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Looking south as we descended from Ghyll Pool towards Hundhowe
Looking south as we descended from Ghyll Pool towards Hundhowe

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Route No. 720 - Thursday 3 May 2018
Staveley, Barley Bridge, Littlewood Farm,
Potter Tarn, Gurnal Dubs, Hundhowe,
River Kent circuit - 9.5km
English Lake District . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL7 The English Lakes, South Eastern Area


Looking across the River Kent from our parking spot on the northern edge of Staveley
Looking across the River Kent from our parking spot on the northern edge of Staveley

We are staying with a group of friends in a very grand 'Holiday Cottage' on the edge of Windermere town below the view point at Orrest Head for a few days this week. We all meet for a walk together once a month and every year we have a few days together in a comfortable cottage and a few nice walks. Each of our three walks this week is led by a different member of our group.

Parking area next to the River Kent
Parking area next to the River Kent

Barley Bridge over the River Kent at Staveley
Barley Bridge over the River Kent at Staveley

Narrow lane between the houses
Narrow lane between the houses

Then we turned left up a narrow lane between the houses. There is a green public footpath sign fixed to the wall of a white painted house at the turning. Beyond the houses the main track goes into a storage yard and our path goes through a gate to the right of the yard. We followed the path across the field to another gate and through this gate we started to climb up the hillside that quickly became as steep as I could manage.

This morning we drove to Staveley, about 6km east of Windermere. We parked in a little parking area by the River Kent at the northern end of the village at map ref. SD 469 988. From our parking spot we walked back along the road towards the village for about 150m and then turned left to cross Barley Bridge over the River Kent. Across the bridge we turned right and walked along the road next to the river for about 30m.

Walking along the road ro Barley Bridge
Walking along the road to Barley Bridge

About to turn off the road  to the path up the hillside
About to turn off the road to the path up the hillside


We took the right hand fork round the storage yard on our left


The hillside quickly became as steep as I could manage


The rocky fell on the opposite side of the River Kent

After this stone step stile the gradient was much easier
After this stone step stile the gradient was much easier


Dropping down towards Littlewood Farm

We continued on up the hillside to a stone step stile about 600m from the start of the climb. Beyond this stile the gradient was much less severe and we continued across the sheep pasture for another 500m to Littlewood Farm.

Looking back there was a lovely view across the valley of the River Kent in the morning sunshine. About half way up the hillside there was a very tall ladder stile, about 3m from the ground to the stile platform due to the steepness of the slope.

Ladder stile about half way up the hill side
Ladder stile about half way up the hill side

A spring walk is not complete without some lambs
A spring walk is not complete without some lambs

A good crop of untrampled spring grass feeds the lambs to give the Sheep Farmer his annual income from their sale
A good crop of untrampled spring grass feeds the lambs to give the Sheep Farmer his annual income from their sale

Arriving at Littlewood Farm
Arriving at Littlewood Farm

Heading out to the road through Littlewood Farm
Heading out to the road through Littlewood Farm

Our left turn to Birk Field farm
Our left turn to Birk Field farm

The path goes through this gate and round the side of the farm
The path goes through this gate and round the side of the farm

We came to a turning on the left at map ref. SD 482 990, leading to Birk Field farm. At the farm we followed this track through a farm gate and along the side of the farm to cross a bridge over a stream and then turned right at map ref. SD 485 990.

We walked through the farmyard to the road where we met the farmer who told us that the gate across the road southeast of the farm was completely buried in a snow drift earlier this year. At the road we turned right and followed the road through the gate the farmer had mentioned.


The farmer told us that this gate had been completely buried in a snow drift earlier this year

Access road into Birk Field farm
Access road into Birk Field farm

Through this gate we crossed a stream & then turned right
Through this gate we crossed a stream & then turned right

We followed the path next to the stream
We followed the path next to the stream

We followed the path next to the stream
We followed the path next to the stream

After this gate we crossed an access track at right angles
After this gate we crossed an access track at right angles . . .

There had been lots of hills so far so we took a quick breather
There had been lots of hills so far so we took a quick breather

We began a climb up the hillside along the footpath opposite and after about 600m we came over the crest of the hill to see Potter Tarn ahead on our left.

We followed the path across the fields next to the stream for about 150m to a gate in the stone wall. Through the gate we crossed a stony track running parallel to the wall.

We followed the path next to the stream
We followed the path next to the stream

began to climb the path up this rocky hill
. . . and began to climb the path up this rocky hill

Over this stile was our first proper view of Potter Tarn
Over this stile was our first proper view of Potter Tarn

Potter Tarn with its dam at the right hand end seen from the top of the stile
Potter Tarn with its dam at the right hand end seen from the top of the stile

Starting the climb from Potter Tarn to Gurnal Dubs
Starting the climb from Potter Tarn to Gurnal Dubs

Climbing the hillside from Potter Tarn to Gurnal Dubs
Climbing the hillside from Potter Tarn to Gurnal Dubs

Apparently there were originally three small natural tarns here that have been made into one large tarn by the construction of a dam at the south western end of the tarn. It's a pretty setting and after admiring the view the group returned the way they had come back to Potter Tarn.

After some discussion three of us decided to wait here at Potter Tarn whilst the rest of the group continued along the path below the dam at Potter Tarn and climbed up the hillside beyond for about 700m to another tarn called Gurnal Dubs.

