WALK beside gills with waterfalls in deep gorges, through quiet woodlands and past isolated farms, all with an impressive backdrop of the eastern Howgill Fells, writes JOHN EDMONDSON. The walk could also be combined with a visit to Farfield Mill Arts and Heritage Centre, a restored Victorian woollen mill with working looms, galleries and a cafe.

Start from the parking area near Straight Bridge, one mile east of Sedbergh on the A683, grid reference SD 676 923.


Distance: 6 miles with 1,200 feet of ascent.

Time: 3 hours

Terrain: tracks and field paths (steep in places) and 0.6 mile road

Map: OS Explorer OL19


1 Cross Straight Bridge and turn immediately right along a narrow lane to Garsdale Bridge. To visit Farfield Mill cross the bridge and turn immediately left along the path signed A684. Afterwards, return to recross the bridge and turn right onto the riverside path signed Hallbank. Continue walking near Clough River keeping right after going through a kissing gate, to meet Dowbiggin Lane. Turn right and walk up the gravel track signed Danny Bridge and Hebblethwaite. At a fingerpost on a bend turn left, go through a wicket gate and descend to a footbridge across Great Dovecote Gill. Walk up to the right of a barn with blue doors and along the path signed Hebblethwaite. Cross a field and a gill and walk along a grassy track to a stile and wicket gate then uphill to pass by the right of a house (Wilkinstile). Continue ahead up to Fellgate, through blue gates, turning right then left in front of the house. Go across a field and turn right (near a ruined wooden hut) just before New Barn. Merge with a track at a gate and pass the deserted farmhouse of Sarthwaite.

2 Continue along the track then turn left to descend across a boggy area towards trees, passing a waymarker then crossing the steep-sided Hebblethwaite valley. The wood is peaceful and pretty with spring flowers. Optionally, explore the wood to see its small waterfalls and remains of an old bobbin mill. Turn right at Hebblethwaite Hall then left onto the path signed Cross Hall. At the top of the hill enjoy the dramatic view to the left of Hobdale and Brant Fell. Cross a stile by a tree and descend to a stile and footbridge. Go through the caravan site and Cross Hall Farm to the A638. Turn right and walk alongside the road for 0.6mile. After passing St Mark’s Church turn left down the track to Crook Holme.

3 Cross the River Rawthey via the footbridge or ford then ascend to the left up a tree-lined track. Turn left just before a stone ruin, cross a stile, then turn left and walk along the track beside gorse bushes. Follow the track and lane for the next 1.5miles, passing the late 17th or early 18th century farmhouse at Thursgill, and along Buckbank Lane. At Buck Bank Farm bear left. Go down and around a stone barn and to the left of silos, beside a fence on the left and descend to the riverside to a stile at Straight Bridge where the walk began.

Next week: Ard Crags and Knott Rigg from the Newlands Valley

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.