Swallows, Skylarks, Cuckoos and a Stainless Steel Bridge – A Walk to Pooley Bridge

Yesterday we took our first steps into the Lake District since before Lockdown, walking from Askham to Pooley Bridge – across Askham Fell and Moor Divock, a favourite walking area of ours.DSCF1967

It’s a while since we’ve walked across to Pooley Bridge from Askham, the last time was just before Storm Desmond, where we sat in the tea garden by the lovely old Pooley Bridge. Not long afterwards, that historic structure was swept away. I’d known the old bridge for some years. I was shocked to see it go.

Cottages in Askham (c) John Bainbridge 2020

The replacement bridge is now in place, but not open. It’s made of stainless steel and has no resemblance to the original. But I have to admit that I went expecting to loathe the replacement, being a hater of most things modern.

Ullswater from the Fell (c) John Bainbridge 2020

But you know, I rather liked the stainless steel bridge. It has fine lines and a rather elegant simplicity. I would, of course, swap it for the old bridge. But given we can’t have it back this isn’t a bad replacement. My pictures don’t do it justice. Do have a look at the website – address on the first picture above.

The New Bridge (c) John Bainbridge 2020

Being a Monday, Pooley Bridge was deserted when we got there, though I know it’s been busy at weekends.

The Bridge (c) John Bainbridge 2020

The walk across the fells from Askham was a delight as always. There were a lot of swallows about on the village greens and it was sheer joy to hear the skylarks on the higher ground. As we climbed back on the return journey we heard our first cuckoo in the distance.

On the Fell (c) John Bainbridge 2020

Some of the paths we used are now part of the Ullswater Way. We were doing our second circuit of this lovely route when Britain went in Lockdown. We look forward to resuming this adventure in the near future.

We talked to a villager in Askham. She said that the village car park had been heaving with people over the weekend, few bothering to social distance. It we get a second wave of this wretched thing I wouldn’t be surprised.

And yes – I think I’m a convert in admiration of the new Pooley Bridge.

Please enjoy your walks but stay safe. 



Published by John Bainbridge

Rambler, hillwalker, stravaiger and trespasser, access campaigner. Novelist writing historical and period crime fiction.

11 thoughts on “Swallows, Skylarks, Cuckoos and a Stainless Steel Bridge – A Walk to Pooley Bridge

  1. I remember when Storm Desmond washed away several bridges on the old railway line (now a foot and cycle path) between Threlkeld and Keswick – so sad to see them go, I love that walk when I’m up that way. I don’t know if new bridges have been put in to replace them yet. Sorry to hear the Lakes have been inundated with visitors recently – I wish people would act more responsibly and stay away for now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s a free car park on the western side of the bridge, just off the road from Penrith to Patterdale, by the western junction of the road into Pooley. More details on the Cumbria.gov website. The web address is on the picture heading the blog.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I presume the free car park will close when the bridge re-opens. I notice that some folk park their cars on the side of the road at the head of the lane leading up to Moor Divock/Askham Fell, though I suspect you’d have to get there early.


  2. I loved the old bridge and was so shocked and saddened when I heard it had been swept away. Having a surname like mine you won’t be surprised to know that we visit Pooley Bridge on most of our jaunts into the Lakes. My husband has an amusing one of his father at Pooley Bridge taken by his mother with the sign for ‘toilets’ just above his head.
    I visited the website and I must say that the new bridge is a beauty!

    Liked by 1 person

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