Starting at The Gill car park in the west of Ulverston, this is the first section of the Cumbria Way. After quickly leaving the houses behind, the walk follows through farms and fields with the initial waymarking typical of the rest of the Way. Most of the farms have cattle which will be out in the fields in summer. In some ways this makes navigation tricky, keeping an eye on the cattle, and looking out for the route at the same time. Climbs on this section are gentle and not prolonged.
Early on the views are predominantly to the south, over the town to Morecambe Bay, along with the Sir John Barrow Monument on Hoad Hill. Later in the day as you climb higher The Old Man of Coniston can be seen to the north.
Kiln Bank is the last farm you really get acquainted with as climbing to Beacon Tarn and onwards to the waters of Coniston is largely on Access Land. Along the shore of Coniston Water the walking and navigation is easy, the views in good weather are fabulous. Only a couple more fields and a campsite to go before finishing in the village.
If Coniston is going to prove too much there is a bus that runs up and down the A5084 between Ulverston and Coniston, but beware services don't run much past late afternoon. Once beside Coniston Water there is a jetty at Sunny Bank with an information board detailing the running times and instructions for hailing the launch.
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
The start of the Cumbria Way is in The Gill pay and display car park in the west of Ulverston. A 'cairn and compass' sculpture is situated at the start of the way. Follow the lane behind the monument westwards although this looks pedestrian it is used by a few vehicles. When the lane splits keep left directly alongside the beck to your left. In another 200m (220 yards) turn left into a narrow rough and overgrown lane which crosses the beck by a stone bridge and then climbs. Follow it towards the road.
Just before reaching the road, go through a metal kissing gate. In another couple of metres, immediately short of the road, turn right through the very narrow gap in the end of the stone wall.
Keep left alongside the wall to cross a succession of stiles and to join a track to Old Hall Farm. Bear right through the farmyard to exit onto the driveway.
Before the bridge over the beck turn left through a gate along the bank of the beck right next to a farm cottage. At the back of the cottage cross the stone stile on the left, and bear half-right across the field to a stile at the right hand edge of a wood. Continue up through the field, under the occasional tree to exit the field over a stile complete with Cumbrian Way sign. Follow the direction of the finger post up through the field, keep left of the buildings of Bortree Stile, to exit through a gate in the top right corner.
Cross the lane and go through the gate opposite, bear left along a narrow and overgrown path alongside a beck for 20m (22 yards) or so. Turn right across the stone bridge and stile. Go straight across the field to a ladder stile hidden behind the shoulder. Follow the path through the rough scrub and bracken. Knolls here give good views to the Sir John Barrow Monument, Morecambe Bay and Ulverston.
At the top of the rough ground turn left over a stone stile and cross the next field to another stile, and on to the road opposite Higher Lath Farm.
Turn right on the road, walk down the road for 170 metres. Turn left onto a farm track, through the gate and into the field. Follow the track slightly right to another gate, go through and cross this field. Go through the gate and bear right to the diagonally opposite corner of the field and go through the gate into the field ahead. Continue along the same line to join a path bearing left.
Cross the beck. In the next field aim to the left of the buildings of Stony Crag and the wall corner. Join alongside the wall still heading to the left side of the buildings to go through a wooden gate on the right. Immediately turn left through another gate. Follow the track bearing round to the right to go through another gate into a field. Continue ahead alongside the field boundary, ignore the immediate gateway on the right, continue alongside the fence and hedge to dive down through a little wooden pedestrian gate and bridge over the drain into the lower field. Immediately turn left keeping along the field edge to Hollowmire.
Go through the gate and right into the yard, exit via the road. Reaching the Eller Riggs Brow road turn left. Go along the road for another 300m (330 yards) and, as the road swings left, turn sharp right signposted "public footpath St John's Church" through the kissing gate partially hidden in the bushes. Cross the field aiming for the church roughly ahead. Go through the gate to the left of the church onto the road.
At the road turn right and follow it up to the junction with the B5281. Turn left and in just over 100m (110 yards) as the road dips turn right to Broughton Beck. Drop down into the hamlet and as the road swings right, bear left into the dead-end continuing to drop down towards the beck. Keep left, initially still on tarmac, the lane then opens out to a rough area. Swing further left through a gate along a rough track to a barn. Keep ahead through a gate and cross the field slightly left. You may meet some Shetland ponies. Through the partitioned field, at the top turn right as directed to cross a stone stile. In this field bear left to cross Broughton Beck by a flat stone bridge, then turn left to exit the field by a stile.
