Stats: 9 miles and 1050 feet of ascent
Not much doing en route. Low Sizergh Barn is a fine stop on the way home, assuming you’re going that way.
An easy but enjoyable pootle around a network of byways. Even this far south, it still counts as The Lakes because there’s a glimpse of Allan Tarn (the Octopus Lagoon in Swallows and Amazons) at one stage. And the National Park boundary says so. If you wanted to make more of it, you could link up with the Parkamoor loop.
Start point: There is room for two to three sensitively-parked cars at Moss Wood at SD326863.
1. Take the byway westward through the wood, managed by the Woodland Trust and dotted with memorial benches.
2. Break out into open pasture and keep going before the short descent to the quiet church at Colton. Be sure not to miss the unsigned singletrack on the right forking down from the church.
3. Head south on tarmac, turning right just after Millers Wood and climbing to Broad Hawes.
4. Cross open pasture, funnelling into a drove road. This opens out again but you should keep the wall on your left and the Coniston Fells in your sights.
5. When you reach Colton Hill, there’s a very tempting-looking bridleway down on the left. But it doesn’t lead where we’re going so head right up the hill and take the bridleway on the left where the road levels out.
6. Again, if the Coniston fells are clear of mist, they are your guide. Through Sayles Farm and drop slightly to Bessy Bank Lane.
7. Turn briefly left, then right up the surfaced farm road to Hill Park Farm. The wandering border collie is (November 2013) both friendly and silent. There are good signs through the farmyard but be sure to pass to the right of the big barn and turn left to go behind it.
8. Shortly after the farm, a right fork sets you on a northern bearing, in tune with the ethos of this site. Ignore kind offers from forest roads of easterly progress, and keep heading north until you meet Bletherbarrow Lane.
9. Turn right here and look for the red byway signs to High Ickenthwaite. One more, decline competing offers from two southbound bridleways and a walkers’ route into Arklid Intake wood.
10. At High Ickenthwaite, double back to your right and follow the byway to Oxen Park. Again, eschew a bridleway forking right.
11. In the village (hamlet, really), take the hill rising on the left and trundle back to the start, turning left at High Longmires.