Saturday, 5 September 2015

5 Fabulous Autumn Walks in Cumbria

Dontcha just hate it when you're following a guided walk and the blurb tells you "this is a riot of colour and wild flowers in the summer months" when you're there in October?  Drives me mad anyway, so I've decided to try something I've not done before on the blog - at the start of each season I shall post 5 fantastic places to visit in Cumbria that tie in perfectly with the season.  (Of course there are far more than 5 places you could be visiting each season, these are just my favourites.)

I don't have any sort of licence to reproduce OS Maps so I'll just direct you to the starting point and you can take the rest from there.

1.  The Langdale Valley.

There are a number of fabulous family walks along the Langdale Valley and the best part is that they start an end at a rather lovely pub.  Park up in the National Trust car park next to the Sticklebarn and head off on a lovely looped walk along the valley floor.  The route is broad and easy to follow with only about 20 metres of road walking in total.

The woodlands and bracken create a riot of autumnal colours and you can enjoy a big bowl of homemade soup in the pub when you're done.

2. Grange and Hampsfell

This is a great one to do on an autumn afternoon.  There a number of free (or very cheap) local walking guides in the Tourist Information Centre so if you want something more detailed nip in there and grab one of those.  Take a route up through Eggerslack Woods and on to the Hospice at the top.  From there the panoramic views stretch from Skiddaw in the north to Blackpool Tower in the south.  Tread carefully as you wander the woods and you might just spot a deer.

Head back down into the village, nip into the chippy for a freshly cooked fish supper (wrapped in newspaper!) and take it down to the prom.  There you will find plenty of benches where you can sit and watch the migrating birds coming and going along the estuary as the sun goes down.  It's worth checking the tide times too - if you can time the whole lot to coincide with on of our high tides you could even try a paddle.

3.  Red Screes

If you wake up and it looks like a dull, grotty, foggy old day, leap into the car with a hot flask of coffee and a bag of sarnies and take off for Red Screes - one of the very best places to see an inversion.  

Wind your way up Kirkstone Pass and park in the car park opposite the Kirkstone Pass Inn (handy for a good meal afterwards).  From there take the signposted footpath at the far end of the car park and follow it all the way up onto the summit (it's very clear the whole way up with stone steps for much of the way, but still be sure to go properly clothed and equipped).  By now you should have popped out of the top of the inversion and can enjoy a day of brilliant sunshine and magnificent views.

4.  Burns Beck Moss

This is one that most people never see - it's a tiny little tucked away Cumbria Wildlife Trust nature reserve around 5 miles east of Kendal (just south of Killington Reservoir if you're trying to find it on a map or you could just click here,)  There's a very short waymarked route around the site which won't take you long at all, but in the autumn it's good old mish mash of coloured grasses and golden waterlillies and I can pretty much guarantee you'll have the whole place to yourselves. Unless we're there...

5. Wansfell

I absolutely love Wansfell in the autumn - there's just something about the colours there that makes the place special.  Plus the route from Town End is such a clear, broad track that you can enjoy the sunset from High Skelghyll (a most perfect picnic spot too) and still make it safely back to the car (assuming you've taken a torch).  There are also an assortment of routes leading directly out of Ambleside to the summit - which means they also lead directly back into Ambleside and the many pubs and restaurants there should you require some post hike sustenance.  Not that I'm obsessed with food and drink or anything...

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