Lake District walk - Whitbarrow
- Credit: John Lenehan
The views from the top of Whitbarrow are among the finest you’ll find anywhere and the walk up there is magnificent too
Whitbarrow is a hill with a wood covered eastern flank which dominates the Lyth Valley while its western flank offers a completely different face This side is a huge limestone escarpment. I had never visited this hill although it has caught my eye many times from the village of Arnside from where it looks particularly impressive. It turned out to be a magnificent walk with truly 360 degree panoramic views from the summit.
1. Leave the car and walk up the road into the village and onto a T Junction and turn right. There is a sign saying ‘Beck Head Only’. The road forks, take the right fork and follow a track steeply uphill towards Buckhouse Wood. Reach a sign with a yellow arrow pointing left saying ‘Public Footpath Beck Head’, and a blue arrow pointing right saying ‘Public Bridleway’. Take the bridleway right and follow the wide track. Keep left at the stone gate posts of Whitbarrow Lodge, which was once owned by William Farrer a historian and writer. The track leads into the drive of a house, do not go into the drive but keep left and a track leads past the gable of the house now on the right.
The track becomes a path and eventually reaches a metal gate that leads into a track to another metal gate onto the road leading to the buildings of Ravens Lodge. Go through the gates, turn left and follow the road uphill to the farm yard then turn right and keep right as the road forks. Follow the road to the house at Rawsons.
2. The road bends sharp right and at this point turn immediately left and go past the front of the house and uphill to some steps through a gap in a wall, then keep on the path and cross a gate stile and follow the path as it zig-zags steeply uphill. The path reaches a track. Do not cross the track and take what seems to be a continuation of the path you are on, turn right onto the track and follow this uphill.
3. The track forks with the more obvious track going straight on, take the less obvious track going to the left. Follow the track as it climbs steadily uphill through the woods and eventually pass a wooden gate on the left and reach a second wooden gate on the left.
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4. To the right of the gate is a stile, cross this and follow the ever steeper path uphill and where the path forks, keep left and carry on to reach a more prominent track. Turn right and follow the track up to a stile crossing a wall. Cross the stile and then turn left and follow the path over mostly bare limestone to reach the summit cairn at Lords Seat.
Note: The views are simply breath taking from the summit. This is a place that needs a clear day and a nice packed lunch so you can sit and take in the panorama. Lords Seat is a pretty apt name.
5. A permitted path leads south towards Farrer’s Allotment and is obviously the most used route. Follow this as it makes its way steadily downhill, passing cairns on the way to eventually reach a stile in a wall. Cross the stile and follow the path as it carries on downhill then bends sharp right and descends steeply into the woods.
Once in the woods there are white marker arrow as guides but basically keep on the path and reach and cross a gate stile and keep left going downhill to a gap in a wall. Go through this and turn right and follow the path downhill until it reaches a junction with a bench seat on the left and here turn right, away from the bench, and follow the white arrow pointing downhill and then another white arrow pointing left again downhill.
6. The path reaches the bridleway that the walk first joined. Turn right and retrace the route back to the car.
Start/finish: Road side parking just off A590 near Mill Side.
Distance: 7 miles/11.26km
Terrain: Good walking on tracks and paths although a steep descent through the woods at the end certainly tests the tired legs as the first part of the walk to the summit is mostly uphill. Light boots or good walking shoes will be fine.
Time: 4 hours
Map: OS Explorer OL7 The English Lakes South Eastern Area