The Winster valley is my favourite area for low level walking in the Lake District so I make no apologies for returning to the peaceful countryside around Crosthwaite and Bowland Bridge. This walk starts from the A5074 at the junction of a minor road half a mile south of the Brown Horse Inn at Winster (GR SD 423 927). There is a large lay-by about 200 yards north of the junction and another the same distance on its south side.


Distance: 7 miles, ascent: 1,000 feet

Time: 3.5 hours

Terrain: Grassy and woodland footpaths and quiet lanes.

Map: OS Explorer OL7


1 Walk up the lane going south east from the A5074 and after passing the bungalow called Brackenrigg on your right, turn left onto the public footpath. Climb over two stone step stiles and cross the meadow to the gateway on the left (not the one diagonally opposite you) heading along the farm track in the valley. At the top of the hill, you pass through a gateway then go straight ahead downhill. The path then veers to the right along the edge of bracken covered hillside. Pass Foxhole Bank farm on your right then bear right through a gateway to pass to the right of a static caravan and meet the farm track that goes up to the road.

2 Turn right onto the road and after the first bungalow turn right onto the public bridleway through Starnthwaite Gill. The path goes round the mill development to the car park, through a metal gateway and then continues along the right side of the beck. Cross the road near the bridge and follow the path keeping the fence on your right. After crossing a wooden stile take the path going straight ahead through a field of newly planted trees, through a wicket gate and continue with the wood on your left. Cross over the tarmac farm track and go across the field to meet the road.

3 Cross the road to the footpath opposite which leads to Tarnside Farm straight ahead. Cross the main road and go along the quiet lane directly opposite. Enjoy the fine views down the length of the valley to your left. Turn left onto the footpath at the top of the hill. The footpath follows the wall on your left down to a gate in the middle of the wall at the bottom of the valley (not the one in the corner). It then goes over a small hill via a stile, down to a gap in the wall on your left, across a stream that emerges from a culvert, then turns right, crossing the field to a stile in the wall ahead. At the wall ahead you meet a farm track where you turn 90 degrees right to cross the valley, heading to the right of a white cottage.

4 After crossing Arndale Beck through two gates, go over the field to the double metal gates at Woodside Road, where you turn left then immediately right over a stone step stile onto the public footpath past a stone barn. Go straight ahead along the line of the overhead power lines to meet the road. Turn right to Bowland Bridge.

5 Visit the Hare and Hounds pub and the village shop then come back to the junction, cross the bridge and go immediately right onto the footpath signed Hollins Lane ¼ mile. Go through the wood and up to the right of two stone barns, over a stile and along the footpath below the woods.

6 When you reach Hollins, turn right and go down the field past a hawthorn tree by a rock. Cross the wooden gated footbridge and then head to the left of Haycote Farm. Turn left onto the lane and follow it for half a mile until you come to a road junction at the top of a short steep slope. Turn right and after 100 yards left onto a public footpath signed Lamb Howe 1 mile. Keep to the footpath, passing through a kissing gate on your right and over a footbridge to a waymarked path through the woods. Where the track has been churned up by tractor wheels keep left. At the stile where you leave the woods notice the vertical stone slab with round holes. In former times this would have been a stang stoop (gate post) fitted with wooden stangs (rails). An opposite stoop would have had square holes so that the stangs could not rotate and work loose. By removing the lower stangs, this simple but ingenious yat (gate) could be set up to allow sheep to pass under from field to field whilst keeping larger animals such as cattle or horses on one side only.

7 Go across the field then around the right side of white painted Lamb Howe farmhouse and up the slope to the left, through the gate and along the side of a tall hedge to the edge of the wood. See if you can spot the stang stoop with square holes. The path leaves the edge of the woods through a wicket gate on your right then continues on the outside of the wood to a wall which you cross via a stile in the top left corner. Turn right and follow the path along the side of the wall, across the valley and then up the other side to the left of the woods to the main road. Turn left and walk carefully along the roadside for 200 yards back to where the walk began.

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.