BEETHAM, with its delightful cafe and village shop, a working corn mill, an inn and a garden centre, is in itself a great place to visit, writes JOHN EDMONDSON. This short walk through woodlands, over to the coast and back through a deer park will make the visit even more enjoyable.

Take the 755 bus from Kendal or drive to Beetham and park on the short section of old A6 road on the right of the lane to Heron Corn Mill, map reference SD 496 796, postcode LA7 7PQ.


Distance: five miles with 650 feet of ascent

Time: two hours

Terrain: grass and stony footpaths.

Map: OS Explorer OL7


1 From the road junction walk southwards and turn right by the Wheatsheaf Inn along the road to Storth. Pass the church, cafe and village shop and after the houses at Meadow Bank turn left onto the footpath signed Fairy Steps. Walk across the field up to a gate into the woods. The path goes round to the right and passes a ruined cottage. Keep right, following the main waymarked path. Where the track bends right go straight ahead, continuing to follow waymarkers on the uphill, fenced path to Fairy Steps. A sign shows the route of a concessionary path going left to bypass the steps. According to folklore, if you climb the steps without touching the sides, you will see a fairy!

2 Walk down Fairy Steps between a narrow gap in the rock or descend to the bottom via the concessionary path. Go slightly right down through the woods and after 10 yards turn right at the fingerpost for Cockshot Lane. Bear left at the junction with a joining track then take the right branch indicated on a stone pillar and continue down the stony path to Cockshot Lane. Turn right on the road and after 100 yards left onto a path signed Sandside. Follow the waymarked path through the woods. After the path bends right and approaches the edge of the wood, turn left onto the path signed Hollins Well. After passing a concrete structure (a reservoir) go through a kissing gate onto open land with views over Milnthorpe Sands. Follow the wall on the right down to a minor road.

3 Cross the road onto the path signed Hollins Well going round the edge of a wood and alongside a wall. Go over a stile and across a lane to a second stile then alongside the wood to a wall stile. Cross Shoreline Business Park road then the B5282 to a footpath signed Milnthorpe Bridge. The path goes on a disused railway track, continues beside Milnthorpe Sands then bends right along the River Bela. Cross the B5282 next to the bridge onto a tarmacked lane (Cumbria Cycleway) towards Dallam Tower. Just before the hall turn left through a gate and continue alongside the river. Shortly before reaching the farm track bridge, turn sharp right. The uphill path across the deer park is marked by regular waymarker posts to a stone pillar on the edge of the hill. Bear left as indicated on the pillar and follow the waymarker posts over a rounded hill to a kissing gate signed Beetham. Walk down the wide avenue to Heron Corn Mill car park. The present mill, which was built in 1740, has been restored in working order. The mill, shop and tearoom are open Wednesday until Sunday from 11am-4pm. Entry to the mill is free. Return to the village via the mill lane.

Next week: Glencoyne

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.