04/21/2014

This is a fabulous walk, not least because it takes in a good pub halfway round!

We park near St Bega’s church which is a lovely little church, built on the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake over 900 years ago. To get to St Bega’s, follow the A591 from Keswick (where you will find several self catering lake district holiday cottages) towards Bassenthwaite. Carry on for about 4 miles and then turn left down a small single tracked road (signed Bassenthwaite Lake & Scarness). The parking for St Bega’s is just down here and then you will need to walk across a couple of fields and an avenue of ancient oaks to get to the church itself.

After checking out the church, where you’ll find Melvyn Bragg is a patron in recognition of his book ‘Credo’, retrace your steps back along the oak avenue until it starts to go uphill and then turn left across the pasture to a wood which is accessed via a stile. This wood is beautiful in Spring with primroses and bluebells. It’s a small wood, and once through, you cross another field and then into another wood beyond. The badger sets here are massive. In fact, my dog once had several hours of playtime underground checking out what was what.

Once through the second wood, go straight across two fields towards the large ash tree and through the kissing gate. Cross the farm track and into the field opposite. Head for the other side, towards the right hand corner (this is right of the woods) and there you will find a stile which accesses the small road just further down from where you originally parked.

Turn left and follow the road for about 200 yards. Take the public footpath which is signed to your left, down some wooden steps just before the bridge. If you’re lucky you might meet a horse in the field behind the fence here which is very friendly.

The path follows a little beck and there is an abundance of wildflowers depending on the time of year. You’ll cross a little bridge and eventually come to a gate which is some way left of the farm itself. This part of the walk is liable to be wet, so do wear strong shoes or boots. Go through the gate and then turn left towards Bassenthwaite Lake. This lovely stretch of water has a resident pair of swans all year, magnificent lily-pads in summer, and a variety of birds. The photo shows a pair of oyster catchers.

You then follow the lakeshore for about a mile and a half. It’s very pleasant and quiet, being away from the usual crowds in the more central lakes. If there has been a lot of rain, you may bless those stout shoes. If it is sunny, then take a towel and have a swim!

You will eventually come to some wooden lodges built on the shoreside. Before these is a landing stage. You’ll need to cross the strip of land with the ‘slipway’ and then through the gate at the far side. This brings you to a strip of woodland. Turn right up here keeping the wooden lodges to your left.

Now it depends on whether you want more footpaths or whether you want to get to the pub. I tend to lean towards the latter and so when you get to the end of the footpath (by the entrance drive to Bassenthwaite Lodges), I turn right along the road and then first left down another single track road - signed Bassenthwaite, helpfully. There are not many cars here and it is lovely with the hedgerows starting to bloom in the springtime..
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