Witherslack Woodland and Limestone.

Start. The Derby Arms, Witherslack.

Route. The Derby Arms - Latterbarrow - Longrowe End - High Fell End - Yewbarrow - Lawns House - Witherslack Hall - Whitbarrow Scar - Lord's Seat - Buckhouse Wood - Low Fell End - The Derby Arms.

Notes. It's been four weeks since I twisted my ankle, after our wander over Whernside the other week I've concluded walking up's ok, down, not so good, with this piece of important information in mind I decided to have a ramble around Witherslack culminating in a traverse of Whitbarrow. Ignoring all logic I decided to make my descent through Buckhouse Wood, steep, loose and slippery. To the affairs of the day, Latterbarrow, Yewbarrow and Whitbarrow plus a fair slice of woodland, excellent views on a stunning day well worth all the pain.

I left the car at the Derby Arms, after a short walk east along the tarmac surface of the old road a finger-post invited me to High Fell End via Latterbarrow Nature Reserve. By woodland and field paths I wandered before reaching the cottages at High Fell End, with tarmac under foot I ascended Church Road to be met by another finger-post, Witherslack Hall, this path I followed on the long easy ascent through mixed woodland, before reaching Witherslack Hall. A short detour was called for, little Yewbarrow with it's stunning views is a must, please don't pass it by. From Witherslack Hall I made my way to Whitbarrow, scanning the massive cliffs of Chapel Head and Black Yews Scars it's difficult to pick out a route of ascent, but there is one. After passing the football field a gate allowed access to High Crag Wood, I passed through it then turned left, after a few hundred yards of easy walking a path immerging from the right marked the start of my ascent, easy at first before the path steepened considerably. Honed out of the cliff face, if it wasn't for the trees this would be a very exposed ascent, in no time at all I found myself striding out on the broken limestone plateau, my aiming point the large cairn on Lord's Seat the actual summit.

After sitting a while soaking up the views and there are plenty of them, I turned south. Just over a mile and a half of superb walking followed, passing through a landscape laid down in a tropical ocean 350 million years ago, it's a wonderful place this plateau above the scars, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a National Nature Reserve, part of the Morecambe Bay Pavements Special Area of Conservation, just some of it's credentials. Unfortunately I soon found myself entering Buckhouse Wood, a careful descent followed before I stepped onto the old turnpike road. I followed the path through Low Fell End before joining the tarmac of the not so old Barrow Trunk Road, now disused, replaced by the modern road to Barrow a few yards to my left. Striding out with tarmac under foot I followed the old road back to the Derby Arms, a mile of easy walking with the drone of traffic on the A5901 Trunk Road hardly noticeable.

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The Derby Arms backed by the impregnable limestone cliffs of Whitbarrow, seen from part of the old road to Barrow, almost traffic free.

Seen from the fields below High Fell End, the Newton Fells, Eller How and Raven Scar.

Viewing the limestone cliffs of Whitbarrow from the lane at High Fell End.

This is a wonderful path to wander along, the woods have no name on the map, old Wainwright used to invent names, so lets call it Church Wood in his memory, as Church Road runs along it's length.

On little Yewbarrow with a stunning view to a dappled skyline of Lakeland giants.

To the east the massive cliffs of Whitbarrow Scar, Black Yews Scar and Chapel Head Scar.

Looking to Farleton Fell and Hutton Roof Crags from the summit of Yewbarrow, in the foreground, Faulshaw Marsh and the Kent Channel.

Rising high above the Winster Valley the scree and cliffs of Black Yews Scar, on the far horizon the Kentmere fells.

On the ascent to Whitbarrow on a narrow path carved out of the cliff face, a break in the trees gifts me with wonderful views north over High Park Wood and the Winster Valley.

In the other direction green pastures carry the eye to upper Morecambe Bay and Arnside Knott.

Free of the trees with wonderful views over the valley of the River Winster, across the skyline the Newton Fells, rising from the trees in the middle distance Yewbarrow a dwarf with stunning views.

Viewing Arnside Knott across the Kent Channel, grey on the far horizon the Bowland fells above Lancaster.

Heading for the summit of Whitbarrow looking back to Gummer's How, under cloud to the right the Coniston massif.

From the summit stunning views to the south taking in Arnside Knott, Morecambe Bay and the Forest of Bowland.

Views don't get much better than this, dappled light across the Winster Valley with the Coniston massif under cloud, to the right the unmistakable Langdale Pikes.

The views up here make you dizzy, what to look at next, ah! Scout Scar across Lyth Valley backed by a Howgill skyline.

My route off the summit, south towards Arnside Knott with every chance I'll be stopping often to admire the scenery.

Laying under a dark cloud in shadow Lord's Seat and Chapel Head Scar.

Above Buckhouse Wood about to start my descent, below Faulshaw Marsh backed by the Kent Channel and Arnside Knott.

Seen over the meandering Kent Channel, Farleton Fell and Hutton Roof Crags with the flat top of Ingleborough on the skyline to the left.

My route of descent on paths honed out of the cliff face by Victorian entrepreneurs, cut to allow fell trekking ponies passage, carrying well healed Victorian gentle folk dressed in their finery to enjoy the views we've just sampled.

A clearing with a seat, accompanied by views to the south.

I've escaped the narrow paths to be greeted by this, the original turnpike running from Beathwaite Green (Levens) to the Black Bull, Witherslack, built around 1817, this metalled road clings to high ground, before the introduction of drainage all the land to the south would have been inundated by the waters of Morecambe Bay at high tide.

With tarmac under foot and the hum of traffic from the A5901 in my ears, I'm wandering along the old road to Barrow, almost free of traffic used mainly by cyclists and walkers, a final look back to Whitbarrow.

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