Dunsop Bridge is a lovely village to start the walk around Birkett Fell. The walk is a mix of country lanes, open countryside and ending with a stroll alongside the River Hodder.
I remember, in a previous life, arguing passionately for the inclusion of the Forest of Bowland in the portfolio of cottages which we ran as part of the Yorkshire Dales. The area is beautiful, the village of Dunsop Bridge a particular high spot, and it is unspoilt like much of the Dales. For example I completed this seven mile walk round Birkett Fell and met no-one except when passing the Inn at Whitewell. The image of the area is low key and it is often seen as a down market Dales. Maybe those in the know would like to keep it that way. All types of terrain are included in this walk around Birkett Fell. Starting off in the grounds of the stately home of Knowlmere Manor the walk passes through woodland, farmland, stretches of moor and finishing alongside a beautiful stretch of riverside.
I particularly enjoyed the initial stretch through the grounds of Knowlmere Manor. The route then passes the well situated farm at Crimpton, through the trees and down to Whitewell with its classy pub and church. The views across towards the bulk of Fair Snape Hill reflect the contrasting nature of this walk. Due to the peace of the area the wildlife is excellent. In particular the bird life, both on the river Hodder where I saw Oyster Catchers, and higher up with buzzards and plenty of their smaller friends. Dunsop Bridge is a friendly little village, laying claim to be the central pivot of Britain, with lovely local walks along the river. Any visitor will also be accompanied by the ever expanding family of ducks that live here.
It is nigh on impossible to get to the summit and not worth it if you do. Stick to the flanks of the hill.
Take a map. It is a great walk for developing map reading skills. I didn’t get lost but it was close. In many parts the paths are not obvious so you need consistent concentration.
Just walked this one and it is a lovely walk, and didn’t see hardly a soul apart from at Dunsop Bridge and Whitewell. The views around the area were stunning, helped by it being a cool autumnal day with plenty of sunshine.
Just a couple of comments, the car park at Dunsop Bridge is quite expensive (Lake District / Dales prices) so get there early and there is parking on the road, and the open access between Higher Birkett and Marl hill has a sign which restricts dogs from the land due to ground nesting birds. We took our dog through but kept her on a short lead as she wasn’t going to disturb them anymore than we would. Oh and based on the amount of cars in the car park at Whitewell if you’re planning Sunday Lunch there book in advance!!
Lovely walk! Done it with our dog, although halfway we’ve encountered a moorland where dogs are not permitted. Obviously we were not turning back at this point so just kept her on a lead for this part of the walk.
Rest of the walk mostly through pastures where cattle and sheep can be found.
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