Where is this walk?

Casterton and the River Lune

December 7, 2017

The River Lune north of Kirkby Lonsdale winds its way up a quiet valley. The walk reaches Barbondale before heading back through the grounds of Home Farm.

The Walk

The Bronte sisters attended the old girl’s school at Casterton and much of their childhood memories must come from this splendid old school and its surrounding countryside. The hills to the east of Barbon, in particular Calf Top, certainly look wild enough to satisfy them. However it is the River Lune which dominates this walk. The river meanders gently through this pleasant low level valley. The valley has some lovely walking along lanes and over fields, always quiet and peaceful.

Both Barbon and Casterton are attractive villages (with good pubs) and similar to Kirkby Lonsdale worth taking a little bit of extra time to fully explore. Some of the country houses worth seeking out are Barbon Manor, Whelprigg and Casterton Hall. The buildings join the hills to the east and the River Lune as major land marks. In the past they were served by an old railway which ran through this valley.


Only attempt this route when river levels are low as the ford at 610813 is impassable and potentially dangerous after rains or in much of winter months.

Navigation Tips on the River Lune

The nearby bridge leads to private land (but could be used in an emergency). Return via Barbon on the footpath which heads south from Underley Grange.

  • Frank Emmett says:

    Although Casterton has been a private girls’ school for centuries, it’s not where the eldest Brontë sisters went. That was in nearby Cowan Bridge, on the River Leck. Read Juliet Barker’s “The Brontës” for a full account of the unhappy association between this school and the family.

  • Tom Baines says:

    This river crossing is very difficult except in times of near drought. Crossing via the ornamental bridge is not a public right of way. I have crossed this bridge 3 times. The first two crossings were OK, but we were stopped by an estate worker and the land owner on our third walk (in September 2020) and told that it is not a public right of way. We were finally allowed to cross, after a lengthy debate about the ford crossing not being accessible. This area is now part of the extended Yorkshire Dales National Park. I have since complained by email to one of the park rangers about access over the bridge, and suggested that this could be made a “permissive path”. I have not yet had a reply.

    • Jonathan says:

      You are correct and I have reported this in the past to the Park. It is extremely annoying as it is only a stretch of 400 metres to the road. It should be no problem.

    • Stephen Binder says:

      We to have had very similar bridge experiences here and the ford is very slippery and dangerous at the best of times – virtually impossible without a stake for support.
      It seems daft that the Underley Estate are so obstructive when the distance from the path to the public road is only a matter of yards – especially given that they have recently opened a permissive footpath at Kearstwick. A polite letter to the Estate Office over this has not yielded a response to date.

  • Barbara says:

    Where is the Ford – do not think it is there anymore? Walked over the historic bridge instead – Jan 2016. The farmer owns the bridge and closes it during lambing season when the lambs go out side.

  • Ruth says:

    Lovely homemade cakes to be enjoyed at Casterton Golf Course Cafe. Walkers and muddy boots are very welcome.

  • Henry Armitage says:

    I understand that the bridge back over the lune from Barbon to Kirkby Lonsdale has no foot path over it. Are ther any issues with using it? It is walk d103.

    • Jonathan says:

      I walked over the bridge 2 weeks ago and there was no problem, signs etc: I cannot see why anyone would close it but do let me know if you have more up to date information

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