Lake District Walk - Beetham, South Cumbria
PUBLISHED: 10:41 17 May 2011 | UPDATED: 16:39 19 January 2016
Keith Carter explores the countryside around Beetham â€" not Bentham
Beetham used to be confused in my mind with Bentham, even to the point of once arranging to meet my brother-in-law in Beetham outside the church which left me waiting expectantly in Bentham. That’s some misunderstanding, almost on a par with my Danish great-aunt arriving at Liverpool when she had been given instructions to book to Liverpool
Street. We’ve all done something similar I’m sure.
Beetham is the one between Carnforth and Milnthorpe on the
A6. You turn off the road at the church and take a narrow lane which opens out to a gravel surfaced car park which serves Heron Corn Mill beside the River Bela.
The mill has been restored to working order, a remarkable example of an 18th century flour mill. It can also generate electricity, an unusual example of water-powered being put to practical use. You can visit from Wednesday to Sunday between 11am and 4pm, although it is not always working.
I have visited on a day when it was grinding and bought a kilo bag of
coarse artisan flour which I gave to a friend who bakes his own bread. He didn’t give me a loaf made from it so I never found out what it was like to spread jam on.
Beetham is also home to a large paper mill owned by the Swedish giant Billerud, manufacturing paper for packaging and pharmaceutical use, if you need to know. Some of us can’t resist finding more about things simply for the sake of accumulating knowledge, however useless.
Our walk starts from the Heron Mill car park by taking the gate with a signpost indicating Dallam Park and Milnthorpe. Head up a slope between young beech trees, climbing to the top of the bank to a kissing-gate.
Go through it and pick up a line of widely spaced posts through Dallam Park. You might be lucky enough to catch site of the herd of fallow deer
that live there.
Dallam Tower appears below, built originally in 1722 and upgraded in the early nineteenth century, it is not open to the public but can be booked for weddings and corporate events.
Our line of posts turn back left on reaching a stone pillar or cairn where we leave the Milnthorpe path and head downhill to where a metal fence borders a lane. Go through a kissing-gate, cross the lane and take the footpath opposite signposted Haverbrack on a rising path to where a stile leads into an access track.
Cross directly over, walking past the farmstead of the afore-mentioned Haverbrack on the lower edge of a wooded bank kept to our right. On reaching a fork, keep left past an isolated stone house and stay on the track till it meets the road. Go right. The road rises to a brow where a seat offers an opportunity for a rest.
Ignore the footpath going into the woods here but take one after the road has started to descend, the signpost here directing us to Hazelslack. The path meanders through a wood, in places crossing the grikes and clints of limestone pavement which in wet weather can be treacherous. At a junction of paths keep ahead, still following signs to Hazelslack.
The next part of our walk passes through a plantation that has been cleared of trees with the stumps and brashings left lying, a rather sad and depressing sight. Coming out of it we enter an open meadow which we cross to the far right corner where there is a squeeze stile and a gate.
Go through the stile and down the rutted, stony track for a short distance, to a wet and boggy area at the bottom where a further stile takes us into a field with a narrow band of trees beside it. Head across this field to the far right corner to another squeeze stile, then left to meet the road and turn left along it towards Hazelslack Farm with its remains of a peel tower.
Keep ahead and leave the lane at a footpath on the left signposted Dollywood Lane joining a stony track between walls with the trees of Dolly Wood to the left. Our path rises then drops to meet a road where we turn â left and pass a number of desirable residences until reaching a junction with the road from Yealand Conyers and Carnforth.
Turn right here and stay on the road but look out for a footpath departing on the left with a sign to Hale and the Limestone Link, a super walkers’ route between Arnside and Kirkby Lonsdale. Underfoot is limestone pavement, home to wild flowers and ferns. In the summer you can expect to find dog’s mercury and herb Robert and occasionally much rarer plants such as maidenhair spleenwort.
The path swings left and makes its way through a cleared plantation, go through a wall gap and cross over at a junction of paths. Ahead, look for a line of posts and at a wall corner go left, a sign pointing to Beetham and Slack Head. Go through a squeeze stile next to a gate and follow a grassy path keeping below an outcrop to the next squeeze stile where a view forward to Beetham church tower and the village comes into view.
Over to the right we see the impressive fortified manor house of Beetham Hall with the 14th century walls and tower still standing. At the next stile head towards the village on a field path to a hand gate in the top corner through which we join the road at a telephone kiosk. Turn left and next right past the restored stocks and in the village we come across the welcoming Wheatsheaf Hotel, a good place for a pint. If you’re not thirsty continue through the village and at the war memorial take the narrow lane on the left that leads along the River Bela to the car park.
Area of walk: Beetham
Map: OS Explorer OL7 English Lakes SE.
Distance: Six miles
Time to allow: 3 ½ to 4 hours.
Refreshments: Wheatsheaf Hotel, Beetham, 015395 62123