TAKE a pleasant walk from Newby Bridge through delightful woodland and along riverside paths following the lower tidal reaches of the River Leven and Rusland Pool, writes JOHN EDMONDSON. Reminders of our industrial heritage include crossing a disused railway bridge and passing a former gunpowder works.

Start from the Swan Hotel at Newby Bridge, map reference SD 368864, postcode LA12 8NB.


Distance: 9.5 miles with 1,400 feet of ascent

Time: 4.5 hours

Terrain: grassy footpaths, stony tracks and quiet roads

Map: OS Explorer OL7


1 From the Swan Hotel take the minor road signed Finsthwaite and Rusland going alongside the River Leven. Cross the bridge over the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway and turn immediately right onto the bridleway signed Finsthwaite. Walk up the stony track through woodland and near the top of the slope go through a double gate on the left. Bear right over the pasture then left to walk alongside the wall on the right to the top of the slope. Descend and go through to a gate on the right then along a walled farm track and past Tom Crag Barn. Turn left onto the road, past Charley Crag Barn then turn right through a waymarked gate. Walk up the pleasant woodland track passing through two high gates and then descending to a road. Turn right, descend to a road junction and turn sharp left; 90 yards after the junction turn right into Border Moss Wood. Bear left and follow the path over board walks to the banks of Rusland Pool.

2 Turn left and walk beside Rusland Pool to cross a road (The Causeway). Rejoin the footpath beside the river just before the road bridge. If this path is excessively muddy, cross the bridge and turn left onto the path signed A590. Both of these paths lead to the A590 near Rusland Pool. Turn left to the end of crash barriers; carefully cross this busy road, then walk back to the bridge. Rejoin the riverside footpath on the left signed Haverthwaite and Roudsea. Continue along the riverbanks, past the confluence of Rusland Pool and the River Leven. Before the path meets the track of the former Haverthwaite railway turn right and continue walking along the riverbank and through a gate. Turn right and cross the River Leven via the old metal railway bridge. Turn immediately left and walk through woods to meet a tarmacked lane signed Cumbria Coastal Way.

3 Turn left and follow the quiet lane for 1.3 miles to the B5278 at Low Wood, optionally taking a riverside footpath to the left after 0.8 of a mile. Cross the B5278 and walk along the lane past the Clock Tower. From 1798 to 1935 this was the site of Low Wood Gunpowder Works. Go through the attractive hamlet and turn left onto the bridleway signed Trundle Brow. Walk up the pleasant woodland path with views over the Leven valley and of Backbarrow below. At the road turn left then after 100 yards right to walk through a playground with picnic benches then through a gate into woodland. Follow the path beside a wall on the left passing a ladder stile and continuing to a wall stile ahead. Follow the path winding to the right up through a valley then descending to the left to merge with a track. Follow the track through a gateway then going downhill to a road at Canny Hill. Turn left, descend to the A590 and turn left. Cross the road at the traffic island then go over Newby Bridge to return to the Swan Hotel.

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.

Next week: Pooley Bridge, Dalemain and Dacre.