A super walk from Barbon visiting the little known summit of Hoggs Hill then on to Barbon Low Fell, Brownthwaite, Fellfoot Lane and back to Barbon.
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Just a week after walking over Middleton Fell and Castle Knott I was back in Barbon, this time for a walk over Hoggs Hill and Barbon Low Fell. I parked on the roadside near St Bartholomew’s Church at the eastern edge of the village. From the church I took a lane down to a bridge over Barbon Beck. On the other side at a junction I took the right hand option, initially following the winding drive to Barbon Manor.
At a bend I left the driveway to continue on a pleasant path leading into some trees. The path then dropped down alongside Barbon Beck. The path continued in wooded surrounds for a while before emerging into more open countryside on the steep southern flanks of Castle Knott. The path eventually led to Blindbeck Bridge where I crossed Barbon Beck. The current bridge is actually a replacement for the previous bridge that had been damaged by floods in December 2015.
"Despite being wet underfoot I enjoyed the section between Coniston Cold and Priest Holme Bridge far more than I expected to. "
On the other side of the footbridge I turned right along the road to reach a sign post for a path to Bullpot Farm. The sign post and initial section of the path is actually indicated by the black dotted line on the map just to the north of the bridleway. After an initial climb the path curved round to meet the bridleway which I continued to follow as it rose gradually to meet a wall and gate at grid reference SD661817. On the left hand gate post there was a large Ordnance Survey cut benchmark.
Without passing through the gate I left the bridleway to follow the wall up to the right. Remaining to the right of the wall this led me all the way up to reach the summit of Hoggs Hill.
Hoggs Hill is one of those obscure summits that are known to very few, mainly knowledgeable locals or to dedicated hill baggers. I only found it was classed as a separate summit to Barbon Low Fell when I was researching hills in the Dales over 400m with a prominence of 30m. One of the great advantages of being a peak bagger is that it leads you to some fantastic spots and Hoggs Hill is one of them. Presumably someone else thought so too as since my last visit in 2016 someone has built a small cairn on the summit. The view is not too dissimilar to nearby Barbon Low Fell but has the added advantage of a fantastic view of Barbondale and the steep flanks of Castle Knott and Middleton Fell.
After soaking up the views for a while I carefully crossed the nearby wall to head south to Barbon Low Fell. There was a thin trod between the two and it took me less than 15 minutes to cross from one to the other. I first visited the trig point, called Brownthwaite on the Ordnance Survey database. Next I crossed over to a nearby bump upon which a tiny pile of stones marked the highest point, just centimetres higher than the trig point.
Returning towards the trig point I then made my way to a gate in the wall at grid reference SD64809. From there a path passed around the edge of Brownthwaite Moss and up on to Brownthwaite itself and the magnificent sprawling cairn on Brownthwaite Pike. From the cairn I took a path dropping down to a track. I followed this down to a wall which it then followed for a while before passing through a gate and continuing on as an enclosed path. After the earlier views dominated by hills the views on this stretch were of the fields and woods around Kirkby Lonsdale.
The path ended at Fell Road. Turning right I made my way downhill following the quiet road until reaching a small parking area. Here I turned right on an enclosed bridleway called Fellfoot Road. Dotted either side of the bridleway I passed 11 tiny enclosures each of which contained a large boulder. Each enclosure had a step stile to provide entry to the enclosure. I remember seeing these the last time I’d walked along Fellfoot Road way back in 2006. I was later told that these enclosures are part of Andy Goldsworthy’s Sheepfolds project. This art project started in 1996 and was finished in 2003 with a total of 46 folds modified or created.
The bridleway eventually dropped down to reach a minor road. Turning right on this I passed the entrance to the magnificent looking house at Whelprigg. After crossing a cattle grid the now unenclosed road passed below the flanks of Barbon Low Fell. I followed this to reach the Barbondale road. Turning left it was then a straightforward walk back in to the village.
This was a super day out. The weather was perfect and visibility was excellent. Without the annoying access issues of the previous week’s walk this was the type of day out I’d really missed over the last three months. As for Hogg’s Hill it might now be one of my favourite summits in the Dales.