Loweswater

Loweswater

Route: Loweswater and Holme Wood

Area : Western Lake District

Date of walk: 11th December 2019

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 5.7 miles

Ascent: 1,000 feet

Weather: Mostly cloudy, a couple of showers and some patches of sun

A combination of bad weather and a bad cough have kept me indoors for far too long. It was a relief when both cleared at last and I was able to put on my walking boots again. We decided to revisit Loweswater, as we’ve not been here for 6 months or so

This is one of our favourite local walks which, in the space of 6 miles, manages to cram in a huge variety of scenery including farmland, ancient woodland, a lake, a tarn, open moorland and a lonely valley. Along the way there are wonderful views over the Solway Plain looking north (including Scotland in clear weather) and to the high lakeland fells looking south

We parked as usual at Maggie’s Bridge where there is space for 8-10 cars. Instead of heading directly to Loweswater we followed the track to High Nook Farm, where Alfred Wainwright used to stay when he was researching his Guide to the Western Fells. After passing through the farmyard we carried on to the head of the valley before joining the wonderful terrace path above Holme Wood, which is an ancient coffin road from Loweswater to St Bees. The views from here are superb

The path contours around the sides of Carling Knott and Burnbank Fell and reaches a height of over 1,000 feet – higher than one or two lakeland fells. However the climbing is so gentle that it’s hardly noticed.  We carried on towards Fangs Brow, on the very edge of the Lake District, before turning back at Iredale Place and following the path past Jenkinson Place and Hudson Place. We then walked back through Holme Wood, and along the shore of Loweswater, passing by the bothy as we did so

The last section was an easy stroll along the track between Watergate Farm and Maggie’s Bridge. We’ve followed this route on numerous occasions at every time of the year and never tire of it

Postscript: since publishing this walk, I’ve been contacted by Alan Cleaver, author of The Corpse Roads of Cumbria. His research suggests that the terrace path was only cut in the 1964, and the local vicar in 1929 said that the tradition was that the corpse road went beside the lake through Holme Wood. This makes sense, as the terrace path involves an ascent of almost 1,000 feet. Alan thinks that the National Trust promoted it as a corpse road in the 1970’s, and the error had been repeated ever since

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