Cumbria Way Caldbeck to Carlisle

 

Difficulty : ModerateDuration : 7 HrsDistance : 24 Km

 

The Cumbria Way is one of Britain's most popular long distance footpaths. The seventy mile long distance route runs from Ulverston in south Cumbria to Carlisle in the north, passing through and over the heart of the Lake District, England's finest countryside. The way is usually walked from south to north making this the fifth and final stage of the route. This stage of the walk starts in the quaint picturesque village of Caldbeck and more or less follows the course of the River Caldew all the way to the busy bustling city of Carlisle. The first part of the walk passes through some very muddy forest tracks above the River Caldew then crosses the river below Sebergham and then runs along a track through fields before coming back down to the river and then following it all the way to the villages of Buckabank and then Dalston. After Dalston the way is pretty much worthless in my own opinion as the path turns into a litter strewn mess and heads into the busy city of Carlisle. There is no official finish point of the Cumbria Way but most see Carlisle Castle as the official end. The navigation and terrain are mostly simple but do watch out for the muddy paths, and despite being a mostly low level walk its still a lengthy route.



Full route description for this walk

 

This stage of the Cumbria Way starts at the small and remote village of Caldbeck. Caldbeck lies on the far northern edge of the Lake District National Park and is an excellent base for walking the surrounding lesser trodden but fantastic northern fells area. The village is a friendly community and walkers on the Cumbria Way or the Coast to Coast trails are always given a warm welcome.

To get on the Cumbria Way out of the village, cross the bridge over the river and walk right heading east down Friar Row. After passing many lovely little stone terrace cottages the road gets smaller. Here you will see St Kentigerns Church across the other side of the river. The very first church on this site was from as early as the sixth century. The church and its grounds are worth a visit if you have the time. The church can be reached by crossing the bridge on the right here.

St Kentigerns Church

St Kentigerns Church

Caldbeck Cottages

Caldbeck Cottages

Back on the correct side of the river now the route of the Cumbria Way heads along the same road heading east along the north side of the river. The road turns into a track then passes a fenced off area on the left before turning into a path along the river side. Not far after the path reaches a bend in the river the path heads left and uphill. After a short climb there is a bend in the track, here the track bends sharp left but the Cumbria Way goes off to the right here still keeping the eastern direction. The path goes above the line of the forest and is extremely muddy. After just over a kilometre the path comes out from the forest area and into wide but steep open fields. After passing through one you get to another and head to its far end where a gate leads into natural woodland. After another half kilometre through this woodland area you will reach a wide wooden gate to a track. Here don't go through the road gate and instead take the path to the right hand side of the gateway. It heads steeply down to the River Caldew.

Parsons Park Forest

Parsons Park Forest

Denton Side Meadow

Denton Side Meadow

The River Caldew here is a fast running and beautiful river hidden in a valley with steep banks covered in deciduous woodland. The path heads north along the river side. After a short walk with the River Caldew on you right the path goes into a huge wide open meadow. Here the path simply sticks to the left hand side of the meadow following the bottom perimeter of Denton Side Wood. After crossing the huge meadow you will reach a track that will take you towards the farm buildings and eventually to the main road and a stone road bridge crossing the River Caldew. Cross the stone road bridge over the river and walk slightly uphill for about fifty metres and you will see the signs for the Cumbria Way footpath heading through a small gate on the left side of the road and to the right of a small house. Go through the path here and onto a muddy field, keep to the right of the field and follow its steep incline to the top of the field and you will find a gateway in the top right corner towards a house. Go through here and onto a tarmac road, once on the road pass the two houses on the right and keep going down the road towards Sebergham Church. Once at the church you will see the signposts pointing left down a country lane opposite the church.

Bell Bridge

Bell Bridge

River Caldew

River Caldew

Head down the country lane towards Sebergham Hall. When you get to Sebergham Hall the path passes the hall to the right and joins up with the country road on the northern side of the hall. Follow this road north for half a kilometre until you reach the stone bridge at Bell Bridge. Cross Bell Bridge and look for a gap in the wall on the right hand side just after crossing the bridge. Go through the gap in the wall and head along the path sticking to the right hand side of the field and following the western bank of the River Caldew.

