: Beating the Bracken
8th July 2015
you drive along the A590 between the Grange-over Sands
roundabout and Newby Bridge, to your right is a wall
of smallish fells than none of us had previously visited.
Indeed I had thought them inaccessible although
a couple of the tops are mentioned in Wainwright’s Outlying
Fells book for pensioners. Listed as Newton Fell,
they were recorded as two separate short walks with
however, the southern part, Dixon Fell, was featured
in a walk described in the Westmorland Gazette as a
“challenging low level walk”. The challenge was
the lack of clear footpaths and lack of proper stiles
which give rise to “difficult” wall crossings.
had filed the description for use when inclement weather
proscribed a more adventurous expedition. Today
was the day.
Edmondson’s article made me realise that AW’s account
was over 40 years old, long before Right to Roam (not,
I suspect, that such matters would have bothered him
too much). Today, I thought, it should be possible
to visit the north and south ends without too much bother.
I be proved correct?
parked by the Crown at High Newton and picked up Edmondson’s
route up onto Newton Fell. Immediately we hit
our first obstacle. “Go through the metal gate”
proved impossible- it was severely padlocked. After
a short deliberation we decided that, as we were already
there and the route was in the public domain, we had
the right to roam over it.
then followed his instructions to turn left to go up
the valley with a tall dead tree on the right.
enough, but what he failed to mention, and this would
be a feature of the day, was the thick walls of bracken
we battled our way through, greeting two fine horses
en-route, to a viewpoint.
through the bracken
and the horses
challenge: to find the exit from the field. Edmondson
mentioned a "dilapidated makeshift ramp over the
wall” but warned that “it’s a dangerous crossing”. Correct!
tramped through bracken along to Raven Scar, the highest
point of this part of the walk. “Your next challenge”
read the print “is to cross the wall ahead”.
suggested we descended alongside the wall where the
bracken was at times more than head high. Perhaps
that was why we couldn’t see the pond to which he referred,
or more likely it was lacking water. Anyway, eventually
a suitable crossing place was found and we were able
to climb, yes through more bracken, to the top of Bishop’s
here, it is said, you can see Tom Tarn below. Oh
no you can’t. You have to drop down a bit before
that comes into view.
battles the bracken
You can then see the locked
gate over which you have to pass to reach the bracken
leading to Dixon Heights and the ruins of an old viewing
station, much dilapidated since Wainwright’s time.
everyone dislikes bracken
path to the accurately named Back o’ Fell Road was waymarked.
And then it wasn’t. Or maybe it was but
a marker was obscured by....., well here is a clue:
An invasive green and poisonous fern (7) : _
_ _ _ _ _
did you guess?
So an interesting descent was pioneered.
On reaching the road we abandoned (as planned)
the Edmondson Route and headed north to
Tow Top Road.
Martin muttered obscurely about
the pleasures ahead but the signs indicating that it
had been used for a mass bike ride must surely mean
that it couldn’t be that bad.
invasive green and poisonous fern
yes it could. Three quarters of a mile of frustratingly
steep road- one of those where you see a bend and think
it is at the top, only to reach it and see the road
continuing to curl away before you, relentlessly uphill.
once the top was reached it was a short downhill gallop
to the Crown. This pub is well worth a visit.
Refurbished under new management, Andrea and Abe
were very welcoming and provided an excellent lunch
of ham or steak sandwiches plus chips.
& Andrea at.....
or was it weighed down by, the meal we headed north
then climbed to High Newton Reservoir before turning
north again along a good track.
Newton Reservoir with White Stone behind
We found the path
to Bog End Moss and we found a marker beyond the small
tarn for the path we expected to take us south to
However, yet again we ran out of
markers and found ourselves in “interesting” territory.
Somehow or other we found an exit from the wood and
pioneered a route to White Stone involving a small loop
as we missed it first time.
had been obscured by the
a comitibus photo
plan now was to drop down to the road and head back
to the car as Tony had time pressures. Stan, however,
had other ideas. There was another top to climb
if we were to do the job properly: Saskills and to prove
it, there was a trig point. We examined the radio
masts until we realised our brains might get sizzled
its radio mast
brackened our way across and then down to the High Newton
we reached the cars, Tony
was no longer in a rush to get home so we revisited
to do with a pill box in your garden
in all, it was a novel walk but, in the slight chance
that anyone reads this with the intention of following
some of the route, I strongly recommend that you do
it outside bracken season. I also strongly recommend
visiting the Crown. I know I shall again but perhaps
without the encumbrance of brackenisation first!
8th July 2015
Sorry about the lack of quality of some of the photos.
I was using my new camera, which has some stunning
features but I am as yet unfamiliar with its settings
and it is rather less intuitive than my tiny, trusty,
old Sony bombproof one. Consequently several of
the exposure settings were wrong.
8th July 2015
climbed in feet:
Fell, Raven Scar, Bishop's Titithe Allotment,
Dixon Heights, White Stone, Saskills
Martin, Stan, Terry, Tony
discover which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing
- although it may not be that up to date - or for the totals of the mileages and heights (ditto) see the Excel
file: BB Log.
can navigate to the required report via the Home
have been gleaned from many sources
from me and other BOOTboys. Likewise written comment.
I apologise if I have
failed to acknowledge properly the source or infringed
copyright. Please let me
know and I will do my best to put things right.
otherwise, please feel free to download the material
if you wish.
A reference back to this website
would be appreciated.
see which Wainwright top was visited on which BB outing
may or may not be up to date!
For the latest totals
of the mileages, heights and Lakeland Fells Books Wainwrights see: Wainwrights.
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