THIS is a pleasant walk with historic interest in countryside that was once home to the second wealthiest monastery in Britain: Furness Abbey owned 88 square miles of land and only Fountains Abbey was richer, writes JOHN EDMONDSON.

The walk begins in Dalton-in-Furness, tours villages to the east, descends to Furness Abbey and returns via the Vale of Nightshade. It passes a wide range of historic buildings including Dalton Castle tower, St Mary’s Church, Furness Abbey and the Brown Cow Inn, which is where the walk begins (grid reference SD 226 737, postcode LA15 8LQ).


Distance: 8 miles with 700 feet of ascent

Time: 4 hours

Terrain: Grassy paths and quiet roads

Map: OS Explorer OL6


1 Walk up Church Street past St Mary’s Church and Dalton Castle Tower then turn right on to the footpath signed Abbey Road. Cross the main road and walk along Little Fields (signed Station). Cross Station Road on to Beckside Road turning left after barriers then right on to Ulverston Road. Before the road starts to rise turn right on to Acorn Bank and under the railway bridge (signed Standing Tarn). Turn right over a stile below power cables, through a squeeze stile to cross a lane to the right then left on to the signed footpath across a field. Standing Tarn is on the left. Go over a stile in the valley then turn right towards a wind turbine to a stile in the right corner. Walk beside a hedge on the right and along an embankment to a track then turn left after concrete barns. Walk under the HT cables, over two fence stiles on the right, and across a lane towards Stainton quarry to a stile in the corner of the field. Walk beside a fallen wall to a field gate and turn right on to the tarmacked lane. Pass 30mph signs to merge with the main road near Stainton Recreation Hall.

2 Turn left before reaching the Stagger Inn and right after the speed delimiter sign. After passing Harbarrow keep straight on along a field track. Peil Island and possibly Blackpool Tower may be visible ahead. Turn right on to a narrow road and right at the junction by the village of Dendron. After about half a mile turn left on to a signed footpath through a kissing gate. Walk uphill over a field to a kissing gate in the right corner and up a grassy track alongside a hedge on the right. Veer right through a metal gate heading towards the village of Newton and over a double stile. Cross another seven small fields to reach the edge of Newton.

3 Turn left down to the village and past the Farmers Arms. Cross the road at the junction opposite the Village Inn, through a kissing gate and along a field edge. At the next gate go straight on (signed Furness Abbey): the large expanse of Barrow appears ahead. Descend to the left of trees to a field gate and go left along the road for 50 yards then turn right through a kissing gate, over Mill Beck then right up the valley. Re-cross the beck and continue upstream and alongside the railway then across the railway to Furness Abbey. Walk along the road past the abbey. After going under an arch turn right on to a signed footpath along the Vale of Nightshade beside the railway embankment. Cross Abbey Road and follow the footpath (signed Millwood and Dalton) to where the walk began.

Next week: Stake Pass

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.