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A nostalgic Windermere meander
THIS was my last walk for 2011 and I planned it first as I was reading through an old diary which I had written in 1961. I had just been talking to Sam Hannah who was a film maker concentrating on the old country crafts. I had given him one of a collection of old photographs which I had collected. One was of the old Row Boat ferry, which crossed Windermere at the Ferry House Hotel. This building is now the laboratories of the Fresh Water Biological Association. The route of this stroll leads through woodlands, which I can remember was once full of charcoal burners pitsteads and working huts. It is hard to believe these days that the Lake District was then an Industrial area. There were iron furnesses all over and they all used charcoal as fuel. I loved this walk because I really was walking through the middle of Industrial History.
From the Windermere Ferry look to see Ferry House on the left. Just beyond is the Ash Landing car park, which is the starting point.
Route 1 Look for a small sign indicating Ash Landing Nature Reserve. Do the circuit of the reserve and enjoy a smashing nature walk. Keep a notebook handy. Then return to the obvious shore path. The road swings to the right and follow a drive, which is a permissive footpath. Turn left along the road with woodlands on each side, this reaches Fellborough. Look out for an obvious footpath to the left, which takes you back to the lake shore.
2 Follow the lakeside path for almost a mile to reach Rawlinson Nab. Look over the lake to see Storrs Temple on the opposite shore. This is really a lesson in British History because it celebrates the Admirals Nelson, Blake, Duncan and St Vincent. It was built in 1804, showing that Nelson was famous even before Trafalgar. Cross Cunsey Beck by a footbridge and here were once the woodlands and the base for the charcoal burners. This is also a place to watch the water birds so have your camera ready. Follow the winding path over some stiles to reach Low Cunsey Farm. Here there is a choice of routes but be sure to follow the blue markers. Look out for a large building, which was once an important iron forge dating back to the 17th Century.
3 As the obvious track ends ignore a gate and head straight on to a narrow path lined with mixed woodland. Look to the left to see a high deer fence. Pass over a stile and turn right onto a road. You reach a junction at Eel House. Turn right to reach Eel Bridge. In 2011 there has been an effort to increase the population of eels in Windermere and to pursuade more people to eat them. From the bridge continue along the road for about a quarter of a mile and turn right along a footpath pointing to Far Sawrey.
4 Enter Bishop Wood, which was once another iron smelting area. Leave the wood and pass over stiles and through gates to reach fields. After a kissing gate turn left and then sharp right and close to a church. Squeeze through several kissing gate to reach the road at Bryers Fold. Turn right along a road and then reach the car park and the starting point.
Map: OS Explorer OL7
Grid Reference: 388 953
Distance: 5.5 miles
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.