Starting from the centre of Blencarn village, walk up through the village to where the road ends at a metal gate, with a wooden signpost saying ‘Bridleway Cross Fell’. Go through the gate onto an area of common land called The Rigg – an area of uncultivated land with an abundance of gorse and a dramatic view of the Pennine fells.
The Rigg can become very wet underfoot so this walk is best undertaken after a dry spell of weather or in the winter when the ground is frosty. Otherwise, it is a case of picking a route with care through the boggy patches and streams. This is however, the route of a bridleway, heading up towards Grumply Hill, Wildboar Scar and beyond, to Cross Fell. This walk will follow the bridleway as far as the furthest building, ‘Wythwaite’ which comes in to view, across the gorse, after about half a mile.
To your left is Blencarn lake – a man-made fishing lake. Make your way along the track (there are a few options here, it’s a case of finding one that isn’t too muddy) through the gorse, crossing a small stream, and then follow the line of the stone wall (with the stone wall to your right and a green metal barn in the distance). The track takes you to Wythwaite house and tumble-down outbuildings.
At Wythwaite, 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 can 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 fell side of Kirkland Fell rising to Cross Fell, the highest point on the Pennines.
As you reach Ranbeck farm go through a metal gate, follow the track bending left, then immediately turn right and go through a red metal gate. Continue to the next gate, passing in front of Ranbeck farmhouse and garden on your left, follow the old cobbled track (there is a signpost marker at this point) round the corner of the remains of an old stone barn. You will now come to a metal gate which is held closed by a stone either side of the gate. This will require a bit of manoeuvring to ensure that the gate is securely closed after you have passed through it.
Now go through another metal gate (with a bridleway sign) into a field and carry on straight across this field towards the far right corner and another metal gate. Go through this gate and cross to the right-hand corner of this field, where there is a metal gate with a bridleway sign. Continue straight ahead through the next field (dotted with old ash trees) to reach a wooden gate and signpost saying ‘Ranbeck’.
At this point in the walk you join the bridleway which heads up Cross Fell. Rather than heading up the fell, turn left down the lane and walk the few yards towards a small car park and a very attractive group of cottages at Kirkland Hall.
Follow the sign for Bank Hall, crossing a wooden footbridge over the beck and through a metal gate. As you stand with the gate behind you, the nearest tree in the field is slightly left of centre. You need to pass close to the right of this tree. Continue to head straight across the field towards a stile in the wall in the corner below the trees. Then head across the next field towards the buildings of Bank Hall farm. Aim just left of the actual farmhouse.
At Bank Hall farm cross the fence via the stile. With the farm on your right, go through a metal gate and then go through the smaller metal gate to your left. Cross the field to the next metal gate and continue across the field to a wooden stile. Over the stile continue over the field to a narrow stile in the stone wall. Before you is the church of St Lawrence.
Head for a small wooden gate by the right-hand corner of the church, which takes you into the churchyard. Leave the churchyard via the church gate. You now need to select a return route to Blencarn.