Continue along the edge of the field, keep ahead to go through a succession of stone stiles. Join the track below the steep bank up to the right, and bear left along the track to Knapperthaw.
Bear left to pass in front of the cottages at Napperthaw, and then right along the road. In 150m (165 yards) turn sharp left and then almost immediately right between ornate gateposts. Over the cattle grid and follow the rough driveway towards Keldray Farm. Bear right through the gate across the drive, to the "Keldray Farm" stone sign.
Turn left at the stone sign, before reaching the farm itself, a "Footpath" sign may be found in the undergrowth. Go up to the lower stile, do not cross but bear right through woodland and scrub to the upper stile visible. Climb the stile into the field. Turn right along the field edge to pass above Keldray Farm. Cross the beck coming down the field and bear slightly left to a gate in the far wall. Cross the next field. At the far side bear left over a stile into a rough lane following it to Gawthwaite.
Bear left across the A5092 to wander into the little hamlet of Gawthwaite, swing right through the cottages and then in a few metres turn left through a gateway into a lane. Follow the lane as it opens out and through two gates. Bear right alongside the wall to another gate beside the stand of trees. Follow the track down and as a wall appears on your right go through a gate into the lane above High Stennerly. Follow it down to the buildings and go through the gate at the bottom. Turn left and follow the tarmac drive swinging down in front of the house, and to the road.
At the road turn right, in 20m (22 yards) turn left through a gate. Follow the path over the rough ground to a gate, go through and bear right to a stile, and then to the road.
Turn left and follow it for 400m (440 yards) to the corner where the road turns right into Raisethwaite Lane, bear left onto the driveway signed "Kiln Bank only". Follow the tarmac driveway up to the farm.
Keep to the left of the Kiln Bank Farm buildings, at the signpost against the wall turn right through the gate into the lane along the back of the farm buildings. Go through the gate at the top of the short lane and turn left along a track. Pass the ruined barn, as the track splits take the right fork crossing a shoulder of ground. This flattens and the track swings gently right and becomes fainter. Head for a gateway and ladder stile.
Climb the stile and in the rough, bracken rich Access Land bear left now heading for Tottlebank. Keep alongside or near the stone wall to your left up to the tarmac road. Bear left heading towards the farm. Just before it turn sharp right at the short finger post onto a wide path. Traverse along the east side of Tottlebank Height, the path is clear, and down towards Cockenskell. Leaving the Access Land go through the gate continuing directly ahead follow the edge of the field. The other side go between walls. Follow the signposts down to the left and then right to cross the small beck. Turn left through a gate back into rough Access Land. Follow the path climbing through bracken, swing left to glance off the wall above the conifer plantation, and then as the wall swings left, bear away to the right. Beacon Tarn soon comes into view.
Turn left and follow the path along the bank. This is somewhat wet and at the western most fringe becomes very boggy. Keep to the path and at the far end of the tarn bear left to climb a wide gully. Cresting the rise, keep right along the rough path avoiding a large area of mosses. At the end of which the path drops more steeply, overlooking Stable Harvey Moss bear right along a descending traverse to reach the minor road.
Bear left for 100m (110 yards) to the Public Bridleway signpost, bear left on the track. Cross the beck and continue on the track. Where it splits take the left fork not that it matters as they rejoin further along. 200m (220 yards) after the tracks rejoin turn left at the post with the small faded yellow footpath circle. In a few metres, at another footpath sign, bear right and cross Mere Beck. Continue on the path beyond. The beck meanders gently and gradually carves a deepening ravine.
Nearing the road cross the footbridge and go up to the A5084 road at Sunny Bank.
Cross this busy road carefully to the layby opposite and turn right onto the farm track. Swing left to go through a gate and then gently descend closer to a wall to your right, and Coniston Water.
Follow the path along the waters edge for 3.0km (1.9 miles). Keep to the tarmac roadway through the Birmingham University owned grounds, through the middle of the campsite, and on to Coniston Hall. When the roadway turns left around a barn keep ahead to go through a gateway across the field. Keep on the track and in front of a stand of trees turn right next to a small yellow footpath sign. Follow this to Lake Road, Coniston. At the road turn left, go past the school on the left to the junction with the A593. Turn right, past the garage and over the bridge to the centre of Coniston.
Unless otherwise stated the text in this walk is the copyright of Hug Solutions Ltd trading as The Hug and the photographs are the copyright of Elizabeth Oldham. Hill data is derived from Database of British and Irish hills which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Maps contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011 and paths © OpenStreetMap Contributors,CC-BY-SA, 2011