A STROLL up to the Stainton ‘pepperpot’ offers great rewards for little effort. Confident walkers could continue across a wild fell, past a large remote tarn, down an attractive ghyll, riding on the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway (La’al Ratty) and returning to the start by wading the River Esk. But first check tide tables to ensure that the tide will be out.

Start from Broad Oak (Grid reference SD 113 946, postcode CA18 1RW)


Distance: 2 miles or 11 miles with 1,700 feet of ascent.

Time: 1-5 hours

Terrain: grassy footpaths plus boggy fell for longer walk

Map: OS Explorer OL6


1 From Broad Oak telephone box, cross the A595 and walk up a lane left of the farm. Turn left at the top of the slope, right after a gate, through a second one, and up a track through conifer woodland. Just before the track enters a field, turn left, go through a gateway then turn right onto a walled path. Turn left and head uphill, crossing two stiles, to the Stainton ‘pepperpot’ tower, believed to have been a marker for boats entering Ravenglass Estuary. On a clear day, the Isle of Man is visible. For the short walk, return by the same route.

2 Go back down to the walled path to where it bends left (northwards). After passing a sheepfold continue along the track to a fingerpost. Turn right towards a mound of gorse. Avoid the wettest ground by branching off left and cross a low wall in the valley bottom. Walk through a gate on the right then up to the site of the ancient settlement of Barnscar. Walk NE to the right of of Birkby Fell (a cairn marks its summit). Continue eastwards (right of Water Crag) to above Devoke Water.

3 Walk along the shore (either side) then follow the stony track and cross the road onto a lane. At High Ground turn right (signed Stanley Gill), then left to pass the cottage at Birkerthwaite. Follow attractive grassy lanes with waymarkers and signs for Dalegarth Falls. After entering an open area veer right off the bridleway onto a grassy waymarked footpath to woodland. Cross a fence stile, warning of a 150-feet sheer drop, and follow the footpath down Stanley Ghyll and onward to Dalegarth Station. Take a train ride on La’al Ratty to Ravenglass.

4 Returning to the start from Ravenglass by walking along three miles of the busy A595 is not recommended. At low tide, it is possible to walk to Broad Oak by wading across the River Esk. From the station, cross the railway bridge and turn right onto the roadway along the Esk Trail to the Roman Bath House. Pass below power lines and keep straight on where the trail turns sharp left. Walk around Newtown Knott, through a high gate in a wall on the right, down a field and through a kissing gate to a footpath junction. Turn left then right at a waymarker to the River Esk. The mapped crossing, said to have originated with the Romans, starts a few yards to the left then heads directly towards a gate on the opposite side, crossing a mud bank then a narrower channel. From Hall Waberthwaite walk along the road for 600 yards then turn left onto the footpath immediately after a house. The path bends right after woods and meets a road by the bridge at Broad Oak.

Next week: Heversham

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.