Route: Caldbeck

Area: Northern Lake District 

Date of walk: 29th June 2023

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 2.6 miles

Ascent: 250 feet

Weather: Sunny

Caldbeck is an unspoilt traditional fell village and its remote location in the far north of the Lake District ensures its tranquillity. The area is unfrequented and for anyone wishing to get away from the madding crowds it’s an ideal centre for walkers who prefer solitude. A glance at the Ordnance Survey map reveals a network of public footpaths radiating out of the village in all directions and giving numerous opportunities for circular walks, both long and short. At the start of today’s walk we parked in the free village car park. We hadn’t decided on the exact route as the length of the walk would depend on my new knee, still recovering from the operation in February. The plan was to walk beside Whelpo Beck to Howk, home to an old bobbin mill, and we’d improvise from there

The path to Howk may be found at the end of the car park, but before setting off we did a quick circular detour around Caldbeck, visiting St Kentigern’s Church (or St Mungo’s Church) along the way. The churchyard is the resting place of Mary Harrison, (the Beauty of Buttermere), and John Peel the famous huntsman. On arriving back at the car park we set off along the easy path to Howk which runs along the north bank of Whelpo Beck. We soon arrived at the preserved ruins of the old Bobbin Mill, situated within a natural limestone gorge.These are the remains of a 19th century bobbin mill, built to help meet the huge demand from Lancashire’s textile industry, which once boasted the largest overshot wheel in the country, measuring 3ft wide and with a 42ft diameter. The mill began production in 1857 and made bobbins for the cotton industry. Wood for the bobbins came from areas of ancient coppiced woodland in the valley and surrounding area

We continued beside the beck, passing by several waterfalls along the way and ignoring a couple of opportunities to shorten the walk. After reaching a bridge leading to Beckstones we left the beck and turned right uphill, enjoying some lovely views back to the Caldbeck fells as we gained height. We then turned right again to begin the gentle descent back into Caldbeck through a succession of fields and meadows. On arriving back in the village we walked around the old duck pond and then retraced our steps back to the start. We didn’t see any other walkers along the way, and resolved to return here

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