<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

Lake District Walks - The Kendal ten bridge challenge

PUBLISHED: 14:39 15 March 2011 | UPDATED: 16:42 19 January 2016

Two of the ten bridges over the river Kent we pass on our route

Two of the ten bridges over the river Kent we pass on our route

Keith Carter explores a riverside walk through Kendal which takes in a castle, a ski slope and a remarkable number of bridges

Two of the ten bridges over the river Kent we pass on our route Two of the ten bridges over the river Kent we pass on our route


Walk: A linear walk along the River Kent in Kendal

Distance: About 5 miles

Time to allow: 2½-3hrs

Map: OS Explorer OL7 The English Lakes South Eastern Area

Refreshments and toilets: At Abbot Hall Art Gallery

Useful web site: www.tudorhistory.org/parr

The river Kent rises above Kentmere Reservoir in the eastern Lakes and
makes its way into Morecambe Bay.

There are numerous bridges crossing the river and our walk touches,  though doesn’t necessarily cross, ten of them if you include Nether Bridge, just downstream from our starting point at Abbot Hall. This could be called the Ten Bridges Walk which has a ring to it, if you like the names of things. The oldest, the longest, the biggest, the only one of its kind, we all like to attach these adjectives in order to impress and ten is a lot of bridges.

Kendal is outside the boundary of the National Park and is not officially in the Lake District which may be slightly to its disadvantage. To me it stands on its own reputation without needing the added kudos of being ‘in the Lakes’.

In recent years the town has admittedly lost some of its former pride having declined like everywhere else, yet the casual visitor cannot fail to be impressed by the crowded streets and constant through traffic.

Parking is a problem, though. There is very little on-street parking and
spaces in the paid car parks are hotly contested. I have never found a space in the free car park by the river and although Booths car park is the best bet if you’re shopping, our walk starts at the Abbot Hall where cars can be left for up to three hours, just long enough to complete our walk.

Head down to the river past the entrance to the museum and art gallery where the programme of exhibitions through the year usually has  something worth seeing. The permanent exhibition includes work by 19th century artists such as George Romney, a native of Kendal and visiting exhibitions recently have included major modern artists like Maggi Hambling and Ben Nicholson.

On reaching the river, turn left along the Riverside Walk - don’t take the
footbridge over the river, our second bridge after Nether Bridge downstream.

Don’t cross the next bridge, Miller Bridge, either but cross the road and
walk through the parked cars squeezed between the road and the river. At the next footbridge, cross the river and continue along the path on the other side to reach Stramongate Bridge opposite the Riverside Hotel.

Turn left and cross this bridge then turn down right to regain the riverside
path. The next bridge is the Victoria Bridge decorated with Kendal town
crests with the motto ‘pannus mihi panis’ which translates as ‘Wool is
bread’, a reference to the time when Kendal was a centre for the wool trade.

The coarse cloth known as Kendal green, dyed using the woad plant, was
worn by the archers in the Middle Ages and is referred to by Shakespeare. Don’t  cross this bridge but continue on the riverside walk. The river  should be on your right.

One of the pleasures of riverside walking is watching the people coming and going, taking their ease, strolling, cycling and enjoying the open air. A mum with several kids was supervising the feeding of the seagulls, one species that positively does not need any extra help in finding its next meal. She hastily assured us that they were using stale bread, anxious in case we thought she was wasting good food. Perhaps she felt that it would help to save the planet by using up her old bread by feeding it to the gulls!

When the path splits, keep right beside the river and go under the railway bridge and at Dockwray Bridge, a footbridge, cross to the other side of the river and join the footpath, now with the river on your left.We have now left the built-up area and pass through mixed woodland but soon we become aware that the outskirts of town have sprouted factories that  come down nearly to the river, rather spoiling the sense of being in open country.

The low hills to the north remind us there is wilder country ahead. Where the river forks, it is met by a tributary coming to join it, the little River Mint which we follow beside chain-link fencing as far as our tenth and last bridge, Mint Bridge taking the A6 north. Here we turn back, retracing our steps, heading back to the town and after crossing back over  Stramongate Bridge, just before the next footbridge look for signs to Kendal Castle which is well worth the diversion.

Paths lead through rhododendrons to emerge at a local municipal tip and  the entrance to Kendal Ski Club, a surprising discovery. I had no idea Kendal had a ski club. The practise slopes and ski-lift were busy and lower down quite young children were mastering the art of not falling over, with some success.

Steps climb the hillside emerging onto grass slopes that bring us to the ruin of the castle. The view from here is fantastic, the clustered grey buildings of the town below and the gentle Whinfell Ridge on the skyline with the high Lakeland fells to the north.

The castle was once the ancestral seat of the Parr family, best known because of Katherine Parr who married and survived Henry VIII. Her prayer book can be seen in Kendal Parish Church. She was married four times herself and died in childbirth in 1548 at the age of 36.

Return down the hillside past the ski club and turn left along Anyam Road to where the footbridge crosses the river to the gardens of Abbot Hall. Our walk has hopefully shown Kendal in a new light and opened up new possibilities for the auld grey town and the river that runs through it.


More from Out & About


There are many forces of nature to witness in the Lake District, we pick six of our favourite waterfalls.

Read more
Lake District
Yesterday, 09:41

Rebekka O’Grady and photographer John Cocks meet some of the new independent businesses calling Southport home

Read more
Monday, February 12, 2018

How many of these local landmarks can you recognise?

Read more
Quiz Spring
Friday, February 9, 2018

Plans for around 600 new houses to be built in pretty Wyre village

Read more
Wednesday, February 7, 2018

John Lenehan toasts the re-opening of a Lancashire engineering landmark and notes an invention to revive any walker.

Read more
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Kirkby Lonsdale sits on the spot where Lancashire, Yorkshire and Westmorland meet, making it a great base to explore the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. All these walks start of within a ten mile radius of Kirkby Lonsdale, making them a perfect day trip for anyone staying close to the historic market town.

Read more
Kirkby Lonsdale
Monday, February 5, 2018

From businesses selling banjoes to bridalwear from a former New York costume designer, Colne is a town for all seasons. Mairead Mahon reports.

Read more
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Lake District walks dominate the top ten of Britain’s 100 list.

Read more
Lake District Lake District Walks
Friday, January 26, 2018

Barrow was built on hard graft but there’s plenty of beauty to be found as well, as Mike Glover reports


Read more
Thursday, January 25, 2018

Despite its bad reputation, the cuckoo has been a great and clever survivor in the wild. However, numbers have dipped since the 1970s. The Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Alan Wright investigates this iconic spring bird.

Read more
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Many of us are frustrated by our inability to swim well. Sarah Hill did something about it and now helps others. She spoke to Roger Borrell.

Read more
Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Celebrate the historic waterways of Lancashire with one of these canalside walks that allow you to enjoy the countryside and witness echoes the the county’s industrial past.

Read more
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Their football clubs both wear navy blue and white strips, but how well can you identify landmarks in Bolton and Preston?

Read more
Preston Bolton Quiz
Friday, January 12, 2018

Spring is not too far off and that’s the time when the birds start getting noisier in our woodlands. The Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Alan Wright investigates a couple of the stars of the Dawn Chorus.

Read more
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Property Search