A circular walk to Furness Abbey

Following in the footsteps of the Cistercian monks, The Cistercian Way, takes in Piel and Roa islands, culminating at Cartmel Priory. It covers 25 miles and takes two or three days to complete. Although it is hugely popular, it is a big commitment, especially for those with young families. Luckily, it is possible to get a flavour of it by walking smaller sections.

One of the must-see sights on the Cistercian Way is the 900-year-old ruin of Furness Abbey, once one of the most influential religious buildings in England. Set in the Vale of Nightshade, south of Dalton-in-Furness, it dominates the area. If you’re wondering why nightshade is growing this far north, it’s probably because the monks planted it for medicinal purposes: don’t be tempted to eat the berries; they’re highly toxic.

This walk is one of the easiest ways to see the abbey. It’s a circular, mostly flat, walk of about three miles and is pushchair and wheelchair friendly, making it ideal for families.

Begin on Flass Lane, at the Red River Club. The path you are going to follow, runs aside the beck and is opposite the club. Follow the path through Park House Farm. The railway line will be on your right. This part moves uphill and you will be able to see Furness Abbey before you.

Now go onto Manor Road and from here, you will be able to explore the abbey. It is an English Heritage property, so check opening times. If you’re hungry, it’s a pretty special place to enjoy a picnic.

When you’re done, head left on Manor Road, following it through to Rating Lane, then turn left and follow it down to the roundabout. Here, take the first left onto Flass Lane and return to the start point.

visitbarrow.org.uk for more details.

How to get there

From most directions, follow the M6 to Junction 36, leading to the A590, with towns being signposted from here. Manchester to Cartmel takes approximately one and a half hours and Kendal to Ulverston is about 40 minutes.

If you prefer public transport, there are regular bus services within the area and Northern Rail have links from most North West locations to Ulverston, Barrow, Grange-over-Sands and Dalton. Check northernrailway.co.uk for details.