A weekend walk with Bob Clare of www.lancashirewalks.com
Travelling north on the M6 if you blink you might miss Arnside and Silverdale. The low wooded hills to the west of the motorway form part of the smallest AONBs. (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) Small it maybe but in just 29 square miles it squeezes a lot in. The underlying geology is carboniferous limestone which is more evident on two prominent hills – Warton Crag to the south and Arnside Knott above the Kent Estuary. These provide bookends for what is in between – woods, grassland and marsh. The RSPB reserve at Leighton Moss has the largest area of reed beds in the North West of England. Nearby Gait Barrows National Nature Reserve is home to rare plant and butterfly species. For walkers the area is a delight with a network of footpaths and bridleways offering countless choices. So why isn’t the area better known outside of Lancashire? The main reason is the M6 itself which coveys tourists and holiday makers just a short distance further on into the more celebrated Lake District leaving this beautiful gem of a place for the discerning few. Shush – let’s keep it that way!
Start: Cinderbarrow Picnic Area LA5 9RX
Distance: 5 miles
Time: 2 - 3 hours
Map: OS OL7 The English Lakes South eastern area
From the car park return to the lane and turn left. Keep ahead soon cross the railway bridge before arriving at the Lancaster Canal. Access the tow path through a small gate on the right and then turn left passing below the bridge. Keep on the tow path until you pass under the next bridge. A short distance beyond it go through a metal gate and turn right onto a track that crosses the railway and then bends left. Before the next bend turn (very) sharp right onto a footpath that leads down to a garden behind a property in the hamlet of Hilderstone. On the lane turn right and walk 200yds along the lane until you reach a bridleway on the left. Turn into it and follow it for the next ½ mile until you arrive on the busy A6. Cross the road with care – there is a tendency for motorists to regard this stretch of road as the long straight of Brands Hatch. Turn left and using the grass verge walk for 250yds to locate a stile half hidden in the hedge row. Go over this into a churned up paddock and cross at an angle aiming to the right of a cluster of agricultural buildings on the far side. The next stile is not easy to locate as well being hidden by tall clumps of nettles until you are almost on top of it. It is approximately 40yds to the right of the nearest farm building. Over this keep ahead to the next corner with hedgerow on your left. At the corner bear right to go through a gate leading onto an enclosed path within woodland. Follow the path as it edges along White Moss an area of wooded heathland on the Lancashire/Cumbria border. After 300yds the path becomes a bridleway as it briefly joins a drive leading to a small holding. Still maintaining the same westerly direction keep on the bridleway until it reaches a pronounced bend to the right. Here turn left through a pedestrian gate into a field and walk up to a second small gate. Through this bear right to the far corner of the meadow to arrive on a lane.
The next section of the walk takes you into the dense woods that adorn the low hills above the Yealands. Cross the lane to a footpath that begins to climb behind properties on the lane you have just left. Keep ahead climbing more steadily on a clear path for 400yds to reach an upland field. Here bear right following the fence and then at a stile re-enter woodland. Now in Cringlebarrow Wood stay on the path as it gently descends to a footpath junction. Here turn right in the direction of Leighton Hall. The path descends through woodland for 300yds. As it levels out be alert for a fainter path leading left. This takes you past Deepdale Pond a magical secret place where legend has it Tom Finney was given his boots by a Phantom Pixie. Keep ahead to join a more defined path that leads back up to the escarpment. Keep on the path until it reaches a wall down which you need to scramble to re-join the main ridge path. Turn left go through a squeeze stile next to a sign post and after a short distance bear right onto a path that starts a descent towards Yealand Redmayne. It takes you across a band of meadow and after re-entering woods goes left on a steady descent to the edge of the village. On reaching the lane keep ahead to the next corner. Here go down Well Lane to its end where a private road begins. Turn left onto a grassy bridleway that doglegs towards a large farmhouse. As you near the property go left still on the bridleway to the next dogleg. Here a footpath allows you to cut a corner to Nineteen Acre Lane. Cross to a stile in the wall. On the lane walk 500yds to the A6 crossing it to reach your starting point.