The Fairy Steps and Underlaid Wood.

Start. Milnthorpe.

Route. Milnthorpe - Old Bridge - Dallam Park - Beetham - Whin Scar - Fairy Steps - Underlaid Wood - Hazelslack - Teddy Heights - Storth - Dick Fell Hill - Sandside - Summerhouse Point - Milnthorpe Bridge - Dallam Park - Old Bridge - Milnthorpe.

Notes. This varied walk has a little of everything this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has to offer, parkland, woodland, limestone crag, a small slice of history and an unmissable wander along the fringes of upper of Morecambe Bay.

I had to part with four quid, I hoped the car park would be free due to Covid, alas it was a small price to pay for a morning in the fresh air. From the car park I wandered along Sandside Road to access Dallam Park via Old Bridge, once the main route to the Port of Sandside, now pedestrian access only. Way-marked paths then guided me through the deer park, passed an earth works on castle hill, once the site of an earlier fortification, in a hollow to the left the Deer House tilted into view, built in the 18th century. After climbing the next hill I crossed a ha-ha, a wall and ditch, a method of walling without ruining the lines of the park land.

After descending the next field I reached the Heron Corn Mill car park, unfortunately the mill is closed due to Covid, it’s still worth a wander around the grounds, today I gave it a miss, immediately following a narrow green track to access a tarmac lane, I turned towards Beetham. Next to the first house on the right a finger-post invited me to the Fairy Steps, this path I followed, through a large field before the woodland on Beetham Fell swallowed me up. The path over the fell was well marked, I soon emerged into a clearing above Whin Scar, the narrow fissure below my feet the Fairy Steps. Ascend or descend without touching the sides, the fairies will grant you a wish, I wished I was thinner so walked around the south edge of the scarp.

From the foot of the Fairy Steps way-marked paths ushered me through Underlaid Wood, a good path, an old coffin route under foot. It safely guided me over another set of cliffs before depositing me in sheep pastures at Hazelslack. Apart from farm buildings Hazelslack offers little, although the tower is worth a second glance. The squat ruins, the remains of a pele tower built in 1375 to give protection to the residents and their animals, a safe haven from marauding Scots. From Hazelslack the lane guided me between dry stone walls to another finger-post, this time an invitation to Storth.

I traversed Teddy Heights, a well kept woodland, as promised the path deposited me in Storth, I turned right (uphill) to access Guard Hill Lane. This narrow ribbon of tarmac descended to the Sandside Road, I descended with it, crossed the Sandside Road then ascended onto the Arnside/Hincaster Railway, a fine footpath. This guided me to Sandside, a delightful place, once locally known as Westmorland By the Sea, before government reorganisation in 1974 it was the only part of Westmorland (now Cumbria) next to the sea.

I slowly wandered along the sea front, at the Ship Inn I dropped onto the salt marsh, a half decent path then guided me back to the Arnside/Hincaster Railway, again I followed the track bed as far as the banks of the River Bela. A once grand 26 arch viaduct spanned the river and salt marsh at this point, sadly demolished when the tracks were lifted in 1963. The river guided me to the single arch of Milnthorpe Bridge, I entered Dallam Park via the north entrance, way-marked paths then guided me to Old Bridge and the streets of Milnthorpe.

view route map.


Ascending through the man made landscape of Dallam Park, looking to the White Scar cliffs of Whitbarrow.

Again Whitbarrow, this time over Dallam Tower.

The Deer House built in the 18th century, on the horizon the limestone cliffs of Farleton Fell.

Beetham village dominated by St Michael and All Angels Church.

The gentle rolling landscape of South Cumbria ends abruptly at the Howgill Fells.

Seen from field paths above Beetham, Hutton Roof Crags.

A lot narrower than it looks, the Fairy Steps, can you ascend or descend without touching the sides.

A route of old, the corps road through Underlaid Wood.

Still on the coffin route.

Dating back to the 12th century Hazelslack Tower.

From Sandside views back to Arnside Knott.

In sunlight and shadow Whitbarrow.

Views through the mouth of Lyth Valley, clearly visible the limestone cliffs of Scout Scar.

Looking to the Newton Fells across Milnthorpe Sands.

On view from the sea front at Sandside, Whitbarrow.

The weir in Dallam Park.

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