If you and your family are planning to get some much needed fresh air, then you may be racking your brains for some good local walks, routes that are close but that you might not have done in a few years.
If you have a family day out to plan then check out Gabrielle Rowley’s top five walks around the Furness Peninsula:
Stone Circle adventure on Black Combe
Everybody can spot the hulking shape of Black Combe from the car when driving out of Barrow or journeying towards Millom but have you ever thought to climb up it? It's truly not so difficult and the path is around five miles (eight kilometres).
Black Combe sits right by the sea and so you get some great views of Cumbria's South West coastal features from this walk. The summit is 600 metres above sea level and on a clear day you can see Wales, Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man.
Start this route from the parking area off the A5093 near Silecroft or from Silecroft train station. The route follows good footpaths through Whicham, before climbing to Townend Knotts and up to the top of Black Combe. Again if you choose a clear day you can see a magnificent view of Scafell Pike. To climb back down you can double back on yourself and take the same path or circle round to Whitbeck and walk in a bit of a loop. Black Combe also runs parallel to the Swinside Stone Circle which is one of the most important in Cumbria, consisting of 55 stones in a large ring.
Coastal explorer walk from Grange-over-Sands
Try a walk that blends part of the Cumbrian Way with the trickier Cistercian Way. At 14 miles (23 km) this looping walk is a little more of a challenge and would make a full day out.
The walk starts on the wonderful long promenade and passes through the ornamental gardens to climb towards Cartmel. You should pass Eggerslack Wood and Hampsfell Hill as you go and experience breathtaking coastal views across the beaches towards Arnside and Silverdale.
Eventually you should end up in Cartmel and if you like can take the time to stop in one of the rustic pubs such as The Royal Oak, sample the sticky toffee pudding and maybe even explore the old priory.
After leaving Cartmel walkers should continue through the countryside to Cark and then dip back down to the coast at Lenibrick Point. The route back to Grange-over-Sands then hugs the coast, passing Allithwaite on the way.
Lakeland voyager walk from Ulverston to Coniston
This 15 mile (24 km) walk is a beginners option for those thinking of attempting the Cumbrian Way, as it is the first leg. Head off on the Cumbrian Way towards the village of Gawthwaite before walking down on to the banks of Coniston Water. Following the footpath along the lake will lead you all the way to Coniston Town, where you can find many a cafe or country pub, my favourite of these being the Bluebird Cafe on the lake front. Splendid views of Coniston Old Man and Grizedale Forest are visible from this route.
Medieval Knights walk around Piel Island and Castle
An exciting and historic walk for children this half term is the walk around Piel Island. You can catch a ferry to Piel Island from Roa Island in Barrow and then explore the castle on Piel Island for the day as well as stopping for sustenance in the quaint pub.
The castle is the perfect day out for children because it is visible from miles around, dominated by a massive keep, and has all the features of a medieval castle.
The Vale of Nightshade
This walk starts at Barrow's most famous landmark, Furness Abbey, and finishes in Dalton. It gets its name from the area that the abbey was built in, which is named the Vale of Nightshade.
Park in the large car park at Furness Abbey and double back up the road a short way. Take the signposted, hedged footpath on the right, which is part of the Cistercian Way, through the Vale of Nightshade. This walk is seven miles long and requires crossing one busy road so you need to be careful but it offers a new way to explore between Barrow and Dalton and you can always stop at the Brown Cow pub on your way home for a bar meal.
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