Start at Blencarn Village hall, walk uphill and take the little road between two barns on the right, which leads to the Milburn road. Turn left on this road which will lead you to Milburn in 2.65Km. The single track road is usually very quiet but take care on a couple of sharp bends in case there is traffic around. The road crosses a stream, the Crowdundle Beck, about half way between Blencarn and Milburn. You will cross this again on the walk on the way back from Milburn to the top of the Rigg. If you are lucky and observant, you may see a little owl perched on a stone wall around here. Little owls can be seen all year round during the day although they hunt at night and dawn.
As you approach Milburn there is a road junction. Follow the road round to the left – also signed for national cycle routes 68 and 50. Milburn village is a classic example of a medieval fortified village, with its sandstone houses arranged around a 4.5 acre rectangular green. You arrive at the village green through a narrow entrance between two buildings. The green is only accessible at the four corners which used to be walled up each winter to keep grazing animals penned in and also for security of the village. There is a 40 foot high maypole with a weather -vane standing on the village green, said to be erected on an ancient Celtic burial site. Milburn Primary School is also located on the village green.
Walk up the village towards the school and turn left at the top of the green and along the road which becomes a dirt track after a few yards. (Don’t take the bridleway signed to Knock Fell.) There is a recycling point to the right where the track forks, take the left fork which leads to the farmyard, and after 5m fork right onto a track.
You will follow this gateless track for approx 750m. If you are consulting an OS map, you will see that the footpath cuts across the fields. This route is not recommended as many of the stiles have become overgrown, and in some cases are impassable.
After 315m the track turns 90° to the right, after another 100m a turn to the left which is signed by a footpath arrow. After another 180m a turn to the right. After a further 140m you will be walking between stone walls and be faced with a 7 bar metal gate into a field. Do not take the left turn on the track, but go through this gate into a field.
Follow the footpath arrow diagonally across this first field to a stile, then across the second field to another stile. then across the corner of the third field to a stile which is to the left of 2 oak trees.
You are now heading towards Cross Fell and may be able to pick out a stone house, Wythwaite, in the distance, almost due north and on the far side of Crowdundle Beck. This will mark the end of this section of the walk and is what you are aiming for!
Over the stile by the oak trees follow the direction of the yellow arrow diagonally across the fourth field to another stile leading into a small enclosure. After entering this enclosure drop down to the large metal gate in the stone wall on the other side. Going through this gate will take you onto a stretch of moorland over which there is no discernible path. Immediately in front of you is a small beck. Cross this beck, and then turn left and continue in the same northerly direction towards Wythwaite. As a guide to the direction to take, keep the small beck that you have just crossed within 20m on your left.
Eventually you will be able to see and hear Crowdundle Beck, and will come to the top of the bank leading down to the bank. Do not go down this bank, but stay on the higher ground above the valley and walk upstream until you come to the bridge.
The bridge across Crowdundle was washed away 3 times in 10 years, and then this substantial bridge was built at a cost of £12,000. It certainly looks strong enough to last a good few years. Unfortunately within 3 years of being built, Crowdundle decided to reroute itself, and the bridge was left crossing a dried up river bed, and the access was in the middle of the water. In 2015 an extension was built, so once again we are able to cross without getting our feet wet.
From the centre of the bridge you may catch another glimpse of Wythwaite due north through the gap in the trees. Having crossed the bridge, head slightly right along a possibly muddy track until you reach a wooden gate in a stone wall which leads to a grassy field. Through the gate, head slightly right and uphill parallel to an old stone wall away to your left. There are good views of Grumply hill and Wild Boar Scar ahead of you. Cross the field to a metal gate in a stone wall and walk towards the stone house beyond.
There is now a choice of routes;
1 - turn left and go back to Blencarn via the Rigg (maybe quite muddy in wet weather)
2 - go through the wooden gate, sign-posted ‘public way’, through a 7-bar metal gate and then continue along the track past the front of the house. Continue along the track which takes you towards Ranbeck farm which you will soon see in the distance.
On your left is an area of old cultivation terraces intriguingly named the Hanging Walls of Mark Anthony. From the vantage point of the track are wonderful open views of the Eden Valley and the Lake District fells, and to your right the dramatic fellside of Kirkland Fell rising to Cross Fell, the highest point on the Pennines.
At Ranbeck Farm follow the road, which will join the only road through Kirkland. Turn left until you reach the road junction with Skirwith signposted to the right. Take this right turn, crossing Kirkland Beck and you will find St, Lawrence’s Church on your right.
Now select one of the routes from Kirkland to Blencarn (hopefully NOT the one via the Rigg as you decided against this at Wythwaite)