well had been fenced so I gave it a miss. Across Haverbrack Lane I strolled, through a kissing gate and straight onto the steep ascent of the fell. The ground was soft and muddy after heavy rain, the going slow, it was a short climb but by the time I reached the summit my legs had plenty to complain about.

On the fell top a kissing gate permits access to woodland, I passed through stepping onto a good path that guided me south to Cockshot Lane and another finger-post, a nice new one, Slackhead and Hazelslack, no mention of Beetham Fell and the Fairy Steps, the reason most people visit this pristine corner of Cumbria. Unusually the Fairy Steps were off my route today but Beetham Fell wasn't, and I knew it was on this path.

South I walked onto Beetham Fell and into the first spots of the wet stuff. At a clearing another finger-post greeted me this time promising access to all the places not mentioned on the road side post, I joined the path for Slackhead, yellow arrows guided me over the fell soon depositing me in Slackhead. As I strolled over the tarmac lane the rain got considerably worse, driven in on a strong wind, it was time to re-think my route. I planned to head south to the coast but that was directly into the approaching storm. I stood at the entrance to Dollywood Lane, an ancient track that lead to Hazelslack, after a great deal of deliberation I reluctantly stepped between the dry stone walls.

It was a disappointing decision I regretted until reaching Hazelslack, I walked through the farm and fields with my defenses zipped up tight, my head down against the wind and rain and, I decided I didn't give a damn if I got wet feet traversing Arnside Moss, that was the quick route back and that was the route I was taking, everything else was wet so why should my feet be spared. Without hesitating across the moss I walked, wet, muddy and boot hugging, the water was deeper than expected, my route was in front of me and I stuck to it, astonished I reached the railway crossing with dry feet. Confronting me amongst the signs requesting you take care crossing the tracks, look and listen and all that was one that suggested you clean your boots before wandering along the access road, I was soaked but it made me laugh, I felt sure the residents must clean the mud from their car tyres before driving down said lane. I bluntly refused to clean mine but also didn't stamp the mud from them until I stepped onto Black Dyke Road, the start of the short walk back to the car.

view route map.


The foot-path north of Arnside.

On a grey day promising wind and rain, views north over Milnthorpe Sands.

From the deserted sea front at Sandside views back to Arnside and it's knott.

The wet sand of Upper Morecambe Bay reflects the leaden sky.

My route ahead.

The Kent Channel and the mouth of Lyth Valley, viewed from Haverbrack Fell.

Striding out through coppice woodland on Haverbrack Fell.

Finger-post in Cockshot Lane, the Fairy Steps are also accessed from this path.

Moss and Hart's Tongue Ferns cling to the cliff face on Beetham Fell.

From the confines of Dollywood Lane views to sylvan Arnside Knott.

Dollywood Lane.

One of the dykes draining Arnside Moss.

Back at the car and, that unable to resist shot of the Kent Viaduct.

back to top

back to list