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Walk Torver High Common with Coniston’s Old Man towering ahead
Torver High Common When I did part of this walk in 2005 we had difficulty finding our way over this remote area. Today there are waymarks, stiles, gates, and a footbridge but, alas, the boggy area still remains. Fortunately a path arcs round the worst of the mire. It is a lovely walk where you will most likely have the Common all to yourself. The views are superb with Coniston’s Old Man towering ahead of you for much of the way.
Park in the yard of the old school on the Coniston side of the village church, grid ref 287944, where there is an honesty box.
1 Turn left out of the parking area and cross the road when safe. Walk on until opposite the turn to Ulverston. After the first house on your right, take the signposted way beside it (signpost on road edge). A short way along go through the waymarked gate on the right to walk a pleasing path, with a wall on the left and hedged on the right. The way soon becomes sturdily walled on both sides. Where the track swings right, leave it to go ahead through a waymarked gate and continue on to reach a house. Pass in front of it and wind left to go through a signed gate, the left of two, to climb a walled rocky track into the conifer forest.
2 Follow the track as it winds up through the forest eventually reaching a gate out of the trees. Beyond, the track becomes wet and bare rock. Use all the little diversions up on either bank to help you progress as it winds right and then left, climbing steadily. When you reach a large clump of gorse growing across the now sunken track, take an indistinct path at the left side, where others have walked, and continue on this until you reach a gate at a wall corner. Once through, climb steadily beside the wall on your left and enjoy walking on a good grassy way.
3 Watch out for where the path goes through the wall, still on your left, by an easy stile. Then continue on the path, which leads you to a sturdy footbridge over Bull Haw Moss Beck. The path goes on quite wide at first and then still wide but very wet as it passes through this mirey area. Here look right for where a grassy way arcs right round this and then rejoins the track once more. Ignore a tempting stile on the right over a fence, instead follow the track, now in much better condition, as it winds left and climbs round a hillock. It bears right to come to several large heaps of quarry waste on your left. Here a beck flows out from under the waste. Wind slightly right to take a tiny way, left and down to reach the side of the beck, which you cross on stones to the opposite side.
4 Carry on, slightly right, on a grassy way to cross another beck. Here look downstream into charming Ash Gill to see the beck cascading attractively. Then follow the path as it winds left for a few steps, before bending right. It continues ahead, level, generally dry and keeping parallel with, but well away from, a rather tumbledown wall to your right. As you approach another area of slate waste, follow the path as it winds right of it. Enjoy the Common away to your right and the overshadowing heights to your left.
5 Pass the next area of slate waste still keeping to the right and then look ahead to see a derelict sheep pen also to your right. A short way along you reach a wide track, where you turn right. Pass beside the pen and go through the wall. Step across a beck to your right to join a good grassy track that descends steadily. Follow the way as it takes you between two huge quarry hollows. The one to your left has a deep pool and in summer magnificent vegetation clothes its steep sides. Also if you are descending by a track on its far side you can see where the beck you crossed earlier descends in a magnificent well-known waterfall.
6 A little of the beck escapes and tumbles on down a gill to your left. Follow the path that winds over a hillock and then keeps safely away from the edge of an enormous quarry hole, also pleasingly colonized by plants and trees. Descend the slope and pass through a narrow path between high-sided quarry waste to emerge onto a pasture and a waymark. Continue down and then wind left round the foot of the huge hill of slate waste to go through a gap at the end of the wall to reach a path. Follow this to a gate into a fenced gathering area for sheep.
7 Go through the gate opposite to join a good track. Cross the bridge over the beck and carry on along the fine walled track. Follow this all the way to where it winds sharp left. Wind round with it and then right to descend to the Coniston road. Bear right here and walk with care until you can cross to a pavement on the other side and the entrance to the car park.
Distance: 3.75 miles/6.2km
Time: 2-3 hours
Terrain: walking boots required. Most tracks and paths good except for the one below the conifers and beyond.
Map: OS Explorer OL 6. Mark up the route before you set off.
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.