The Westmorland GazetteBeacon Tarn from Woodland (From The Westmorland Gazette)

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Beacon Tarn from Woodland

Park on the north side of the small triangle of grass and bushes in Woodland, grid ref 245896. Tuck well up on the verge as the lane is narrow and is used by large tractors.

This is always a pleasing walk at any time of the year. But attempt it on a long sunny day in May/June and it becomes magical. The verges and pastures are full of wild flowers and the trees still have soft green young leaves. Many migrants have arrived and taken up territories in the hawthorn bushes, ablaze with blossom, which are scattered over the fell. Then the tarn is reached, a lovely pool of blue surrounded by hills, with Dow Crag, the Old Man and Wetherlam overlooking all.

1 Walk ahead, away from the road through Woodland. Follow the hedged way into fine deciduous woodland where there is still enough light for the undergrowth to be brightened with greater stitchwort, bluebells, violets, and primroses. Go through the gate, onto open fell, carrying on the long access track to Climb Stile farm. Enjoy the extensive views. At the signpost, leave the access track, which swings away right, and descend beside the wall on your left. Go through the gate and walk the delightful walled track to reach the next gate. Step across Climb Stile Beck and, in several yards, take a green sward, right, through bracken, just beyond a wire fence. Continue up the grassy way.

2 Ignore the gated and fenced off stream on your right and carry on to cross the beck a short way up the gentle slope. Once across go ahead along the distinct track, walled to the right. Follow it as it begins to wind left and eventually comes beside woodland. Here Green Moor beck gurgles into the trees. Step across the ford and climb the steepish fell slope ahead to turn left onto a more substantial path coming in on your right. Continue on this and where it winds left at an insignificant junction of tracks and paths.

3 Just over a mile from the last ford and at a junction of paths, you can glimpse ahead Cockenskell farm, with woodland close by. Turn left here to begin your climb up Wool Knott. At first there are several awkward gulleys, some with water in, to cross but after these the way is easy and a joy to climb. Follow the path as it keeps left of some high ground and then stops. Step across a stream and make your way over some bog, where others have walked before, to join a good track you can see ahead.

4 Turn right and watch for your first glimpse of the tarn. Choose a knoll high up the slopes to enjoy the view and perhaps have your main break. Some walkers will wish to walk all round the tarn and from the vantage point, high above, you can see the route.

5 Return to the track you just joined and a short way along take a clear right turn. This leads you, delightfully, over high open ground that descends gently. Then comes the problem. At the lowest point, High Kep on the map, Mere Sike creates a very boggy area. Look ahead and walk where others have walked - don’t deviate. A short way ahead is the track you used on your way out; use that as your guide. When you reach it turn right. Continue on the track, ignoring the path, on the right, you came up on from the ford. When you reach two hawthorn trees, one on either side of the path, take a right turn (there is one before the trees and one after) to descend to the side of Green Moor Beck.

6 Continue along the side of the beck until you can cross it on a huge slab of slate. This is a corner where toddlers would love to paddle. Go through the gate. Walk ahead, with farm buildings to your right, and then along the delightful walled access track to a gate into Green Moor Wood. The way descends steadily through the splendid woodland to reach the narrow lane you first set out on. Your vehicle will be a little way along on the right.

Information

Distance: 7 miles

Time: 4 hours

Terrain: Good paths and tracks. Some can be muddy and two patches of bog can be tiresome.

Map: OS Explorer OL6. This is a help but not all the paths are marked on this lovely high level open access land.

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.

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