THE Rusland Valley and Fells are a very special place for the people who live and work in the area and those who visit it, writes JOHN EDMONDSON. This varied walk through farmland, forest and over open fell starts from Oxen Park, which is between Rusland and Spark Bridge. Oxen Park is a tiny village with a lively community: it even has its own cinema. The Manor House pub, which was refurbished to a high standard in August 2017, provides excellent food and drink.

Park near the Reading Room, which is a green hut on Bessy Bank Lane, down from the Manor House, map reference SD 317 873, postcode LA12 8HG.


Distance: seven miles with 1,500 feet of ascent

Time: four hours

Terrain: good paths, a quiet road and open fell (boggy in parts)

Map: OS Explorer OL7


1 From the road below the Reading Room turn right onto the footpath signed Stock Farm. Turn left to cross Colton Beck on the footbridge after a ford and walk along a grassy track on the right beside a wall. Bear left at a waymarker and follow the track down to a gate, across the beck and alongside a wall. Bear left at a waymarker and follow the path near the valley bottom. Merge left with a stony track at a fingerpost and go along a walled track to meet the road at High Ickenthwaite.

2 Turn left and walk down the road and across the valley bottom to the edge of Grizedale Forest. Turn left onto the path signed Satterthwaite and Bethecar Moor, going uphill along the edge of the forest then into it. Bear right onto a wider track leading up to a main forest road. Turn left and after 150 yards, left again. After the track ends go along a path and through a tall kissing gate, across Bell Beck and up to a gate onto Bethecar Moor.

3 Old Parrock Hill is on the right and Old Parrock on the left. Follow a faint path between the two hills on the right of the valley. Step across Yew Beck at a stony outcrop then keep straight on, avoiding the main path going to the left. Pass Old Parrock Hill just below its lower slopes and continue along an indistinct boggy path to a cairn where the path bends slightly left. Descend to Low Bethecar Barn via a stile to the right of Arklid Intake woodland and take the track on the left of the barn going alongside a wall. At the corner of Arklid Great Wood go through a gate onto Bletherbarrow Lane then turn left on the bridleway - signed Bessy Bank Lane - to Stock Farm.

4 Turn left after the barns onto a footpath signed Abbot Park, keeping to the wall on the left. Go through two wicket gates and two wall stiles into a wood. Descend through the wood, across a farm track, over a fence stile and across a beck via a footbridge. Walk up the field to a gate on its right. Keep above the main track to a gate on the left of a barn at Abbot Park. Turn right beside a toilet building onto the tarmacked lane then left through a wicket gate (signed Oxen Park). Cross three wall stiles and a track then follow waymarkers to descend a steeply stepped path to the grassy track near where the walk began. Turn right, cross Colton Beck then go uphill and turn left on Bessy Bank Lane to Oxen Park.

Next week: Hugill from 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.