5 AWE­SOME AU­TUMN WALKS

Lancashire Life - - STAR INTERVIEW - WORDS & PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: Vivi­enne Crow

With the coun­try­side turning stun­ning shades of red and gold, this is prob­a­bly the best time to pull on your boots

and go for a heav­enly hike

Who can fail to be moved by Lake­land’s sub­lime spec­ta­cle of au­tumn colours? Sci­en­tists may ex­plain it away with bio­chem­i­cal re­ac­tions, us­ing mys­ti­fy­ing words such as carotenoid­s and xan­tho­phylls, but noth­ing can di­lute the magic of a walk on a cool, crisp au­tumn morn­ing when, all around, the pre­vi­ously green coun­try­side is turning red, gold, yel­low and bronze. Through­out the na­tional park, an

al­ready in­spir­ing land­scape takes on an al­most sur­real beauty. Ask a dozen peo­ple to name the best places for view­ing this dis­play, and you’ll get at least a dozen dif­fer­ent an­swers. These are just a few of my per­sonal favourites.

WALK 1: KELLY HALL TARN AND CON­IS­TON WA­TER

Eas­ily reached from Torver, Kelly Hall Tarn lies hid­den on low moor­land above Con­is­ton Wa­ter and is a su­perb spot from which to view the nearby moun­tains, in­clud­ing Dow Crag and the

Old Man. Beyond the tarn, the seven-mile walk continues across the moor­land, where the greens of sum­mer have been re­placed by shades of gold and ochre. Drop­ping to the shores of the lake, an easy stroll leads north, in and out of tran­quil wood­land.

Af­ter flirt­ing with the edge of Con­is­ton vil­lage, the walk then picks up the route of a dis­used rail­way and fol­lows this al­most all the way back to Torver.

WALK 2: CLAIFE HEIGHTS AND WIN­DER­MERE SHORE

This area is beau­ti­ful at any time of the year, but it’s par­tic­u­larly spec­tac­u­lar on a clear, au­tumn day when the trees are going through their an­nual me­ta­mor­pho­sis and the views are gen­uinely breath­tak­ing. For a good, 10-mile leg-stretcher, start from Hawkshead and follow a me­an­der­ing route through the for­est to Wise Een Tarn and Moss Ec­cles Tarn, a favourite haunt of the children’s writer Beatrix Pot­ter. Drop­ping to Win­der­mere’s wooded western shore – a tran­quil con­trast to the other side of the lake – the walk then heads north and climbs lit­tle Lat­ter­bar­row for one of the finest and most far-reach­ing view­points in this part of the Lakes.

WALK 3: LOWESWATER CORPSE ROAD

Is there another walk in Lake­land that pro­vides so much re­ward for so lit­tle ef­fort? The hike up on to the an­cient route once used to trans­port coffins and then back through Holme Wood along the south­west shore of the lake is 5.5 miles long and in­volves just 890ft of as­cent.

For this you get open fell, amaz­ing scenery, woods and lake. Oh! and, if you’re quiet, you might just spot red squir­rels stor­ing up food for the win­ter. Don’t for­get to take a pic­nic too – there’s a bench al­most half-way through the walk where you can sit and en­joy an el­e­vated view across the lake to mighty Gras­moor.

WALK 4: CIR­CUIT OF LOUGHRIGG FELL

This one isn’t just about woods; it’s about the ever-chang­ing au­tum­nal views that ac­com­pany the cir­cuit of Loughrigg Fell. Yes, the route passes in and out of trees, and, at one stage, it looks down on the colour­ful canopy of the woods around Grasmere,

‘For this you get open fell, amaz­ing scenery, woods and lake. Oh! and, if you’re quiet, you might just spot red squir­rels stor­ing up food for the win­ter’

but the fell views are also ex­tra spe­cial at this time of the year, par­tic­u­larly as the dy­ing bracken turns the lower slopes a beau­ti­ful bronze, briefly re­deem­ing it­self for be­ing the walk­ers’ most hated en­emy all through the sum­mer. Set off from Am­ble­side and, for the best views, walk the seven-mile route in a clockwise di­rec­tion.

WALK 5: A BOR­ROW­DALE RAMBLE

No au­tumn visit to Lake­land would be com­plete with­out a walk in Bor­row­dale where an­cient woods cling to the steep fell­sides and spill over the banks of the River Der­went. These are the pre­cious rem­nants of an im­mense oak­wood that once cloaked Europe’s At­lantic coast. The ses­sile oak is one of the most common species but other na­tive trees can be found, in­clud­ing birch, holly, hazel and alder, all adding their own unique con­tri­bu­tion to the val­ley’s amaz­ing pal­let of colours. A 10-mile, un­du­lat­ing route from Rosth­waite takes in many highlights, in­clud­ing Cas­tle Crag (951ft), the shores of Der­went­wa­ter, the Lodore Falls, re­mote Wa­tend­lath and the River Der­went.

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WALK ONE: Peep­ing through the au­tumn trees to Con­is­ton Wa­ter

WALK TWO: Look­ing across Win­der­mere to­wards the eastern fells

ABOVE, WALK FIVE: A walker en­joy­ing a stroll through Bor­row­dale’s woods LEFT, WALK FOUR: A burst of sun­shine brings the colours around Grasmere to vivid life

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