THIS walk from Barbon is easy to follow and starts with a steady three mile climb to the summit of Calf Top, writes JOHN EDMONDSON. Thereafter, it’s downhill all the way (well, almost) to the A683 near Middleton. This walk returns to Barbon using a mile of the main road and 3.5 miles of almost deserted lanes. Some of the tarmacked areas could be avoided but the alternative footpaths can be muddy.

Start from the war memorial in the centre of Barbon village, near Kirkby Lonsdale, grid reference SD 628 824, postcode LA6 2NN.


Distance: 12.5 miles with 2,200 feet of ascent

Time: 6 hours

Terrain: fell paths and 4.5 miles of road

Map: OS Explorer OL2


1 From the war memorial walk past Barbon Inn and turn left after St Bartholomews Church onto the Barbon Manor Estate Private Road. Where the lane bends right keep straight along the path to Eskholme. The surfaced area is the competitors’ paddock for the Barbon Hillclimb (next held on June 8 and July 6), where cars take less than 30 seconds to complete the 738 yard ascent. Near the farm at Eskholme turn right and ascend to a gate among trees. Your three mile hill climb begins here. After 1.8 miles and 1,350 feet of ascent you reach the summit of Castle Knott. One more mile of ascent (a bit less steep) brings you to the trig point on Calf Top, the 2,000 feet summit of Middleton Fell.

2 The next four miles are downhill all the way and the grassy path simply follows a wall/fence on your right before merging to a clear farm track. This allows you to enjoy the splendid and perhaps surprising views from Middleton Fell. Ahead are panoramic views of Sedbergh and the Howgills. To the right you overlook Barbondale to Crag Hill (which obstructs a view of Whernside) with Dentdale and Garsdale further north. To the west you can look over the Lune valley and see Lake District fells in the distance. The path bends left to follow the descending ridge of Long Bank and passes a tiny roofed stone shelter. Below here a grassy track diverges to the left of the wall, initially traversing an attractive valley on the left and heading in the general direction of wind turbines on the opposite side of the Lune Valley. The track descends to a gate, passes between modern houses at Fellside and becomes a tarmacked lane.

3 Where the lane bends right turn left onto a grassy path leading to the A683 next to The Head country inn. Turn left and walk alongside the road for a mile to Middleton Hall Bridge. To avoid walking along the main road you could stay on the lane from Fellside and just before reaching the A683, branch right to a road junction. Cross the A683 just beyond a layby on the right to a footpath passing Low Waterside and meet the A683 again at Middleton Hall Bridge. This route is half a mile further and can be muddy. Cross Middleton Hall Bridge and turn half left onto the quiet road to High Green Farm. After passing the farm entrance stay on the road, keeping left at a junction, straight on at a crossroads and continue along High Road to Barbon. These 3.5 miles of quiet lanes make a pleasant and easy finish to the walk and you are unlikely to encounter more than one or two vehicles.

Next week: Arnside and Silverdale

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.