Claife Heights

Claife Heights

Route: Claife Heights

Area: Southern Lake District

Date of walk: 26th February 2020

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 5.1 miles

Ascent: 800 feet

Weather: Mostly sunny, cloudier later

The area around Far Sawrey, which was the start point of today’s walk, is associated with the name of Beatrix Potter. Known to the locals as Mrs Heelis, as well as writing the famous children’s stories, she was a landowner and notable breeder of Herdwick sheep. In the adjacent village of Near Sawrey is Hilltop, her home for many years, which she left to the National Trust and which is open to the public

It’s been too long since we last walked in this area and a return visit was well overdue. After parking in the small car park at Braithwaite Hall in Far Sawrey (a donation of £2 is suggested), we walked along the lane out of the village and at a bend joined a track leading south west. The views gradually opened out and there followed a delightful walk across the gently rolling countryside of Claife Heights, with good views of the distant snow capped lakeland fells. We passed by Moss Eccles Tarn and Wise Een Tarn, two of the scenic highlights of the walk, before arriving at Highs Moss and the start of the return leg

Thus far it had been a heavenly walk, but the return journey was rather disappointing in comparison. For much of the way we were walking along forest tracks and rough paths through densely planted coniferous woodland. Some areas had been felled, leaving a rather alien and desolate landscape. The highest point of the woodland is at High Blind How, but we’d read that the views of Windermere are now almost eclipsed by the growing trees so we ignored the opportunity to visit it. It was a relief to emerge from the woods back into the fields above Far Sawrey. The final section back into the village was a lovely stroll

It had proved to be a walk of two halves, but don’t let my criticism of the forestry section deter you – it’s a price worth paying for the outstanding scenery around the tarns and, unless you retrace your steps or greatly extend the length of the route, it’s the only way of getting back to the start 

Click on the icon below for the route map (subscribers to OS Maps can view detailed maps of the route, visualise it in aerial 3D, and download the GPX file. Non-subscribers will see a base map)

Scroll down – or click on any photo to enlarge it and you can then view as a slideshow

Previous walk: « | Next walk: »