Weekend walk: Beetham

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with Bob Clare of www.lancashirewalks.com

The Arnside/Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty straddles the border between Lancashire and Cumbria. Because of its proximity to the Lake District it is almost completely overlooked by visitors to the North West. Lynda’s walk described below serves as a fine introduction to a rich and varied landscape with one of the best views in the country.

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Walk Facts
Start: Beetham Parish Church LA7 7AL.
Parking is limited in the village. If a problem try Heron Corn Mill (LA7 7PQ) for a courtesy car park at £2.00 a day.
Distance: 6 miles
Time: 3 - 4 hours
Grade: Moderate. Note that the walk passes through three separate woods which can complicate wayfinding even with these excellent directions.
Maps: OS OL7 The English Lakes South eastern area

Directions
1. With the church on your right keep ahead on Church Street until you reach the last house on the left. Just beyond it turn left into a long field sloping upwards towards the woods of Whin Scar. Enter the woods through a wooden gate and follow a wide path that goes to the right before climbing between fences to a path junction. Here follow the waymark right and soon after go left on a broad track leading gently upwards. Pass a cemented cairn in the direction of the Fairy Steps. Beyond a thinning of trees you will reach a broad limestone platform the edge of which features “The Fairy Steps” a narrow cleft in the cliff leading down 20ft or so. With care most people ought to negotiate their way down. Back in May 21 Dotcom Walkers all happily retired managed it without mishap but for those who suffer from claustrophobia or wear size 18 and over there is an easier alternative to the left of the shelf. If you manage to walk down (or up) the Fairy Steps without touching the sides a fairy will appear and grant you a wish. Mine would have been ending this Brexit nightmare before we all go mad but alas I’m not far off a size 18 myself and it was a bit of a squeeze. Once down a clear and straight path leads through the woods, crosses two fields to deposit you in the hamlet of Hazelslack.

2. Hazelslack has a peel tower which you will see as you approach the settlement. Peel towers and fortified farmhouses are very much a feature of this part of Cumbria built at the time of a fluid Scottish border and lawless reivers. Turn right on the lane when you reach it and walk along for 200yds to a footpath sign on the right with a stone stile next to a metal gate. Diagonally cross the field to a step stile in its corner. Over this turn left and follow the wall traversing two large fields. As you come near the end of the second bear slightly right to a gate leading into a neck of woodland. Keep ahead on a rocky track to exit at a wooden gate and a squeeze stile. From here cross another large field in the direction of Cockshot Lane which is diagonally right from this corner. On the far side re-enter woodland at a stile and follow a narrow path taking a right fork in 100yds and then keeping straight until you arrive at a stone stile leading onto Cockshot Lane. Turn right. Walk along the lane for 300 yds. and then turn left once again into woodland. In a little over 170yds the track swings right towards a property. Close to this point go left at a track junction. Now continuing almost northwards keep on the track for ¼ mile. After a half hidden ruin of a utility building follow the path round to a wooden gate leading into pastureland with the most wonderful view of the upper Kent estuary and a wide sweep of the Lakeland Fells and Howgills. If you are blessed with a clear day as we were when we checked the walk you will be mesmerised by the beauty of the scene. Pause and enjoy. After pausing and enjoying follow the wall on the right down to a field corner. Through the gate turn left on a narrow lane and walk along it for 250yds then turn onto a footpath that leads down to the Milnthorpe – Arnside Road (B5282) emerging close to a business centre.

3. Cross the junction to a footpath in the direction of Milnthorpe Bridge. Initially this takes you along a disused and tree lined railway to exit close to the confluence of the Rivers Kent and Bela. For the next part of the walk the Bela will be your handrail to the left. After the confines of the woods the contrast couldn’t be greater with the sense of spaciousness as you follow the fence to Milnthorpe Bridge. Re-cross the B5282 to the gated entrance of the Dallam Tower estate. After 50yds turn left through a metal kissing gate to resume contact with the Bela and enter the deer park. After 300yds the footpath meets another coming in from the right close to a stone footbridge on your left. Turn right to follow a well signed path crossing the park to take you back to Beetham.

- Walk devised by Lynda Battarbee of the Goosnargh Gang.
- Bob’s walks are now available as digital guides on the AllTrails website and App.