The River Kent, Sizergh and the Kendal Scars.

Start. Natland.

Route. Natland - Hawes Lane - Hawes Bridge - Larkrigg Spring Wood - Wilson Place - Nannypie Lane - Sizergh - Sizergh Castle - Brigsteer Wood - Helsington Church - Brigsteer Road - Helsington Barrows - Scout Scar - Cunswick Scar - Kendal Fell - Serpentine Wood - Queen's Road - Beast Banks - Garth Heads - Captain French Lane - Kirkland - Milnthorpe Road - South Road - Scroggs Wood - Hawes Bridge - Hawes Lane - Natland.

Notes. Bank Holiday weekends in the Lakes are usually fraught with slow moving traffic, on roads and fell paths, too many people, a price to pay for living in a perfect corner of these islands. I'm usually found wandering the Dales of Yorkshire on such weekends, but it seems more walkers have the same idea these days, so today I stayed in bed. I rose to the sound of bird song, the sun was shining, a perfect Spring day, I cursed my idleness, formulated a plan that included lunch at Sizergh Castle, then headed to Natland where I was guaranteed no Bank Holiday crowds.

Hawes Lane guided me out of the village depositing me at Natland Gorge, a spectacular limestone trough carved by the River Kent. I left the road via a small stile, the east bank of the river now guided me through sheep pastures along ancient track ways to Wilson Place. A splendid foot-bridge spans the river, I crossed to access Nannypie Lane. With tarmac under foot and the song of traffic for company Nannypie Lane guided me under the A591, the main artery into South Lakeland and on to the Strickland Arms. I ascended the lane behind the inn to be greeted by a finger-post inviting me to Heaves Farm, the path ascends Sizergh Fell but I turned right after the first field boundary, at the other end of this path, a short walk along the edge of a field was lunch in the Sizergh Castle café.

Lunch over I entered a rough lane at the north end of the car park, between dry stone walls I wandered, through a gate into sheep pastures and on to the edge of Brigsteer Wood. Rather than enter the wood I swung sharp right, ascending the hill on a path signed Brigsteer, I climbed into spectacular views before entering another lane, this deposited me at the 16th century Church of St John serving the parish of Helsington. I then wandered north, the access road to the church under foot and spectacular views for company, on reaching Brigsteer Road a finger-post invited me to Scout Scar, I obliged starting a wonderful saunter through splendid limestone scenery. Over broken limestone scree I wandered, through stunted vegetation into spectacular views above cliffs once washed by the sea, I passed the trig point then the mushroom (a popular local landmark) before descending to Underbarrow Road, I crossed said road to start the short traverse of Cunswick Fell.

The views from the summit cairn are even better than Scout Scar, unfortunately it was time to descend. To the south west I walked, through limestone sheep pastures, across Kendal By-pass then over Kendal Fell, one of many paths meandering through Serpentine Wood deposited me on the tarmac surface of Queen's Road. All Routes down hill lead to the River Kent, once in the company of said river I let the west bank guide me out of town. Passed Nether Bridge then Romney Bridge I wandered, along the edge of the Sewage Works, through Scroggs Wood into open fields, stiles aided my crossing of field boundaries before Hawes Bridge safely conveyed me over the river at Natland Gorge, all that remained a short road walk back to my starting point.

view route map.


Looking to Scout Scar above the Kent valley.

Honed from limestone over many millennia, Natland Gorge seen from Hawes Bridge.

Sheep pastures south of Hawes Bridge.

Calmer waters, the River Kent exits Natland Gorge.

Middleton and Barbon High Fells seen from Sizergh Fell.

Looking back along the track guiding me to Brigsteer Wood.

Rising high above Lyth Valley, Whitbarrow seen from the edge of Brigsteer Wood.

On the slopes of a nameless hill with views to the Barbon Fells for company....

....and an old friend Arnside Knott over Lyth Valley....

....before I strain my neck, Lyth Valley backed by a crown of esteemed Lakeland gems, from Coniston Old Man on the left to the Langdale Pikes far right.

Dating back to 1726 St John's Church serving the parish of Helsington.

Stunning panoramas over Lyth Valley, seen from the Church of St John.

Heading along the edge of Helsington Barrows, viewing Brigsteer Wood, the scattered community of Levens and the upper reaches of Morecambe Bay.

The cliffs of Scout Scar plunge into Lyth Valley.

Wandering along the ragged edge where limestone gives way to woodland and pastoral land.

Dappled light across the Kentmere Fells.

Timeless views across Lyth Valley.

It's a magic place this plateau above the scars, here's a views taken over Kendal.

The shelter on Scout Scar, locally known as the mushroom, built in 1911 to mark the Coronation of King George V.

From the edge of Scout Scar, Cunswick Scar seen over rolling farmland.

From the summit Cunswick Scar a stunning view across Lyth Valley, under cloud the Sca Fell massif.

The summer house in Serpentine Woods, built in 1833/4, sixpence was charged for it's use and access to the many paths through the woodland.

The River Kent as seen from Scroggs Wood.

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