Monday, 17 September 2012

Stavely to Kendal

Stavely Village Hall

We wanted to profit from our stay in Kendal by seeing something of the countryside. We toyed with heading further into the Lake District, but decided instead to simply take a taxi to Stavely and walk back to Kendal along the Dales Way. We were very interested to see Stavely - which we hadn't realised is so near to Kendal until I looked at the map last night - because a friend (who is a follower of this blog) has a holiday cottage there.

We were dropped off in the centre and we decided to make the parish church our official start. So we headed toward the north edge of the village past the Village Hall, with hills behind, to find the small Victorian church of St James. From here we walked through the charming village and past the remains of St Margaret's chapel. A helpful plaque explains that it dates from 1338 and the tower had been added 1589. The windows were added when the nave of the church was demolished and the new church was built on higher ground. The clock was added to commemorate Queen Victoria's Jubilee.

As we left the village, I was taken by this one-time bank branch. It looks as though it had previously been a pub. Martins was taken over by Barclays in 1969, so the survival of the sign is a bit of mystery.

A bit further on, the Dales Way joined the road from the right (west) and by the time it turned off to the left we were in lovely open country.

Quite soon, the Dales Way led down to the side of the River Kent, here fast, shallow and clear.

Further on, it runs in more of a ravine and is narrower, faster and more turbulent.

Soon we passed a wonderful barn, with an intriguing Norman arch at one end. It looked an ideal candidate for a restoration project.

Then quite suddenly came to Cowan Head, where there is a classic mill pool and where an 18th century paper mill, which closed only in 1977, has been redeveloped, rather nicely we thought, as luxury flats. It was quite a shock in the otherwise rural landscape.

The route continued along a road and then a track, withe the river just out of sight on the left. At Bowston we crossed to the other bank and continued through fields, with pleasing views to the north-east.

At Burneside, we detoured around the massive paper mill and then parted company with the Dales Way. The remaining two miles or so back to Kendal were less interesting. It was mainly - inevitably I suppose - on the road, with one detour to follow the river around an enormous meander. Unfortunately, the landward side was occupied by a golf course.

Eventually we made our way into the centre of Kendal and began to overlap with yesterday's town walk. We decided to deem the Market Place to be the end of the walk.

Map: Explorer OL 7 (The English Lakes).

Conditions: cloudy, constant threat of rain, but actually almost dry; wet and muddy underfoot.

Distance: about 6 miles in all.

Rating: three and half stars.

Flower of the day

As so often, I can't identify this pretty yellow flower growing by the side of a small stream.


Karen said...

Thank you for another beautifully illustrated walk in the country. The plant looks like Yellow Monkey Flower, an invasive species introduced into the UK from America in the 1800s. Pretty but like the Spanish Bluebell, it's hybridising with native species and wiping them out.
There's an Environment Agency App available which invites the public to help track the spread of invasive plants here:

PH said...

Hi Karen
Thank you so much for identifying this flower, whose latin name I see is Mimulus guttatus. Great app from the EA too. I'll report this sighting and also my all-too-frequent sightings of Himalayan Balsam, which is pretty common around here.