The weather was pretty dismal and the forecast was for rain in the west, and I could not be more west, so I anticipated getting wet and thought a woodland walk could at least provide some shelter. Brigsteer woods are a little north of Levens and south of Kendal. I followed the route described on walk 53, Cicerone, South Lakes. Parking is easy just out of Levens village, which is perched on the edge of Lyth Valley, part of which is known locally as Lord’s Plain. The valley is the inland end of the Kent Estuary, though the Kent does not flow from the top. The river Gilpin wends its way down the valley from slightly higher up. I imagine it is glacial. The valley is impressive and the view etched in my earliest memories as my maternal grandparents lived in Levens when I was a small child. The tiny terrace is still there, in ‘prime real estate’ position. Strange how we take things for granted when small.
So I wandered north initially, admiring the plain with Witherslack Scar rising steeply up the other side. To the north the mountains were barely visible but on a good day the Langdales, Scafell Pike and Coniston Old Man can all be seen guarding the end of the valley.
Although not a physically demanding walk, boots were a must. Brigsteer woods are up from the valley floor but the track was very wet. Amazingly the rain held off for the first hour but it would have been easy to get wet from the ground up, as did my dog. If anyone is a serious ‘birder’ then the woods are a delight. The National Trust maintains the woodland and there were bird boxes fixed all along the track. Chaffinches, tits, wrens and robins all kept me company, but I did not manage to capture one in a picture. After squelching through the woods I worked my way up towards Scout Scar passing the most delightful cottages on the way.
Quintessentially English Lakes. I half expected Peter Rabbit, or at the very least Beatrix Potter, to come out of the door. As the promised rain started in earnest after the cottages I cut my walk short and headed back via Helsington Church, which is worth a visit if you have never been in. The path drops down towards Kendal and Sizergh Castle which looked far more inviting in July (see my post July Tour ). But I did notice a clever row of birdfeeders set up with a single walled ‘hide’ so that all those chaffinches could be photographed, if it wasn’t so wet that changing my camera lens was not an option. But what a good idea.
The tracks and trails round the Sizergh estate are well maintained, some are cobbled under the grass where old estate roads once were. So it was an easy stroll back to the car. My walk took just over two hours, messing about with my camera always slows me down, and I only met 2 runners the whole way round. Good to be here when most of the tourists have gone. Though if anyone has any sunny day pictures of the woods and valley, would be good to see them.
Nearly Christmas….go for a walk!
Walk OS map OL7