IN DECEMBER 2015, Storm Desmond washed away a bridge at Hagg Foot and what used to be a popular 3.5-mile riverside circuit from Staveley was no longer possible, writes JOHN EDMONDSON. As that bridge has now been replaced you could try this slightly longer variation of the walk, which includes infrequently trod paths.

Start from Main Street, Staveley, grid reference SD 471 981, postcode LA8 9LN.


Distance: 4.5 miles with 700 feet of ascent.

Time: 2 hours

Terrain: field paths and quiet road.

Map: OS Explorer OL7


1 Leave Staveley past the Eagle and Child Inn and before reaching the level crossing turn left onto the Dales Way path. Where the Dales Way turns left, keep straight on the hedged lane (called Satterthwaite Lane) going up to a wall stile with steep steps on the far side. Keep straight on with the wall on the right and cross a wall stile next to a gate. Continue alongside the wall then keep straight on past a waymarker to merge with a tarmacked lane near Crag Bungalow. Where the lane approaches a wall, turn sharp left and follow this lane over two cattle grids, through Crag Barn garden and up steps on the left to a gate. Continue ahead alongside a wall then descend to Cowan Head and turn left past the apartment buildings. This modern development was a paper mill before 1750 and it was taken over by James Cropper and Company Limited in 1845. During a storm on November 18, 1893, the mill chimney fell onto the cottages and a girl aged 17 and two women aged 23 and 26, died. In 1905 a fire burnt down the mill house. The mill was closed in 1977. Walk past the cottages and weir then alongside the River Kent to the newly rebuilt bridge. This is a great improvement on the old structure, which used to have an open drop below the upstream handrail. Also, elimination of central piers helps to minimise the possibility of future flood damage.

2 Cross the bridge and go up the lane to Hagg Foot Farm. Turn left on the road and after 200 yards right onto the path signed Side House. Ascend the steep field in the direction of the fingerpost to go past a hawthorn tree in the middle of the field and around the top of woods on the left. At Side House turn left, cross the beck then turn right to walk up beside an attractive waterfall. Go through a kissing gate then continue ahead above the beck on the right to Frost Hole.

3 Turn left and walk through Frost Hole yard then up a concrete track. At the road turn left and descend to a cattle grid. Pause to admire the view over Crook and Staveley to the left. Descend past Craggy Wood, bought by the community in 2018 from the Lake District National Park Authority for Cumbria Wildlife Trust to care for. Turn right at the road junction and after 150 yards left along the footpath signed Staveley Village and going through Staveley Park. The sunken building on the left is one of the few 'root stores' left in Cumbria, in which the year's harvest of root vegetables such as parsnips, turnips and carrots were stored in the cool and dark. Turn right alongside the River Kent and left to cross the footbridge. Walk ahead past the Mill Yard to meet Main Street next to St Margaret’s Church tower.

Next week: Great Coum and Whernside from Dent

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.