Sedbergh, Cumbria Sunday 21st March 2015

Today’s Walks

Strenuous Leader : Carole Rankin   Distance : 9.50 miles

Good pace required, a steep climb at the beginning then mainly flat.
From the car park we make our way via Castlehaw to the Dales High Way and climb up into the Howgills to the highest point of the walk (500m, 1640’). Then we walk along the ridge to Winder (473m, 1552’) giving us amazing views (hopefully) before descending via Height of Winder to join the Dales Way at Low Branthwaite. We follow the Dales Way along river Lune and the river Rawthey, (passing the confluence of the rivers Rawthey and Dee), and through Akay Woods to Millthrop Bridge. We return to Sedbergh from New Bridge.

Moderate Leader : Garry & Emma O’Toole   Distance : 8.00 miles

The walk will start from the car park and head up a steady hill to the side of Winder, and we will take in the views of Sedburgh as we climb up to 1000ft. (Note not a total climb of 1000ft) The walk will go around the edge of Winder and then fall back down towards Green Mantle. There is a very short stretch of main road with just one small stile to negotiate. The walk then follows the edge of River Rawthey where there are plenty of nice stops along the way for water breaks. There is also a small blue creature prepared for all weathers hiding along the route. (there is a prize for whoever spots it first). It is not too hard under foot. Plenty of cafes and shops in the small town. (Even a pub for Tommy)

Leisurely Leader : Jackie Gudgeon   Distance 7.00 miles

From the coach park in Sedbergh we ascend Joss Lane which morphs into a rising path alongside Settlebeck Gill to reach a left turn taking us along a footpath high above the valley of the River Rawthey, descending gradually to Lockbank Farm. Enjoying fine views along the way. Here we follow Howgill Lane before taking a path past Under Winder to cross the A684 which we follow for a very short stretch to reach a track which eventually joins the Dales Way. We follow the Dales Way past Prospect House, Luneside and High Oaks before eventually reaching the banks of the River Rawthey. We follow the river as far as Birks where we turn for Sedbergh, passing the rather posh Sedbergh School. Good tracks, field paths and quiet lanes. Two stretches of main road. Some parts of the river bank may need some care as the path is in places quite narrow and ‘rooty’.

Easy Leaders : Hazel Anderton & Philomena walker   Distance : 5.50 miles

Today our walk takes us to the west and south of Sedbergh passing through areas known as Luneside, Ingmire and Birks, and then along the river and past Sedbergh School and the park back to town. We start our walk by walking up Howgill Lane for ½ mile or so. There are some steepish bits to start off with but nothing taxing, but then it becomes a gentle rise. Once we leave the lane the walk is easy, except for two other steepish, but very short bits, where we must leave the riverside. We walk in open countryside, along fields, passing small woods, down little lanes and go alongside the River Rawthey. Most of the walk is very good underfoot apart from a small area along the river bank which is a bit uneven with wooden steps and tree roots. There are only a few stiles but most look brand new and none had the usual wobbly stone tops, slimy treads or big drops. We enjoyed doing the recee as we found that in the open countryside there were great views at every turn. We hope you do too.

Notes On The Area

The market town of Sedbergh is situated just inside the western boundary of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The town was founded by Norsemen who named it ‘Setberg’ or ‘flat topped hill’. The main business of the town has always been textiles, and a thriving woollen industry existed in the mid-19th century. Sedbergh must be one of the best villages that we visit. It is lovely with many buildings of local stone and lots of quaint alleyways off the main street with nice old houses in the ‘yards’. In Weavers Yard there is an old house with a vast chimney, in which Bonnie Prince Charlie hid after the failure of the 1745 rebellion.

In 1251 Sedbergh was granted a charter to hold an annual market and fair, and it is still an important market centre for the surrounding countryside. At one time, the inhabitants of Sedbergh lived by preparing wool, which flourished from the Middle Ages until the 19th century. Whole families were engaged in knitting, while weavers, knitters and merchants used Sedbergh as a centre for the buying and selling of their wares.

Sedbergh is surrounded by lovely countryside and is dominated to the west by Winder Fell, the 1551 ft high spur of the main Howgill range. Although part of the Yorkshire Dales National park, the area of the Howgills is tied geologically, politically, and socially to Cumbria rather than to North Yorkshire. It is a splendid region of great whale-backed hills – smooth, steep sided and grassy with little heather or bracken and crossed only by lovely green tracks, with superb views over both the Dales and into the Lakes.

Cautley Spout, on the eastern flank of the Howgills, overlooking the Rawthey Valley is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the National Park. It is a magnificent cascade of white water hundreds of feet long, with its visual impact heightened by a huge valley of rock and scree.

The church of St Andrews dates from the 13th century. It has a 15th century tower and most of the windows are 15th century or Tudor. Some of the pews are 17th century, and an alms box dates from 1633. In June 1652, from a bench beneath a yew tree in the churchyard, George Fox preached to the crowd gathered in the town for the annual Hiring Fair. From that date Sedbergh has been a centre of the Quaker faith. At Brigflatts, reached off the A684 just over one mile south-west of Sedbergh, stands a Quaker meeting house built in 1675, as an inscription over the porch shows. The simple white walled building still preserves a fragment of the yew tree under which George Fox once preached.

The famous Sedbergh School was founded by a charity in 1528 under Dr Roger Lupton. Supressed by Henry VIII, Sedbergh was re-founded in 1551 under the grammar school legislation of Edward VI. From its early days the school has been closely connected with St John’s College, Cambridge. The oldest part of the building dates from 1716.

For the tourist there are lots of events taking place throughout the year with a good website giving details for the year.