This is a pleasing four and a half mile walk through the quiet countryside to the east of Dalton-in-Furness. The route uses narrow lanes, tracks and limestone pastures where possible to avoid soggy pastures. But there are several fields where the underlying soil is clay, which clings too lovingly to your boots. These come early on the walk and, hopefully, are quickly forgotten as you progress.
Once Dalton-in-Furness was the largest town and had the most important market in Furness. It became prosperous in the 1100s because of the influence of the monks of Furness Abbey. Once the dissolution of the Abbey took place its fortunes declined. It was revived by the growth of the iron-mining industry in the 1800s but with the expansion of Ulverston and Barrow so Dalton’s relative importance diminshed. Today it is a small town with interesting shops along its main street and a pleasant place to start a good walk.
Park in the free car park at Dalton, grid ref 229742. Access this from Chapel Street.
1 Leave the car park by the pedestrian exit on to Market Street. Cross the road and walk uphill, right, with Dalton Castle standing solid at the top of the road. Well before it, turn left into Barrow Road, remaining on the left side. Very soon cross the often-dry Poaka Beck (not this year) and immediately beyond, turn left into Little Fields, a fenced track with the channel carrying the stream to your left. At the track end, turn right and climb uphill past The Railway pub. Cross the road bridge over the railway line and then bear left into Tantamount Lane. Follow the road and continue as it climbs slightly right, with houses on either side. At the top of the slope, where the road, swings right, turn left to walk over a grassy area to take a partly obscured signposted metal gate into fields.
2 Follow the hedge on the right to go through a wide gap. Pause here to look down the slope to see a hedge, a small shed, and a large pool of water beyond it. Descend the slope to the hedge, which edges a grassy track once an old mineral line. Turn left and, keeping the hedge to your right, walk the wide pasture to climb a stile into a narrow field. Go ahead to the next stile and then over another narrow pasture to a waymarked stile onto a track - this stile is in a poor condition and difficult to climb. Turn right onto a grassy track soon to take an easy-to-miss stile beyond which, descend some lovely limestone steps onto a wide track close to some agricultural sheds.
3 Continue ahead up the track, go through a gate and then on to a narrow road. Turn left and carry on, with dramatic views, right, of Stainton quarries. Go past Highfield farm. Descend the quiet road to take the well signed bridleway on your right. In spite of the long grass it provides fairly easy walking. Watch out for a stile on both sides of the way and go over the one on the left and walk ahead over a limestone pasture, remaining parallel with the boundary on your right. Where the later makes a bulge, right, squeeze through the limestone stile that gives access to a grassy area with fine limestone outcrops. Carry on beside the wall on your left for 300 yards and then move a short way from the wall, still continuing ahead, to join a wide grassy track. This passes through trees and a small pasture returning close to the wall again and a signposted stile on to a narrow road.
4 Turn left and walk the narrow, virtually traffic-free lane, for half a mile to reach stiles on either side. Take the one on the left and cross a narrow field to another stile onto another narrow road. Cross to go through the stile opposite to walk a large pasture, keeping beside the hedge on your right. This brings to a stile and from here you can see the next two stiles and a open gateway in a fence, above Standing Tarn, a quiet stretch of water with woodland on the far side. Descend to the limestone stile close to it and beyond climb the slope. Press on to reach a gate with a stile beside it, in the top right corner, which gives access onto a very narrow lane.
5 Turn right and almost immediately pass through the stiled hedge opposite. Walk through a lovely pasture, which all too soon descends to another stile in the bottom right corner. Beyond, bear left along a hedged path and then go on down a reinforced track to pass under a railway bridge. Turn right to join a road. Wind left with it to reach the main road through Dalton. Walk left, enjoying the varied shops and then ascend a little to go under the arch, on the right side of the road, to take the pedestrian entrance into the car park.
Distance: 4.5 miles
Time: 3 hours
Terrain: The first part of the walk is over clay and can be claggy after rain. The second part is on limestone and it is a joy to walk dry pastures. Many stiles, all but one quite easy. Some delightfully hedged, dry, narrow lane walking.
Map: OS Explorer OL6
NB: Restrictions on space mean that this article provides a general summary of the route. It is advisable for anyone who plans to follow the walk to take a copy of the relevant Ordnance Survey map.