Whitbarrow Scar is an outlying fell of Lakeland and so many times, I have passed this place which is often quiet but sometimes thriving with activity and thought, ‘I wonder what it is like up there?’ It’s one of those places you want to visit, but you always seem on your way to somewhere else….until now! I was glad that we made the decision to stop and explore this really beautiful, photogenic place.
Parking is really easy – just turn off the main A590 at Mill Side and there is free parking almost as soon as you turn in. I hadn’t been out all week due to having the most dreadful chesty virus and laryngitis, so I was glad to get out of the car and breathe that gorgeous, fresh country air that hung crisp in the atmosphere. It was cold and breezy, but the sky was blue and the sun was shining. I was well wrapped up and my boots were quickly on and ready to go. I knew it was going to be one of those great days when a couple of people slowly passing in their cars on the country lane waved and smiled at us as we set off. I always like a smile and a wave.
We headed up the country lane at Mill Side and headed towards Raven’s Lodge, heading along the south base of the scar. Even from here, the views across the Kent Estuary towards Milnthorpe were special with the Sun
glinting through the trees and illuminating the landscape before us, bringing it to life with a fanfare of wintery wonder. As we got into the woodland, we saw lots of wildlife including several species of bird and some deer running along amongst the trees.
We followed the path heading towards Rawsons passing some interesting features on the way, including some inquisitive cows and a little kiosk selling Christmas cards with an honesty box. The view upwards was quite spectacular as the huge limestone escarpment dominates the landscape through the trees.
As you approach, you really do feel like you have the best of everything as a walker; Limestone pathways, woodland, wildlife, farmland, mud, fresh air, little waterfalls and brooks – we were truly spoiled.
Once we reached Rawsons, we turned left but the footpath became a little unclear and it felt we were walking through the yard belonging to the cottages there. We were on the right track though, so head straight for the path, through the gate and into the woodland again. There was a path I almost took by accident that led into the garden, but it was carefully signposted with ‘trespassers will be composted!’ I didn’t fancy that, but it did make me laugh!
A lovely woodland hike precedes the actual escarpment. It felt expansive walking along the plateau and as we got marginally higher with each few steps, the panorama was becoming clearer. Whitbarrow is a national nature reserve, rich in wildlife, flora and fauna. Even though it was a sunny day, the atmosphere was slightly hazy, but views were still great.
We walked to the edge of the Scar to look, out over the Kent estuary and observing the River Kent and it’s lovely shape meandering through the valley below and across to Morecambe Bay. We then walked along parallel to the scar, almost along its full length, looking towards the Langdales and Scafell, with the Pennines visible on the East. We made it to Lord’s Seat which has an impressive
cairn commemorating the founder of the Lake District Naturalists’ Trust. After finding a lovely picnic stop and having lunch, we carried on and cut across heading West with the path clearly marked by several cairns. We found a stile in the wall and a path to take us down, heading towards Park Wood – this was quite a scramble down so be careful! We came out at the playing fields and walked along the perimeter on the footpath before cutting left through more woods before getting to the hamlet of Beck Head.
At Beck Head, we found ‘The Hiker’s Rest’ which is a little unstaffed café where
you can brew up for yourself for a nominal fee and have a rest before carrying on your journey. I am reliably informed that this cute, kind and quirky place is open most days of the year. Perhaps you may stumble upon this too one day on your travels?
It is no wonder that Alfred Wainwright describes this walk in his book ‘Outlying Fells of Lakeland’ ‘the most beautiful in this book; beautiful it is every step of the way.’ It certainly took my breath away and is an absolute must visit. Don’t just pass it on your travels like I did for years. Stop, get out of the car and explore! You won’t be disappointed.
We walked 7.5 miles with a TOTAL elevation gain of 1,093ft according to Strava (Lord’s seat is 706 ft). It took us 4 hours including a stop for lunch and lots of stops to take in the gorgeous scenery. Sensible footwear is essential as with all fell walks.
Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you
Frank Lloyd Wright