Great walk but again have to take issue with the grading. The first quarter was extremely steep and scrambly, very treacherous when wet. Could not have done it without my trusty poles, Worth suggesting the much easier alternative of going up through the forest on the return track - less interesting and still quite a long ascent to qualify as gentle in my view, but at least not dangerous underfoot.
We're a bit confused here as we don't have a walk called "Hartsop Forrest Circular". We do however have Harrop Forest Circular and, from your description, it sounds like the one you have in mind.
That has an overall rating of one fell, i.e. "gentle", however our overall rating is made by combining the various factors together which make up the walk. So in this case it's a short walk of 2.7 miles with only 198m of ascent and it has a Tech difficulty of "1- easy", which, in our popup notes for ratings we describe as:
clear paths or tracks to follow.
All of these will have contribute to its one fell overall rating as these tend to be short walks with only a moderate amount of ascent and easy navigation.
However when looking at any of our walks you should really look at all the factors we score it on and in this case for Bog factor it's rated "3 - wet/boggy" which means:
you might like to wear your gaiters because the ground gets rather wet and soft, you may encounter peaty areas depending on season, or peat hags.
And for Terrain it's rated as "rough" which means:
clear paths or tracks but they could be loose gravel, stone or rock. You may encounter the occasional steep step where a walking pole to help steady you is handy.
All of which sounds exactly like the conditions you found, even down to those trusty poles.
Anyway, we're glad that you enjoyed the walk but I would urge you to look at all the factors we score walks on when doing any more of our walks.
Thanks and sorry to get the name wrong! I found it hard to locate the explanations on your website but now I have I still disagree and I think this is important because I see you have another walk to Harrop tarn which suggests using this route to descend. My husband and I have done a lot of walking albeit that we are not particularly fit and don't do anything technically hard or long. He agrees that a better description of the terrain on the first quarter, ie about 2/3 of a mile of this walk is grade 4 - we both needed our hands quite a lot and the ground was steep and loose and I had to abandon my poles quite often. I would have been very doubtful about returning that way.
I recognise that it is more art than science to grade walks and you are considering all the factors over the entire route, but I still think if this is intended to be suitably for beginners it should have more warning of this particularly tricky section. Thanks anyway for your very helpful site which gave us 3 different great walks on our trip. If you see my comment on Great Mell you will see I had similar thoughts. If I am out of step with other users then maybe they are mostly seasoned walkers!