Length of route: 12.5 km
Starting point: The Square in Cartmel, SD 37886 78761
Suitable for: Walking – there are a wide range of stiles and gates along this route
Maps: OL7 – The English Lakes, South Eastern area
Download our OS MapFinder app and record your route
Use OS Maps
If you find yourself in the Cartmel or Grange-over-Sands area on the edge of the Lake District, then give this circular walk a try. It starts and finishes in the lovely little village of Cartmel (home of sticky toffee pudding if you need an incentive to visit the area). There are a number of pubs and tea rooms in the village if you want to relax at the end of your walk, as well as the impressive Cartmel Priory which is worth a stop off. There are several free parking areas dotted around the village, but if it is all full, head to the racecourse car park, which is signposted, and is a fairly low-cost option.
The walk starts from the market cross in The Square in Cartmel. Ignoring the range of pubs and places selling sticky toffee pudding for now, head off through the gatehouse opposite onto Cavendish Street. The road swings around to the right taking you past the back of Cartmel Priory and becomes Priest Lane. At the end of the road, turn left and then look out for a footpath sign on your right. Follow this path across a field and towards the farm. When you reach the farm buildings skirt around the left of the farm, following the footpath signs, and cross the next field and then follow the stone wall as you begin to climb sharply. Do take the time to look back at the views over Cartmel on your way up – it’s a good excuse to take a breather too!
When you reach the top of the fill, you’ll come across a crossroads in the paths. Head right towards Fell End and then sit down amongst the stones and have a well-deserved sip of tea while you enjoy the views stretching across the hills and sands around you. When you’re ready, start the descent down into Grange-over-Sands. When you emerge onto a small lane, the footpath actually continue opposite, through a narrow gap in the stones and across what looks like someone’s back garden. This is the footpath, although it did feel disconcerting passing the washing on the line while we walked through recently! Cross through the gate at the bottom of the garden to join the lane which will take you to another farm. Stick to the signposted footpath as you skirt the edge of the farm and join a leafy walkway which emerges into a housing estate above Grange.
Turn right onto Ash Mount Road and follow it to the end. Turn left onto Grange Fell Road and then when you reach Grange-over-Sands itself, left again onto Main Street. If you want to take a detour here, it really is worth a stroll along the esplanade. There are also plenty of opportunities to stop for a cup of tea if you want to refuel ahead of your second climb of the day to Hampsfell.
When you’re ready, follow Main Street along to the small roundabout and take the first exit onto Windermere Road. As the houses start to thin out, take the footpath on the left up into Eggerslack Woods. You’ll climb sharply up through the woods (and the footpath on a dry day in early October was quite muddy and slippery – so do take care). As the woods start to thin, climb over the stile on the wall and begin your final ascent of the walk, towards the Hospice on Hampsfell. The views from the top of the square tower are stunning, giving you a full 360 degrees covering the Old Man of Coniston, Helvelyn, the Langdales and Morecambe Bay.
After admiring the view, you can begin the descent, keeping Hampsfield Hall to your left as you follow the path. Follow the path down to Hampsfield Hall Farm to join the farm lane and take you down to the road. Turn left on the road and look out for the footpath sign on the right, next to the gateway to Broughton Lodge, and into a field. Follow the fence line to the stile on the other side of the field, before crossing the lane and over a stile into the next field. You cross a couple of small streams over the next few fields, but there are good sturdy slate slabs to get you over with dry feet!
Follow the path into Old House Wood, turning left as you exit the stile out of the woods and follow the footpath to Aynsome Lane. Turn left and follow the lane along. Shortly after you pass Crag Lane to your left, you’ll see a sign for a footpath to your right. Go through the gate and over the small stream, following the path across several fields and another stream before you reach Greenbank Lane. Turn left here and you’ll soon see a sign welcoming you to Cartmel. You’ll pass the racecourse on your left before arriving back at The Square, more than ready for a cup of tea or pint as a reward.