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10 reasons not to walk in the Lake District

We love the Lake District National Park – I mean, who wouldn’t?  The breathtaking lakes and soaring fells – but did you know it only accounts for one third of the county of Cumbria?  To show you how great the rest of the county is, here are 10 reasons not to walk in the Lake District, or rather the less tongue in cheek 10 amazing walks in Cumbria outside of the Lake District National Park.

Black Combe – the forgotten fell.  From the top you can see into the high fells and right down, across Morecambe Bay to Blackpool Tower in the south.  There’s a lovely route up from Silecroft and a couple of great pubs to visit there once you’re done.

10 reasons not to walk in the Lake District
Credit Steve Pipe

Smardale Gill nature reserve – some of the most beautiful spots have a distinctly industrial past and this is one of them. The stunning arches of the old viaduct sweep across the narrow river valley and, if you’re not too nimble on your pins, this is a great place to visit – the paths are broad and gentle and there’s ramped access at either end of the reserve.

10 reasons not to walk in the Lake District
Credit Steve Pipe

The cliffs at St Bees – the only cliffs in Cumbria and the start of the coast to coast walk – though you don’t have to go all the way to Yorkshire to appreciate this route. Park down in St Bees and head up and along the cliff path – you can pause to watch the sea birds from the RSPB look out points and then hunt for semi precious stones down on Fleswick beach.

The Cliffs at St Bees
Photo credit: Upupa4me via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Arnside Knott – many folks forget that Arnside is still in Cumbria but it offers some of the best views of the fells and a superb chippy to boot. Take a stroll up Arnside Knott, wander down to explore the ancient tower then head back around the coast for a proper chippy tea.

Arnside Knott
Photo credit: Jenny Mackness via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

High Cup Nick – so good Julia Bradbury went there. Tucked away on the far eastern side of the county this breathtaking walk leads you up into the Pennines with jaw dropping views down along a superb glacial valley.  Honestly, if all geography lessons were this much fun we’d all have paid more attention.

Photo credit: walkinguphills via Foter.com / CC BY
Photo credit: walkinguphills via Foter.com / CC BY

Hampsfell Hospice – an easy 30 minute walk from gorgeous Grange-over-Sands will bring you up to the hospice. Built by the Victorians to provide shelter on the top of the fell it offers grandstand views of Morecambe Bay.  There’s also a handy device on the summit allowing you to identify all the distant fells – that should stop a few arguments. . .

Hampsfell Hospice
Photo credit: ARG_Flickr via Foter.com / CC BY

Bowness-on-Solway – yes, there’s another Bowness in the county and this one is right up on the north coast with views across the firth to Scotland. There are thousands of birds to see out on the estuary and look out for the remains of the jetty where the old bridge used to be and imagine how spectacular it would have been to see it in its heyday.

Photo credit: dafydd w via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND


Walney Island and Piel Island – dangling off the south of Barrow this far south westerly corner of the county is largely ignored, which is a real pity. There are beautiful flat walks around the reserve where you can pause to spot the grey seals coming in at high tide.  Then take a short drive around to Roa Island where you can catch the ferry to PIel Island, explore the castle and perhaps even meet the king. . .

10 reasons not to walk in the Lake District
Credit Steve Pipe

Burns Beck Moss – another gem from Cumbria Wildlife Trust, this time tucked away to the east of Kendal. The nature reserve itself is tiny but there are some lovely walks across the gentle hills to Killington and down along the Lune Valley.  It’s the ideal walk for getting great views of the perfectly sculpted Howgills and planning your next route.

Devil’s Bridge & Ruskin’s View – Kirkby Lonsdale is tucked down in the south east corner of the county. Take a stroll through the village to discover Ruskin’s view and the multicoloured barn – or follow one of the paths along the Lune, but remember to pack a picnic as there are plenty of benches around Devil’s Bridge where you can enjoy your flask and sarnies.

10 reasons not to walk in the Lake District
Credit: Steve Pipe

So there you have it, 10 reasons not to walk in the Lake District.

This article comes to you in association with the @NotJustLakes  campaign, an account created and managed by five Cumbrian locals to promote and support all local Cumbrian businesses

In an effort to reverse some of the damage done to local Cumbrian businesses by the recent storms a local group of Twitter friends and outdoor enthusiasts are creating their own storm – this time on social media.

Beth Pipe, part of the @NotJustLakes team has kindly given her expert insights to bring us these 10 reasons not to walk in the Lake District. You can find more of Beth’s wonderful insights on Cumbria in her blog Cumbrian Rambler, and of course if you’re keen to learn more about @NotJustLakes, or just want to support then please catch up with the team on their ever busy twitter feed @NotJustLakes 

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Tryfan Williams

I’m a Welshman born and raised in the shadow of Snowdonia, and you could say the Mountains are in my blood with a name like Tryfan! I would class myself as a relative newcomer to the outdoor pursuits arena, and so my articles will be my attempt to chronicle my adventures, hopefully learning as I go and giving those that are in a similar boat an insight / forum to share and learn.

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