The way now follows the River Caldew for over three kilometres firstly passing an old mill near Lanehead, over open fields near Bog Bridge and through a small wooded area by Park House before reaching the beautiful Rose Bridge by Rose Castle. When you reach the bridge look left and you will see Rose Castle. Rose Castle is the palace of the Bishops of Carlisle. Parts of the castle date back as far as the fourteenth century. To keep on the way cross the main road and head through a gate on the other side of the road following the bank on the same side of the river. The path follows the river until it reaches a stile near a sharp bend in the river. Here the path heads off to the left and heads uphill towards Lime House School.

Rose Bridge

Rose Bridge

Rose Castle

Rose Castle

Just before Lime House School you have to go through a metal kissing gate. Like many kissing gates on the way they are ridiculously small considering the amount of backpackers with large packs who pass through them. Turn left onto the road passing the school on your right. Do not follow the road as it turns sharp left, instead go straight across along the small track heading towards the small houses. Turn first left when you reach the new houses road and then almost immediately right heading towards the racecourse and Hawksdale Hall. When you reach the hall the path passes it to the right and then heads uphill with the racecourse always on your right.

Bridge End Inn

Bridge End Inn

Buckabank Mill Stream

Buckabank Mill Stream

After passing the racecourse the path meets a road. Follow the road as it bends to the left and heads down to the main road. At the main road turn right and cross the road to the Bridge End Inn for well deserved refreshments. There are now only five miles to go to the end of the way. I'll be completely honest with anyone here and say that the last four or five miles of the Cumbria Way are in my personal opinion an absolute waste of time as after Dalston the way is only taking you the quickest and also most litter strewn and boring way possible to Carlisle. I find it a real shame as it ruins the end of a fantastic long distance footpath. In my opinion the Cumbria Way should end either here in Bridge End or at Dalston Village.

From the Bridge End Inn cross the road and go over the older wide bridge into Buckabank. Once over the bridge don't follow the road as it bends right instead stay on the left side and go straight along the smaller road. At the next junction turn right down the road and then take the second left down a road with an old mill stream on its left side. After about two hundred metres you'll reach the old mill which is now factories, pass through the mill and down the road with the stream on the left again. At the end of the road go left crossing firstly the small mill stream and then over the River Caldew. Turn right and follow the main road into the pretty little village centre of Dalston.

Carlisle Council Estate

Carlisle Council Estate

Carlisle Castle

Carlisle Castle

Pass through the village of Dalston to the other end and you will find the Cumbria Way leaves the east side of the main road down the left side of a primary school. The path is now a bridleway that reaches the River Caldew and then heads left following its western banks and creeps behind industrial back areas of Dalston. Sadly this bridleway is your path now for the final leg to Carlisle. The bridle way passes the industrial area and meets up with the railway line on the left which it eventually passes left underneath a bridge along with the river. The bridleway passes more factories and then eventually the council houses and buildings of Carlisle. Once in Carlisle you can either head for the railway station or go to the unofficial finish of the walk at the Carlisle Castle. There is also an official log book for those completing the walk kept at the tourist info near the castle. I find it hard to type enthusiastic words about the final five miles of the Cumbria Way as I really do feel it should end five miles earlier at Dalston but think the route finishes in Carlisle purely for logical and commercial reasons.

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Photos taken on this walk

 
Images from March 6th 2008.

Nicky on bed at Oldfellows Arms St Kentigerns Church in Caldbeck Terrace Cottages in Caldbeck Cumbria Way crosses fields after Caldbeck Trees at Parsons Park Meadow by Dentonside Wood Bell Bridge River Caldew near Caldewbeck Rose Castle Rose Bridge Stream near Lime House School Bridge End Inn at Bridge End Mill Stream at Buckabank Human litter at Dalston Carlisle council estate and gas tower Grey Heron by River Caldew in Carlisle Carlisle Castle Carlisle Railway Station



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Images from March 6th 2008.




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