Continuing our series of walking the great views – oh, and by the way, a bit of a hint, always make sure you have clear weather when you decide to try these routes – this week we go to Grange-over-Sands.
Over the years Grange has picked up a bit of a reputation as being a place where people retire to and so tends to close about six o’clock in the evening. It needs to rebrand itself as a great centre for walking. The Cistercian Way a 24-mile trail starts in Grange, while the 75 mile Furness Way passes close to the village. This walk uses part of the Furness Way to climb to an unusual feature – the Hospice which is located on the highest part of Hampsfell, just to the north of Grange.
Start: Grange-over-Sands village centre LA11 6AB
Distance: 3 miles 5k
Time: 1 ½ - 2 ½ hours
Summary: Although Hampsfell is not high (721feet 220m) the approach through the village is steep so strenuous then.
Map: OS OL7 The English Lakes South-eastern area
From the Victorian clock tower on Main Street follow the road round past the post office to the road junction with Kents Bank Road.
Cross to Grange Fell Road with the library to the right and commence a long climb up the hill. This is a slog but spare a thought to the people who live on this hill and have to carry their shopping up it every day.
After passing the Fell Church on the left the road soon leaves the residential area and fields appear to the right. The way becomes less steep.
Look for Meadowbank Lane also on the left before crossing a stile onto a footpath on the right. The path crosses a corner of a meadow to reach a narrow lane – Spring Bank Road. Cross directly over to a stile and then bear right away from the wall climbing upward through gorse on a faint path leading to the ridge.
Here gorse gives way to grass and as you reach a cairn the worse of the climb is over. The way ahead is clear with the path dipping down to a wall and then continues towards the highest point.
Grass gives way to limestone and exposed pavement with hawthorn trees shaped by the prevailing wind. The squat rectangular building ahead is the hospice.
This modest fell is a superb platform for viewing a great swath of the country around Morecambe Bay and the south Lakes.
On top of the hospice there is an old fashioned direction indicator to help you pick out features on the landscape.
Southwards beyond the Kent estuary lies Lancashire with Heysham Power Station an obvious feature on the coastline – a non-squat rectangular building. To the north the high fells of Lakeland with the Coniston Fells particularly striking from this angle. It is a place to savour the view.
When you are done with savouring head eastwards away from the hospice – that is effect a right turn from the direction of your approach.
Over limestone the path will not be easy to discern but soon a wall will come into view. Bear right to reach a corner 250yds from the hospice.
Turn left at the corner to follow the wall downhill until it arrives at a fence. Just beyond this is a wooded track. Turn right. The track leads in 400yds to Spring Bank Lane.
When you reach it at a junction of paths follow the sign for Grange marked as 2/3 of a mile way. The track leads along the edge of Eggerslack Wood and then gently descends into the village.
Point of interest: Nowadays the word hospice has different connotations from its original meaning as a place of refuge and the one on Hampsfell built in 1846 was provided by a vicar from Cartmel as a shelter for walkers over the fell.
Among its curiosities are a Greek inscription and the four wall panels on the interior walls, three of dubious quality.
Still if you are stuck here in a storm they would provide diversion.