Over Whitbarrow.

Start. Mill Side.

Route. Mill Side - Low Fell End - Buckhouse Wood - Farrer's Allotment - Lord's Seat - Whitbarrow Scar - High Crag Wood - Low Crag Wood - Beck Head - Mill Side.

Notes. Today we bent the Covid rules, or maybe stretched them slightly, or maybe not depending on how you interpret local. As Whitbarrow’s only ten minutes from my home I interpreted that as local, bent, stretched or ignored we were there. Glorious weather welcomed us as we stepped from the car, the parking area was void of vehicles and it was mid week so should be quiet on the hill.

After parking at the tiny hamlet of Mill Side we wandered into the village, after around two hundred yards the lane to Low Fell End welcomed us, up said lane we walked, through the farm yard to access Buckhouse Wood, mixed woodland tumbling down the steep southern slopes of Whitbarrow. This path ejected us onto an old mettled track, we swung left then almost immediately left the track, a steep path ascended the hill our guide into the promised land. The path cut across the cliff face, zigzags ease the gradient, it safely guided us out of the tree cover onto the limestone escarpment of Whitbarrow, staggering views and stunning scenery greeted us, Covid was forgotten the day had just got better.

North we walked drinking in the magnificent scenery, through Farrer’s Allotment then over a stile to enter Flodder Allotment, we wandered along the edge of low limestone cliffs, between shattered limestone scars sparkling in the sun. As the path started ascending the large obelisk marking Lord’s Seat the summit of Whitbarrow tilted into view. The views were stunning, woodland, grassland and limestone pavements stretched out before us, across the horizon the Lakeland Fells dressed in white coats of winter. We drank coffee, ate biscuits and just soaked it all in.

Reluctantly we dragged ourselves away from the summit, a cairned path descends to the west, this guided us down the hill, over limestone scarps, through birch woods struggling for a root hold in fragile soil. After crossing a stile the path plunged down Whitbarrow Scar, steep narrow, hands on in places but quite safe, we reached the foot of the cliffs unscathed.

We then wandered south through mixed woodland under the dramatic cliffs of Chapel Head Scar, as we entered High Crag Wood and the Witherslack Nature Reserve the narrow path that guided us gave way to a stoney forest track, this in turn shepherded us to Beck Head, a lovely village built around a beck emitting from the foot of a low limestone cliff. All that remained just over half a mile of easy walking over a narrow tarmac lane, a delightful end to this stunning short excursion.

view route map.


Buckhouse Wood with the Fell End cliffs of Whitbarrow reaching above the tree cover.

This old track once echoed to the sound of horse drawn carriages, it's the old turnpike linking Beathwaite Green (Levens) to Witherslack, laid down around 1817 it hugs the high ground as the land to the south would have been under water at high tide.

Ascending Whitbarrow over paths laid down to accommodate Victorian fell trekking ponies, dressed in their finery the wealth of Victorian society would picnic and stroll around soaking up the bracing air of this fine plateau, it had to be healthier than the mill towns of Lancashire.

I guess you could call this Fell End Viewpoint, a few yards off the main path it gifts the lucky walker with stunning views over the Winster valley to the Newton Fells.

Above the tree cover of Buckhouse Wood, watching snow showers sweep down the upper reaches of Morecambe Bay.

Stunning views over the Winster valley, above the pine plantation on Birch Fell the white tops of the Coniston massif.

In Farrer's Allotment viewing the salt waters of Morecambe Bay over the village of Witherslack.

In shadow a limestone escarpment we've walked so many times during this crisis, Scout Scar, across the horizon the Shap Fells and Whinfell ridge.

Across the horizon the tentacular ridges of the Howgill Fells.

Pausing to drink in views to Gummer's How.

The path through Flodder Allotment looking to Lord's Seat the summit of Whitbarrow. Allotments were created in the 19th century as a result of the Enclosures Act, Whitbarrow's allotments were named after local landowners.

The birch woods of Whitbarrow National Nature Reserve.

The summit looking to Gummer's How.

A fine cairn should have a fine view and this has one of the best.

A summit shot taking in many Lakeland favourites.

East over Lyth Valley and Scout Scar and Hay Fell and Benson Knott to the snow painted hills of the Howgill Fells.

Upper Morecambe Bay and Arnside Knott seen from our descent route.

Forest tracks guide us back.

This may be woodland walking but this time of year it's quite stunning.

Low Crag Wood, viewing sunlight on the cliffs of Whitbarrow Scar, a view you wouldn't get in summer with leaves on the trees.

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