Walks around the village of Culgaith
NOTE - Alas the footpath through HAG WOOD has collapsed and therefore temporarily the route cannot be accessed from the bottom of 'the pea' but must be accessed down the steep lane from B to A
This is the first of what it is hoped will be a series of walks around the parish. This first is supplied by Mike Graham.
The complete walk is approximately 8 km (5 miles) but this can be reduced to 5 km (3 miles).
Someone walking at average pace should allow 2-3 hrs for the long walk and 1.5 to 2 hrs for the shorter one.
The walk has been designed to show you the village of Culgaith and some of its surrounding countryside. You will pass through farmland and very near to the gardens of village residents. So please respect property and follow the
Walk on the pavement on the recreation Ground side of the road, past the school, for 500m (550 yds) towards the middle of the village. You will soon see an area of open land on your left called “The Tarn”. (Shown on old maps as a large pond covering three or four acres). This ground still floods after periods of heavy rain. When you get to the Victoria Institute you will be at the junction with the main road through the village from Langwathby to the A66. On your left is the monument to villagers killed in the world wars.
At the road junction, bear right and continue forwards for 400 m (440 yds) past the old village smithy on your right and the church, All Saints, on your left.
When you get to the Black Swan Pub, cross over to the other side of the road well before you get to the sharp bend.
Continue ahead past the old Cumberland County Council signpost and walk steeply down the hill known locally as “The Pea”. There is a superb view of the Upper Eden Valley and the Howgill Hills beyond. Beneath your feet is the Settle-Carlisle Railway Line travelling through a 600m ( 661yds) tunnel.
At the bottom of the Pea cross the road immediately and go down the road marked “private” until you reach the water treatment works on your right. You will now be faced by a wooden gate with a sign saying “Private – Hag Wood, keep to the footpath”.
Go through the gate and continue ahead keeping the River Eden on your left. Take care at all times but especially when the river is high. The path follows the river and enters the wood. The path has been carefully managed using a series of steps and walkways to overcome some steep ground.
Leave the wood through the “kissing” or “bachelor” gate and if your aim is to complete the whole walk, continue to follow the river along a permissive footpath.
If you wish to return at this point (“A” on the map) - turn right and follow the fence on your right until you get to a gate. Turn right through the gate into a lonning (lane) which take you steeply upwards to the Langwathby to Culgaith road- at point “B” on the map. Then follow the directions (below) from where the extended walk rejoins.
On the longer walk the path follows the river for about 800 m (0.5 miles) before coming to a stile over a barbed-wire fence, next to a sign “Hag Wood Private Fishing”. Keep a look out for a flash of blue – the elusive kingfisher! The path leaves the river – bank at this point and goes into a field. After 400 m (0.25 miles), at the end of this field, go through a metal field-gate between two trees. Immediately after this gate look for a permissive footpath marker which indicates that the path follows the fence. After 600 m (a third of a mile) there is another metal field-gate, with a permissive footpath marker on the post, and a stile over a barbed wire fence next to it. To your right is the Settle-Carlisle Railway line and you may see a train emerging from “Wastebank” the smaller of the Culgaith’s two tunnels.
The path soon goes by the side of a small corrugated-iron hut before reaching the point where the River Eden is joined by the River Eamont at the place known locally a “Waters Meet”. Looking to your right you will see that the path turns uphill to pass through a gate and under the Settle to Carlisle Railway Line, through a tunnel, before joining the Langwathby to Culgaith road.
Turn right and walk back uphill for about 1.5 km (1 mile) to the point where a fingerpost to “Pea Top” (at “B” on the map) shows the lonning leading to the River. As you walk this section you will see one of the finest panoramas in Britain. The peaks of Great and Little Dun Fell and Cross Fell on your left with the obvious cone of Dufton Pike and a huge swathe of Lake District Peaks, from Blencathra to High Street on your left with Helvellyn and other major fells amongst them, on your right. The River Eamont drains this massive area and in times of flood the whole area below you is covered with water. The walk you have just undertaken is impossible at these times.
From point “B” carry on towards the village for another 650 m (700 yds) until you come to a road which turns off to your left (signposted Moorside and Staingills). Follow this road, past a bungalow on your left and two houses on your right until another road ( signposted Moorside and Staingills) goes off to your left.
At this point look for a stile with a sprung wicket-gate in the stone wall on your right (just to the right of a field-gate) and go through this - keeping to the hedge on your right. (There is a finger-post pointing you to”Culgaith”). Where this hedge turns sharp right (just after a stile at point “C” on the map – see alternative below) continue in the same direction that you have been walking – towards the left of two big trees about 100 m away (100 yds ). You will see a yellow waymark to your left directing you to the corner of the field. The stile in the corner is almost hidden – but there is another waymark pointing left. Go over the stile and step immediately onto another stile. Then turn immediately right, through a gate, into a field with a fence made out of horizontal strips of brown plastic. Keep this fence on your left and walk towards a wide gate at the end of the field. Once through this gate you will walk between a continuation of the fence on your left and the horses’ training area on your right. At the end of this section there is a wicket-gate with a waymark on it pointing forwards. As soon as you go through the gate – turn left for about 10 m and turn right and walk for another 10 m to another wicket gate. Go through the gate and turn right immediately over a sandstone stile in the wall. Turn left into a narrow passage between a wall and a beech hedge. When you reach the end of this passage you will be back on the road with your starting point to your left.
Another alternative is to go over the sandstone stile just before point “C” and follow the left hand hedge. (The map shows the path soon re-entering the field but a new fence has been erected). At the end of this hedge there is a field gate with a stile and waymark directing you forwards. Follow the hedge on your right until you get to a short section of sandstone wall between two field gates. There is a stile in it with a waymark on it.. Walk ahead following the hedge until you come to the final stile which takes you into the lane (between the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel and a house) and back onto the main road.