FOUR compact hills close to the towns of Windermere and Bowness provide worthy targets for an interesting walk, writes JOHN EDMONDSON. The first two are called Knotts, the third a Fell and the fourth, daddy of them all, is Grandsire. There are no hard climbs and the walk is a satisfying way to explore part of the Lake District that is bypassed by many making their way to the popular fells.

Start from the junction of minor roads south of the A591 in the west end of Ings. Grid reference SD 444 986, postcode LA8 9PY.


Distance: 9.5 miles and 1,500 feet of ascent

Time: 4.5 hours

Terrain: mainly good footpaths

Map: OS Explorer OL7


1 Walk up the gated road, through a gate and under a railway bridge. Turn right at a footpath fingerpost, through a wicket gate and wall gap, keeping roughly parallel to overhead cables on the right then between woods and onto a farm track. Turn left beside Whasdike farm barn then right after a wall stile. Follow the road to a cattle grid then continue straight on along a footpath through School Knott Plantation. On reaching open land turn left at a waymarker to visit the top of School Knott.

2 Walk back down to the footpath, through a deer fence gate with a bench seat beyond, keeping left to meet a track by a memorial stone. Turn left, pass 16th century Old Droomer Cottage and after 100 yards turn right (signed Lickbarrow) down steep steps, across a beck, then alongside a wall on the left. Cross Lickbarrow Road slightly right, then follow a path alongside houses. Turn left at the footpath junction signed Bowness and, keeping left of Helm Farm, meet the Dales Way. Turn right, descend to a track, where turn left and ascend to the Victorian viewpoint of Post Knott.

3 Continue to a second viewpoint then descend to a gate at the corner of the wood. Walk to Brant Fell summit: one of the best viewpoints of Windermere and the surrounding fells. Descend around crags on the south side to the right of a wood. Turn right onto a track then left on Lickbarrow Road. After 35 yards turn left onto a waymarked footpath and just before a kissing gate turn right to follow the Dales Way, passing Millennium Pond, continuing to the road from Home Farm. Cross Lickbarrow Road and follow the Dales Way beside the B5284. Turn left along the lane signed Windermere via Dales Way past Cleabarrow Tarn and sharp right at a finger post signed Dales Way. Follow the track across a ford, alongside a wall and through a gate on the right. Walk uphill then leave the footpath to the left to ascend Grandsire, at 820 feet the highest point of this walk.

4 Descend back to the Dales Way, going left through a gate to Hagg End farm. Walk along the farm lane, then turn right onto the road and through a gate to Outrun Nook. Take the second footpath on the left, signed Dales Way, to Crag House. Keep left downhill to pass an underground stream, then up past gorse bushes. At the corner of a pine wood turn left off the Dales Way. At Borwick Fold turn right onto the road and after 20 yards left alongside a barn and through a gate. Follow the path beside a wood on the right, through the corner of the wood then down a faint path to an unfenced road. Turn left and follow the road back down to Ings.

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.