Climbing the hillside from Potter Tarn to Gurnal Dubs
Climbing the hillside from Potter Tarn to Gurnal Dubs

Nearing the top of the climb from Potter Tarn to Gurnal Dubs
Nearing the top of the climb from Potter Tarn to Gurnal Dubs

Gurnal Dubs showing the path across the dam at the right hand side of the photo
Gurnal Dubs showing the path across the dam at the right hand side of the photo

The path from Potter Tarn Dam took us past this marshy area
The path from Potter Tarn Dam took us past this marshy area

After a few hudred metres there was Ghyll Pool below us
After a few hundred metres there was Ghyll Pool below us

The dam at Ghyll Pool
The dam at Ghyll Pool

The whole scene looked quite inviting so we found some comfortable seats on the fallen tree for our lunch break. It was a pretty setting for our lunch with the water from the pool cascading over the dam and flowing past our lunch spot.

On their return we three re-joined the group and we all followed the path heading south from the dam at Potter Tarn. About 400m from the Potter Tarn dam we came to Ghyll Pool below us on our left where there was a fallen tree lying next to the stream.

The path away from Potter Tarn heading down to the R. Kent
The path away from Potter Tarn heading down to the R. Kent

Path heading down past Ghyll Pool
Path heading down past Ghyll Pool

Spillway over the dam at Ghyll Pool
Spillway over the dam at Ghyll Pool

Our lunch stop by the stream from Ghyll Pool
Our lunch stop by the stream from Ghyll Pool

Path heading down towards Hundhowe
Path heading down towards Hundhowe

Path turned sharp right here still heading for Hundhowe
Path turned sharp right here still heading for Hundhowe

Passing through Hundhowe
Passing through Hundhowe

After another 500m we passed Hundhowe farm where the footpath became a bridleway and continued following the bridleway along the farm access road to the minor public road at map ref. SD 493 977.

After our break we continued along the public footpath heading down the hillside. After just a few hundred metres the field path became a farm track.

Path heading down towards Hundhowe
Path heading down towards Hundhowe

Passing through Hundhowe
Passing through Hundhowe

Access road from Hundhowe to the public road
Access road from Hundhowe to the public road

Peter, today's walk leader, indicating a right turn at the road below
Peter, today's walk leader, indicating a right turn at the road below

Heading about 150m along the road to Hagg Foot
Heading about 150m along the road to Hagg Foot

Turning left off the road at Hagg Foot farm
Turning left off the road at Hagg Foot farm

Straight ahead there used to be a bridge over the River Kent but it was washed away in the storms last winter. We turned right following a public footpath through some woodland called Beckmickle Ing, owned by the Woodland Trust.

At the road we turned right and walked along the road for about 50m and then we turned left off the road to follow a path around Hagg Foot farm and down a track to the River Kent.

About to turn left off the road at Hagg Foot
About to turn left off the road at Hagg Foot

Track from Hagg Foot farm to the River Kent
Track from Hagg Foot farm to the River Kent

The bridge straight ahead was destryed in the winter storms. We turned right along the river bank through Beckmickle Ing Wood
The bridge straight ahead was destroyed in the winter storms. We turned right along the river bank through Beckmickle Ing Wood

Entering Beckmickle Ing Wood, a Woodland Trust site
Entering Beckmickle Ing Wood, a Woodland Trust site

Path through Beckmickle Ing Wood to the road
Path through Beckmickle Ing Wood to the road

At the road we turned left and walked along this quiet road for about 700m. Along the way we passed the point where the river bank path emerges on to the road from the Woodland Trust site. At map ref. SD 482 980 we turned left off the road to follow a public footpath across the fields.

We followed the footpath along the river bank for about 200m where the path forked. We took the right hand fork following the public footpath leading up to the road, but the left hand fork is a permissive path along the river bank and up to the road at the end of the Woodland Trust land and would probably have been a better route.

Path through Beckmickle Ing Wood
Path through Beckmickle Ing Wood

Following the road towards Staveley
Following the road towards Staveley

Friendly & inquisitive horses where we turned off the road on to a path across the fields
Friendly & inquisitive horses where we turned off the road on to a path across the fields

'Horse Whisperer' Rob arriving safely at the far side of the field
'Horse Whisperer' Rob arriving safely at the far side of the field

Continuing along the field path heading for Staveley Park
Continuing along the field path heading for Staveley Park

From here the path followed the River Kent
From here the path followed the River Kent

Path by the River Kent part screened by trees
Path by the River Kent part screened by trees

We came to Staveley Park farm where the path was back on the bank of the River Kent. The village of Staveley was now on the far side of the river and along the way we noticed a cafe with a large car park next to a weir across the river. After about 250m the river bank path came out on to the road.

As we entered the first field two horse with black & white pinto markings trotted across the field to us and as we crossed the field they escorted our friend Rob, one on either side all to way to the next stile. (Rob is probably a secret 'horse whisperer') We crossed the stile and continued along the path across the fields.

Continuing along the field path heading for Staveley Park
Continuing along the field path heading for Staveley Park

Passing Staveley Park heading for the path by the River Kent
Passing Staveley Park heading for the path by the River Kent

Path by the River Kent part screened by trees
Path by the River Kent part screened by trees

Cafe by the weir that we visited after the walk
Cafe by the weir that we visited after the walk

The river side path joined the road here
The river side path joined the road here

Following the road back to Barley Bridge
Following the road back to Barley Bridge

The whole walk had been 9.5km and it had taken around three & a half hours to walk including our lunch stop. We drove back to the cafe & car park that we had spotted across the river, next to the weir, for a drink & a nibble to round off our walk.

At the road we turned left to walk along the road for about 300m back to Barley Bridge. We crossed the bridge and then turned right to walk along the road back to our cars at the little parking area and the end of our walk.

Following the road back to Barley Bridge
Following the road back to Barley Bridge

Wier on the River Kent just upstream of Barley Bridge
Weir on the River Kent just upstream of Barley Bridge

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