Grange Over Sands – 28th April 2019

Strenuous Leader: Carole Rankin                                   Distance: 10.50 miles

An undulating walk with no great height but hopefully amazing views.

From Grange we climb through Brown Robin Nature Reserve and Eggerslack Wood to reach Hampsfell Hospice at 240m, 788ft. We descend to Cartmel with its Priory, Race Course and Sticky Toffee Pudding Shop. Then we go cross country over Grange Fell Golf Course and Eden Mount then returning to the start along the Prom.

Moderate Leader: Peter Denton                                        Distance: 6.00 miles

We will be walking up to the top of Hampsfell where we will get 360 panoramic views. We will be walking uphill till we have our lunch at the top. If it is windy we may find a stop a bit lower to picnic. Less miles are more climb. Happy Rambling. The views make it worthwhile. Here’s hoping for a clear day.

Leisurely Leader: Dave Hatchard                                           Distance: 6.00 miles

We first make our way up Hampsfell Road, this is a steep bit, but we will have plenty of stops and the effort is worth the walk as the views are spectacular at the top. We pass the Hospice and enter Merlewood and through to Eggerslack Wood, then loop around back up to the Hospice and retrace our steps back into Grange Over Sands

The walk consists of tracks and quiet country lanes.  The route is varied and very pleasant. We travel along woods, fields, heartland, limestone outcrops There are some fine views north towards Cumbria and south overlooking the Kent Estuary.

Easy Leaders: Hazel Anderton and Ruth Melling              Distance: 4.60 miles

We walk first to the north east of Grange up through Eggerslack Wood. When we come out of the wood we turn and walk along a track with the back of the wood on one side and the upland limestone scenery to our right. We go along the path at the back of the wood until we meet a little lane. We follow the lane eventually coming to mainly quiet roads going down through housing and finally about half a mile along the promenade and through the park back to the centre of Grange to the café with yummy cakes.

We are walking up for a while but the only steepish bit is when we first enter the wood. We came across one muddy place which can be avoided by walking on the grass banking alongside. Generally, it is good underfoot on paths, tracks lanes and roads.  We only came across a few stiles mainly stone ones.  There are some fine views of the Kent Estuary.

Notes on the area

Once a small coastal village, Grange over Sands was transformed into a fashionable resort by the coming of the Furness Railway linking it with Lancaster. Villas and hotels were built to take advantage of the exceptionally mild climate which is due to the sheltered south facing aspect of the coast here. 

Though the sands are not safe for bathing, this is more than compensated for by the extensive promenade gardens along the sea front. Because of the mild climate the gardens boast rock-plants, alpines and even subtropical species. Away from the hotels, shops and cafes there are some lovely walks, none nicer than the path behind the town which climbs through the magnificent limestone woodlands, rich in wild flowers. The path leads to Hampsfell Summit and the Hospice, a little stone tower from which there is an unforgettable view of Morecambe Bay and the craggy peaks of the Lake District. The tower, known as the Hospice, was provided by a pastor of Cartmel in the last century for the shelter and entertainment of wanderers. An external flight of stairs leads to a flat roof and the viewing-point. See if you can work out the riddle scrawled on one of the walls.

Grange is also the starting point of the Cistercian Way, an exceptionally interesting thirty seven mile footpath route through Furness to Barrow, linking many sites of Cistercian interest.

Cartmel is one of the prettiest villages in Furness, consisting of a delightful cluster of houses and cottages set around a square, from which lead winding streets and arches into charming back yards.  The village is dominated by the famous Cartmel Priory, founded in 1188 by Augustine Canons.

The sands of Morecambe Bay are notorious because of the dangerous incoming tide which sweeps in by a bore, faster than a galloping horse, surrounding sandbanks and softening them into quick sands before covering them. At low tide there is a safe passage along certain routes. Before the days of rail and car there were recognised highways across the sands, saving the long journey around the bay. However, the channels and quick sands frequently changed position, so the monks of Cartmel Priory provided a guide service for travellers. These days the service is provided by the official sand pilot, Cedric Robinson, who takes groups of intrepid walkers across the sands from far afield often raising money for charity. To attempt a crossing without a guide is folly in the extreme. We will probably remember the Chinese cocklers who drowned a few years ago while working illegally on the Bay at night time. Cedric has recently announced that at about 87 he is to retire, and in this last year he will be assisting the new guide.