Country Walking magazine recently got in touch with us to ask well-known Cumbrians what walks they would recommend to people who wanted to find some extra peace and tranquility, well-off the beaten-track.
So, we got in touch with several of our high-profile friends to ask where they’d recommend, and more than half of the responses were for the Western Lake District & Coast!
Here are just a few of their top tips for walking routes which will truly result in some pleasant isolation, well-away from the more popular walking routes.
Just remember, while exploring these great suggested areas, take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints. Thank you.
“You just can’t go wrong with a Black Combe walk: It’s never busy, there is an immediate sense of space and the wild places, the views are terrific and if the weather is rough then it’s still worth doing because, if you are lucky, you can smell the sea during the walk and dry out at the excellent Miners Arms pub in Silecroft.
“If you want get a feel of the sea before heading up, then walk it clockwise starting at Kirkbank and head northwest to Whitbeck. Cross the road and head to the shore at Gutterby Spa and enjoy a 2km beach walk north to Annaside. Go west, cross the A595 and re-join the footpath heading north through Holegill and Far End. Then it’s a steady climb heading southeast to the top and a romp straight down heading south to the pub. A perfect Lakes day!”
Paul Rose, TV Presenter and Explorer
“Crummock Water is my favourite place in Cumbria. A fabulous, lovely round-walk, with lovely swimming opportunities, little hidden beaches, beautiful climbs and always peaceful with few tourists.
“While there is no village on the shores, unlike most lakes, do hurry to the Kirkstile Inn at nearby Loweswater for food and drinks for a well-deserved top-up after enjoying everything the walk has to offer.”
Hunter Davies, Author, Journalist and Broadcaster
“For me, the ingredients for the very best walks are peace and tranquillity, historical interest, and fine scenery – and I need to know that even if it’s raining I’ll enjoy them! There are approximately 50 prehistoric stone circles in Cumbria and including one on a walk usually guarantees all of the above.
“My favourite is a low-level half-day walk on fairly good tracks. It starts at the fascinating 18th century Duddon Iron Furnace (grid reference SD 197 883), takes you through ancient woodland and then up to Swinside Stone Circle (grid reference SD 171 991), one of the best-preserved in northern England.
“When I’m up there, particularly on a misty day, I love letting my imagination run wild – we don’t know exactly why the circle was built but legend has it that local people were trying to build a church, but the Devil kept coming along and pulling it down – hence its alternative name of Sunkenkirk.”
Tess Pike, Cumbria Blue Badge Tourist Guide
“The Circuit of Devoke Water, Lakeland’s largest tarn, is described by Alfred Wainwright in his book ‘The Outlying Fells’, recently re-published by The Wainwright Society. For me it has everything I desire, remoteness and few people.
“Any activity is usually centered on the tarn – fishing and swimming, but the fells have character and wonderful views not only into The Lakes but also out to the Irish Sea. Yoadcastle, the highest, in particular is an imposing summit that you can easily imagine being defended.”
David Powell-Thompson, Broadcaster and Mountain Guide
“One of my favourite walks starts in the square of Broughton in Furness and is in the ‘Walking for softies book’ written by Lynn Pattison of Gosforth. A circular walk which takes around two hours, it follows the disused railway in a north easterly direction and then heads up through the woodlands before sweeping back on itself, down into the village, passing Broughton Tower School on the way.
“Another favourite is an easy circular walk that follows the perimeter of Millom Park just to the north of Millom itself. Is it a quiet walk? Perhaps not all of it, as in the centre of the plantation is a working quarry. But having said that, once away from the quarry itself, the terrain is easy, with good tracks to follow, giving fantastic views of Black Combe across the Wicham Valley.”
Richard Warren, Chair of the Lake District Search And Mountain Rescue Association
“I may be biased but one of my favourite, quieter walks is up Hoad Hill in Ulverston. With the town being right on the edge of the South Lakes, a pleasant walk up the hill rewards you with stunning views across both the Lakeland fells and the beautiful Morecambe Bay.
“It’s easy to find too, as when you drive into Ulverston you can’t miss the Sir John Barrow Monument at the top – it really a simple case of following your nose to get parked, then enjoy the 30 minute stroll to the top. On a clear day you can see for miles around, and there are several ways to ascend. If you’re not sure which is best, there’s always a friendly local resident on-hand to offer advice!”
Les Tallon, Sir John Barrow Monument Keeper, Ulverston
Meanwhile, according to Ordnance Survey, half of the top ten popular walks in England and Wales (as tracked on their mobile phone app) are here in Cumbria – with three areas along Cumbria’s coastline making the list of quietest areas. Take a look, right here.