Braithwaite Court

Cumbria, England

High Rigg walking and hiking route


Walk Instructions

The modest summit of High Rigg, 1163ft (354m) is combined with a visit to the church of St John’s in the Vale (as in walk no 10) and a return along the Naddle Valley, passing through some of the Water Authority woodland in the Shoulthwaite area.

The ascent of High Rigg is initially steep but is not in any way difficult, paths along the broad ridge are a little vague in places but it is not difficult to maintain the generally northerly direction. The descent to the church is short and steep.

Start Point: Pay and display car park with public conveniences at Legburthwaite. From A66 head south along A591 towards Windermere. Two thirds of a mile after the end of the dual carriageway turn sharp left along the B5322, St John’s in the Vale road. The car park is on the left in less than half a mile.

Leave the car park by the small gate at the far end, turn left along the broad roadway leading to the A591 main road. Turn right, by the roadside, to cross the bridge over St John’s Beck.

1. Turn right at once at a gate/ladder stile. In 20 yards fork left, uphill, at a waymark to commence the initial climb. Keep left a another fork, continuing the steep ascent. The path is good throughout a real Lakeland hill walk despite the modest altitude. Views include Thirlmere, High Seat and High Tove, Helvellyn and other tops along its ridge. The path rises and falls among the rocky outcrops, crossing a fence over a stile. At a post with a waymark and ‘public footpath’ sign keep left as directed, passing close below Mart Crag and Yew Crag. Descend a little to a cross wall and ladder stile, then climb steadily beside a wall, Skiddaw comes into view. Keep left at an apparent fork to head for the cairn-crowned High Rigg summit, soon reached by a slight diversion from the path. There are various diversionary paths along the High Rigg ridge. Those who wander a little to the left (west) from the route set out above should avoid any significant descent to the left and will eventually bear right to reach the summit, which is ½ mile further north than the ‘High Rigg’ marking on the O.S. map.

2. Leave the summit and rejoin the main path, soon reaching a fork. Take the left of two broad grass tracks, through the bracken before descending steeply towards the buildings by St John’s in the Vale church. To see a sad little memorial stone turn left before the kissing gate at the bottom to follow a well used track through the bracken. The memorial is about 100 yards WSW of the angle of the wall which encloses a tree plantation adjoining the Diocesan Youth Centre. It is 50 yards beyond a tiny stream, on the crest of a low cliff. If not visiting the memorial, go through the kissing gate and join the road, turning left.

3. The road soon loses its surface, descending steeply past a gate to the Sykes Farm access road. Turn left passing John Richardson’s birthplace at Piper House and continue along the little roadway along the foot of the stony hillside for almost 3/4 mile. After passing the last house, the route becomes a grass path beside a wall, rising to a gate/stile with a ‘public bridleway’ signpost.

4. Turn right here, along a grass path descending to a gate, followed by another gate 100 yards to joint a ‘cut-off’ section of road at Rough How Bridge. Cross the main A591 road, then follow the lane opposite, leading to Shoulthwaite Farm. Turn left, cross the beck, and follow the signpost, passing between the farm buildings. Two gates give access to a pleasant woodland path. Ignore a footpath on the right in 10 yards. Before a more major track is joined, there is a Water Authority ‘long distance footpath to Dunmail’ sign. The track continues through and along the bottom edge of a large plantation, with the great bulk of Helvellyn in view ahead, soon reaching a minor public road.

5. Turn right for 50 yards, then left through a little gate, with Water Authority logo. Pass through the dilapidated farm buildings of Smaithwaite (one dated 1692) en route to the St John’s beck. Here the choice is between stepping stones and a bridge, originally three stone arches, but now with only one arch, supplemented by wooden accretions on each side. Look carefully for the signs after the bridge, the path is through a gate on the left, to walk up the edge of a field, not the more obvious lane, passing Bridge End Farm and joining a minor road.

6. Turn left to reach the main road, cross with care to the lane opposite and return to the car park.


Disclaimer: This route was correct at time of writing. However, alterations can happen if development or boundary changes occur, and there is no guarantee of permanent access. These walks have been published for use by site visitors on the understanding that neither HPB Management Limited nor any other person connected with Holiday Property Bond is responsible for the safety or wellbeing of those following the routes as described. It is walkers' own responsibility to be adequately prepared and equipped for the ‎level of walk and the weather conditions and to assess the safety and accessibility of the walk.


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