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Merlewood

Cumbria, England

Hawkshead and Hawkshead Moor walking and hiking route

Forestry Commission car park (Pay and display) with picnic tables, by the side of the minor road connecting Grizedale with Hawkshead, grid reference 344965.

The former market town of Hawkshead is unlike anywhere else in Lakeland, a compact old settlement of charming little squares and alleyways, an immensely attractive and popular centre. Of particular interest are the church, the former grammar school attended by William Wordsworth, the Beatrix Potter Gallery and Ann Tyson's Cottage. Abundant inns and cafes cater for the needs of the many visitors Hawkshead Moor is at the northern end of the huge area of Grizedale Forest, owned and managed as commercial woodland by the Forestry Commission. For many years it has been walker (and cyclist) friendly.

There is a visitor centre further along the road from Hawkshead.

Roger Ground and Walker Ground are place names dating from the time of the dissolution of monasteries by King Henry VIII in 1539/40. Parcels of the lands formerly owned by the great Furness Abbey were sold off to individuals, whose names have endured over the subsequent centuries.

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Walk Instructions

Start by walking past the vehicular barrier at the back of the car park. Go straight ahead at a junction in 25m.

1) At the next (3 way) junction in about 200m turn right to follow a broad forest roadway, more or less level, for a distance of 1km. (two-thirds of a mile).

2) One hundred metres after a track joins from the left, turn right at a waymarked bridleway. There is a sign 'Permitted bridleway. This route goes to Hawkshead Village'. There is a stone wall on the right as the path heads for Hawkshead. Cross a stream , go through a gate and continue by the side of the stream, with excellent views of the mountains beyond Ambleside. The old buildings of Walker Ground are soon reached, with a 'Hawkshead' signpost beyond. Carry on to the village, passing Ann Tyson's Cottage before reaching the centre. Turn right to follow the main street as far as a little green by the public conveniences.

3) Turn right (signpost 'Hawkshead Church and Walker Ground') to walk past the former Grammar School and through the churchyard. Bear left to a gate at the far boundary. There are two more gates, one signposted 'Roger Ground', with a left turn, before that hamlet is reached. Turn right at Roger Ground to walk up the steep little road for 100m.

4) Turn left ('Howe Farm' signpost). Initially on tarmac, the path soon becomes grassy after passing Springfield and crossing a gated footbridge. Pass a static caravan site, with Esthwaite Water in view ahead. At Howe Farm go left, through two gates, to reach the farm access road. Continue to the public road. Turn right to walk by the roadside for almost 400m.

5) Take the second access drive on the right, with a 'public footpath' sign. Pass through a small hamlet with old buildings and through the grounds of the last house Elder Ghyll, to commence the long ascent back to Hawkshead Moor. Cross a vigorous beck on a footbridge to follow the steep, rough and muddy path along the side of a wooded valley. Leave the woodland at a gate, cross a stream on a tight little bridge and follow the waymarks on posts, marking the line of the path up the open hillside. As height is gained the views back to the Fairfield Horseshoe and the mountains above Troutbeck are impressive. There is some wet ground and several gates before the isolated dwelling 'High Barn' is reached. Pass between the house and its outbuilding and then follow the access drive as it rises steadily to the Hawkshead to Grizedale road, passing a 'Moor Top' signpost en route. At the public road turn righ to return to the car park.

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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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