THIS walk starts from Sedgwick, a lovely village with warm stone houses and cottages.

Once horses on the busy Lancaster Canal were changed and stabled here. The route continues over fine extensive pastures from where there are wide ranging views over gentle rolling slopes to the Lake District fells.

On your return you walk for a short way along the canal, in-water and out.

Finally, as you near Sedgwick once more you can see, over the parkland, elegant Sedgwick House, built in 1868 by the Wakefield family, who owned the Wakefield Gunpowder works at Sedgwick.

As there is no car park at Sedgwick, use roadside parking on the west side of the aqueduct, grid ref 514870.

1 Walk ahead on Natland Road to pass under the aqueduct, using the narrow pavement, and go ahead to take the second turn on the right.

Continue on with care along the quiet way to pass under the railway bridge and then go on past the Maize Maze farm.

Ascend the gently climbing lane to the crossroads. (To visit the charming Crosscrake Church bear left)

2. From the cross of roads, turn right and a short way along go through the signed gate on the left and head for the stile in the far right corner.

Beyond, continue beside the wall on the left and then curve round right to the obvious stile over the wall ahead.

Once over ascend gently beside the wall on your left, pausing often to enjoy the glorious views, before reaching the crest of Skettlegill Hill (92m).

Then descend, straight down, towards Skettlegill farm, where much building work is in progress.

Go through two gates and bear right and wind left to take stone steps over the wall giving onto a quiet, narrow lane.

3. A few steps right take more stone steps over the wall opposite, into a pasture and very soon pass through a gate, on your left, into a larger pasture.

Maintain the same line of direction to the bottom right corner to take an unusual stile into another pasture.

Strike slightly right on an obvious grassy path towards a wall, and a gate, to the right of some houses at Summerlands. A step stile to the left of the gate gives access to a track.

4 Turn right to walk the delightful hedged way. Continue ahead through a waymarked gate and then along the side of Eskrigg Wood into a small clearing with a gate ahead, which you ignore.

Here take the narrow waymarked path through woodland to the left of the gate.

The way is a little overgrown at first but soon becomes a pleasing way through more woodland to arrive, all too soon, after bending left, to a step stile, near a gate, into a field.

Walk straight ahead, rising slightly, from the stile to reach a gate onto a narrow track.

Turn right and walk on, ignoring a signposted left turn.

5 Just before High Commonmire farm, go through the gate into the yard and, keeping the house to your right, carry on to go through a gate onto an excellent narrow access lane, with grass down the middle.

Stroll the peaceful way until you reach a lane corner and turn right.

Follow the very narrow tarmacked way through fields of maize to bear left, beside the Lancaster Canal and continue to cross Field End Bridge over the waterway.

Walk on a few steps and take the good footpath, left, down to the towpath and turn left under the bridge. Enjoy the lovely grassy path and the large patches of yellow pond weed where moorhens disport among the floating flat leaves.

6 Carry on along the cut to cross over an easy-to-miss aqueduct over the Stainton Beck. Walk on to where the canal ceases to be in water.

Here a solicitous pair of swans keep their nine cygnets in a tight little group.

Pass through a very awkward stile under the next bridge and carry on along the narrow attractive path that runs on the left side of the empty canal now colonised by a mass of shrubs and rough vegetation.

The next stile along the way is easy to climb. Continue under the bridge and follow the distinct path. It eventually joins a widish lane.

7 Turn left to walk below the bridge carrying the A590. Immediately turn right up a gated footpath, with the empty canal to your right.

This path leads towards the entrance to the Hindcaster Tunnel. Keep to the footpath, left of the latter, as it climbs below the bridge carrying the railway line then bear left along a narrow hedge-lined path which eventually descends below an interesting narrow, farm bridge.

Stroll on to the end of the footpath. This would have been the first part of the route taken by the barge horses, the tunnel having no towpath.

Turn right, along a well signposted path to the right of a house. The path weaves about and then comes to the edge of the waterless canal close by the exit from the tunnel.

Here the horses would have returned to pulling the boats.

8 Continue along the pleasing path until it decants you onto the road from Hincaster. Turn right and walk on for nearly half a mile, continuing over the A591 by a long bridge.

At the end, take steps rising up, on the right, through trees and a gate, onto a fine grassy pasture, Walk on along the distinct path, from where there is a charming view of Sedgwick House surrounded by many fine trees. Follow the path to the ‘stranded’ Hawes Bridge and pass through the kissing gate below.

The hedged and walled path continues across the Sedgwick Viaduct. At its end shallow steps (no rail) lead down to the road.

Turn right to return to where you have parked.


Distance: 5.5 miles

Time: 3 hours

Terrain: Field paths, tracks, some quiet road walking, towpaths. If the flight of steps down the side of the aqueduct are too formidable, take the easier way down at the start of the aqueduct and then turn left to rejoin your vehicle.

Map: OS Explorer OL 7

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.