Cark to Grange over Sands via Holker, Cartmel and Hampsfell
  • Start: Cark Station Finish: Grange over Sands Station.
  • Distance: Approximately 6 miles, allow at least 3 hours
  • Grade: On tracks and footpaths. Quite steep and stony coming down from Hampsfell.
  • Places to visit: Holker Hall and Gardens, Lakeland Motor Museum, National Bird of Prey Centre, Cartmel Priory.
  • Telephone Grange Tourist Information Centre - 015395 34026.

Leave Cark Station and turn right on the main road into Cark village. Walk past the Post Office and shop then turn left at the road immediately before the Engine Inn. Follow this road along the stream and then take the road that goes to your right up the hill. Follow this until it joins a larger road at the T junction and turn left towards Holker. Walk along the pavements through the pretty estate village of Holker. If you wish to visit Holker Hall turn left into the main entrance, to continue the walk take the minor road on your right with the Cumbria Coastal Way and Cumbria Cycleway signs. Follow the tarmac road up the hill to the cattle grid and then keep going straight ahead, avoiding the track branching off to the left. This leads through open fields then down the hill to enter a wood. Follow the track through the woods, across the next fields and then into the famous Cartmel Racecourse. The path crosses the race track then goes through the car park and into the picturesque village of Cartmel, where its well worth taking a break to visit the 800 year old Priory and delightful Square. Take the path that goes through the churchyard around the Priory then go right on the road then left at the T junction. About 10 yards along the road on your right are some steps leading up into a field with a (rather hidden) public footpath sign. Follow the field edge, go through the gate at Pit Farm then go to the left of the farm buildings, following the public footpath signs through a gate and then uphill to the top left corner of the next field. Continue to follow the well-worn path uphill onto the open land of Hampsfell (also known as Hampsfield Fell). This open heathland with its limestone scenery, bracken and stunted Hawthorn trees is a very special place with many wild flowers and birds. Keep following the footpath arrows uphill until you gain the brow of the hill where you follow the arrow pointing left to head along the ridge of the hill. Cross the stile over the dry stone wall then bear right for the small lookout tower known as the Hospice. This gives you tremendous views across Morecambe Bay on one side and over the Lake District Fells in the other direction. A chart on the top of the building helps identify the landmarks. With your back to the Hospice entrance head for the stone cairn and pass between some limestone pavements. These specially protected features are made of water worn limestone rocks and have a unique variety of ferns and flowers growing in the sheltered gaps (known as Grikes) between the blocks. Head for the wall corner, follow the edge of the wall for about 20 yards and then go through the stone stile on your left. Follow the path down through some more limestone pavements then take the track that zig-zags down to a gate and public footpath sign. Go into the wood and follow the path downwards. This wood is called Eggerslack Wood and is a beautifully shady place with deciduous trees and a wide variety of mosses and ferns. Keep going downwards, past the old pit then cross two minor roads before you reach the main road where you turn right. Take care on this busy road and keep to the pavement as far as the mini roundabout. The station is visible to the left here but if you have time go right to head into Grange over Sands to enjoy its peaceful parks and gardens and plenty of places for refreshment.