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Merlewood

Cumbria, England

Cartmel Fell walking and hiking route

6.25km/4mi
Total distance
161m
Total ascent

Start Point - Parking area beside the Cartmel Parish Hall at the approach to the church, grid reference 417882. From Merlewood head north to the A590. Turn left onto dual carriway way and take the first exit. At High Newton turn right in the village to follow Height Road towards Bowland Bridge. After approximately three and a half miles go left at a fork. Turn right in half a mile leads to the Parish Hall (formerly the local school) and the church.

Cartmel Fell is a loosely defined upland area a short distance to the east of the lower part of Windermere. Bounded on the east by the Winster Valley and on the west by Gummers How (walk 12) the Fell is a fine rambling area, with good paths, plenty of signposts and waymarks and views over adjacent countryside, including the great limestone hump of Whitbarrow. It is nowhere near the popular village of the same name.

This circular route enjoys the attributes of this attractive area; open hillside, woodland, some traditional buildings and two endearing little tarns are all included. Overall this is quite any easy walk with the modest amount of ascent well spaced and not really steep. Apart from a few potentially wet areas and a handful of stiles, the tracks are all very good.

The focal point is St Anthony's Church of 1504, largely unrestored, possibly because of its remoteness and lack of importance. Interior features include a three decker pulpit and enclosed family pews. The very old glass in the east window is believered (as with some other churches in the area) to have come from Cartmel Priory when that great edifice was partially dismantled on the orders of King Henry VIII.

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Walk Instructions

Start past the Institute. Note the information board on the wall. Go through the church yard; at the porch turn left to rise to a seat, steps and squeezer stile. Follow the little path, rising to the road.

1) Turn right to walk along the quiet road for about 300m. Turn left at a farm gate, with surfaced approach apron. Rise steadily up the hillside on a broad track. There are rocky outcrops to the right and long views behind, over the Winster Valley to Whitbarrow and beyond.

2) Go left at a signposted ('public bridleway Sow How') fork, heading for a gate. At the next fork keep right, with the main track, still rising. Ahead is an old building as the track bears left. Go right at an apparent 'T' junction, soon descending towards woodland. Go through a gate. At a former bank barn/cottage (Heights Cottage), bear right to a waymark on a post.

3) Turn sharp left here to head for a waymarked gate into the woodland.

4) At the next junction the waymarked bridleway goes straight ahead. Recommended is a very short detour along a rather wet footpath to the right (yellow waymark) to reach the charming little Middle Tarn. The path skirts the edge of the water before bearing left through the woodland, crossing a small stream and reaching a gate. Continue along the foot of a steep bank on the right, passing a waymaker on a post before descending to the larger but also charming Sow How Tarn, complege with boathouse. At a dilapidated stone wall before the tarn turn left to follow the line indicated by a waymark, keeping close to the wall to rejoin the bridleway.

5) Turn right, initially downhill; there are more waymarks before the outfall stream from the tarn, with rapids, is crossed. The bridleway rises towards Sow How (farm), in view ahead. Go through a gate to reach a signposted junction.

6) Turn left to follow a farm track, gently downhill. As Foxfield hamlet is approached, the track has a hard surface. Pass through the hamlet.

7) In approximately 400m after a right bend, turn left to leave the road at a gate, along a signposed grass path, descending gently. At a junction of walls go right, through a waymarked gate, and continue between stone walls. Go through another gate; the path now among bracken. Cross Spannel Beck.

8) In a further 150m fork left on a more minor path, cross a tiny stream and rise up the far side of a mini valley. Go over a gated stile to enter the woodland. At the far edge of the wood go over a waymarked gated ladder stile, then take the lower path to another waymarked stile. The path now heads down to the minor road, accessed over yet another ladder stile. Rejoin the outward route at point 1 returning to the car park by the same route.

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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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