Watch Hill gently rising to the north east of Cockermouth has panoramic valley views backed by dark, dramatic, mountain scenery. The hill itself is a succession of closely cropped sheep pastures, the terrain gently rolling, and the summit just an unmarked grassy knoll. Surprisingly there are two tops in Wainwright's Outlying Fells book: Watch Hill on the western end of the summit ridge, and Setmurthy Common to the east in the corner by the woods. Hollows in the otherwise pristine lawn look like minature limestone quarries, and possibly a shake hole nearby. The views on the climb up are extensive, but are limited to the south by trees at the summit of Setmurthy Common.
There is a small parking area on the Higham road at its junction with the old Cockermouth - Keswick road.
If you need accommodation we have details of 17 properties offering rooms near the start of this walk. Here are some examples:
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
From the parking area cross the minor road and join the old road towards Cockermouth for just over 200m (220 yards) to a gateway and Public Bridleway sign on your right. Go through the kissing gate, now on part of the Allerdale Ramble, bear slightly right to follow the path diagonally across the field to go through the right hand gate of a pair. Now follow the track through a series of fields and gates. A stone wall is never far to your left.
Eventually the wall and the Ramble bears away left; continue straight ahead up the grass slope to the vague knoll. This is the top Watch Hill. Continue beyond it where a path materialises gradually, which heads for the corner of the field set into the trees. This is Setmurthy Common, the summit is a small knoll immediately to the right of the stile in the corner.
Return the same way for the views to Cockermouth and north west to Dumfries and Galloway across the Solway Firth.
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