We could hardly ever tell people just where we’re going on a walk, as we tend to change our minds as we go. We were planning to walk up from Askham through the Lowther Estate and then up to the ring cairn on Knipe Scar. But in the end we put off the cairn and the scar for another day, and had a stravaig that took us up through Bampton Grange, Bampton and Helton.
A rather lovely day of footpaths and lanes, old red telephone boxes, lots of Cranesbill in the hedgerows. A day that began and ended with a shower but stayed mostly dry. A day of ice cream from the super tea room in Bampton.
If you haven’t walked Bampton then you should. So many folk rush through the Lowther valley to get to Haweswater and grand walks up to Nan Bield, Kidsty Pike, High Street and all those wonderful tops. There’s a corpse road too. Well worth seeking out, all of them. But don’t ignore the gorgeous and peaceful places around Bampton along the way.
We set off from Askham, one of the loveliest villages in Cumbria, following the River Lowther up towards the hamlet of Whale. Just beyond is a footpath that saves a bit of lane walking, though the lanes are quiet enough.
On this path is what looks like a very old stone clapper bridge, with a more modern handrail. The top of the path needs the overgrowth clearing and I’ve logged that slight problem on the Ramblers Pathwatch website. Not a great obstruction though. You can still walk the path, though your legs might get wet if the grass is wet.
Along a lane then of long views, old barns and a farmer who gave us a friendly greeting. Below Knipe Scar is a red phone box, which is now a community hub. A good use for it. And no, for fans of the film Withnail and I it’s not that phone box, which is below in the village – much of that cult film was shot in the valley here.
There are some wonderful barns on the way, the kind of place I would have slept in my younger tramping days as I vagabonded my way around England. Back in Devon most have been converted into homes. Good here to see so many used for their original purpose, many still having the original animal stalls which can be Victorian or even older.
We wandered down to Bampton Grange, crossed the Lowther and walked back through Bampton and Helton. The tea rooms in Bampton are open, walker-friendly and recommended. We stopped for an ice cream and a friendly chat. Well worth going to for refreshments whether you are walking locally or have been up the higher mountains around Haweswater.
Just making up our walk as we went along, we notched up ten miles of fairly easy walking, without much in the way of gradients. If you want to get a bit off the beaten track, then the paths and lanes around Bampton are well worth an explore.