Hawkshead, Cumbria Sunday 24th September 2017

Today’s Walk

Strenuous Leader : Carole Rankin & David Yates   Distance : 10.00 miles

From the CP in Hawkshead we go along B5285 then across fields, footpaths and Loanthwaite Lane to climb Latterbarrow (245m, 803ft). Next along forest paths to climb High Blind How, the highest point on Claife Heights (270m, 886ft). Then in the footsteps of Beatrix Potter we make our way to Three Dubs Tarn, Moss Eccles Tarn and her house, Hill Top, at Near Sawrey. After going along the edge of Esthwaite Water and following forest trails through Furness and across Hawkshead Moor we make our way back to Hawkshead along Vicarage Lane. Just to warn you, I have not had a chance to reccee this walk!!!
Thanks to Carole for stepping in once again, also thanks to her assistant leader Dave Yates

Moderate Leaders: Garry & Emma O’Toole   Distance : 8.40 miles

We make our way across fields and through woodland in a north westerly direction to reach Tarn Hows. Next we walk along a route which takes us around the tarn, and then return back to town along the same route as our journey out.

Leisurely Leaders: Joan McGlinchey & Hazel Anderton   Distance : 7.00 miles

From the car park, we go past the old school and across fields as we make our way to the district of Hawkshead Hill. Don’t panic it is not a steep hill, just a gentle rise. When we go into the woods we turn to the west to reach Boon Crag Farm. From there we make our way in a northerly direction to meet Tarn Hows. After walking along a track around the south-east side of the tarn we turn off to start the return back to Hawkshead on an elevated footpath which is reputed to have the best view of the lake. We go past an old house called Rose Castle, now being done up by the National Trust, and come back later through Hawkshead Hill to retrace the way back to town.
Bear with us when you see us studying the O/S. We have decided to change the middle part of the walk as we felt that the original route we took was too long and arduous for a leisurely.

Easy Leader : Cynthia Prescott   Distance 4.00 miles

Most of us will go to a cafe first and expect to meet back near the white toilet building at the car park at 11:30. This walk starts by going past Wordsworth’s old school and up past the church and on up good stony paths and tracks through wooded areas. We will take our time on the first half of the walk as it is mostly uphill but it is worth the climb for the views we get later over the surrounding countryside and Esthwaite Water. We come down on woodland tracks, cross a road and down on field paths to another road along which we will walk for about 1/4 mile. Then we go up to farm buildings to the marked footpaths which take us back to the church. We did not need to use any stiles on the walk as all gates opened and any mud we saw was usually avoidable by stepping to the side.

Notes On The Area

Hawkshead is an unspoiled ancient market town situated at the head of Esthwaite Water. It derives its name from an original Norse settlement called ‘Hawkr’s saeter’ established about 900 AD. The clearance of the surrounding woodland to provide pasture for animals was encouraged by the monks of Furness Abbey, who introduced sheep to the fells in the 13th century. Hawkshead received its market charter in 1608 and for the next 200 years it served as the chief centre in Furness for the trade in woollen yarns. These yarns were spun from the fleece as a household industry within the town, and the long well-lit spinning gallery was a common feature of the townscape. The trade in locally produced cloth proved extremely profitable for a number of Hawkshead farmers, especially those who acquired their own land after the dissolution of Furness Abbey in 1537. These yeoman farmers were known locally as ‘statesmen’ and their wealth made Hawkshead famous for its ‘hiring fairs’ when servants could be hired by the local masters. By the 19th century, the domestic industry of Hawkshead had been eclipsed by the mechanised woollen mills of Kendal. Nevertheless the town survived as a centre for rural crafts like saddlery, tanning, basket-making and blacksmiths, but nowadays it derives much of its income from tourism.

The village is not far from Beatrix Potter’s farm and the Beatrix Potter Gallery, now owned by the National Trust, has an exhibition of her writing and drawings.

There are no less than 38 buildings of special architectural or historic interest, many of them dating from the 17th and 18th centuries with those on Church Hill amongst the most attractive. These higgeldy and piggeldy buildings were loved by Beatrix and the poet William Wordsworth. The Grammar School was founded in 1585 by Edwin Sandys, the local born Archbishop of York. The school’s most famous pupil was Wordsworth, whose desk survives to this day. The present building dates from 1675. Over the entrance there is a memorial to Archbishop Sandys together with a sundial.

The 15th century church dominates the town from its position high upon Church Hill. Inside is a number of monuments and historical artefacts, together with a series of superb painted murals dating from 1680. In the churchyard is a copper sundial of 1693, the wooden lych gate of 1912, and the war memorial in the form of a Viking runic cross.