Hodge Close walk
This manageable, low-level walk provides great views of the Langdale Pikes and surrounding fells, along with an insight into the historical industrial past of the area.
Car parking area, grid ref: NY315016
Head from the car parking area along the road and down the hill until you reach a bungalow on the right-hand side of the road. Turn left and take the track down the hill opposite, going through a gateway and then taking the central sunken track down into the woods. Follow the track down into the woods, cross over Pierce How Beck and up the hill.
Fantastic views of the surrounding fells can be seen along the route, including Lingmoor, Bowfell and the Pike of Blisco. At other points in the walk, you will also see Wetherlam, Holme Fell and the central fells in the distance.
When you reach another track at the crest of the hill in the woods, bear right and head along the track, passing between the quarry tips on the left and fields on the right.
Continue along the track, past the cottage on your left until you reach a junction with a single track road. Bear left and continue towards the river Brathay where there is a bridge and a ford.
Turn left, keeping the river on your right, and continue walking along the trackway with the woods on the left.
To the left of you is Atkinson Coppice a network of old slate quarries which sprawl across the side of the fell. Quarrying ended here in the 1950’s and slowly but surely the area is now being reclaimed by nature. First to colonise the spoil heaps are lichens and mosses followed by regenerating birch and ash and eventually oak. Continue along the track.
This quarry complex was at its busiest during the nineteenth century, when a boom in house building led to a huge demand for slate. Holes were drilled in the rock face and packed with explosive to blast the slate free – look out for the smooth, cylindrical drill holes on the walls inside. The slate was then ‘riven’ (split) and ‘dressed’ (tidied and shaped) on site and any waste was tipped on the spoil heaps that you may have passed on the way up the hill.
Continue along the trackway, passing through a gateway until you reach a stile and gate through the wall on the right hand side. Take this footpath towards the river and Slater Bridge.
Slater Bridge is a spectacular example of a slate-constructed packhorse bridge built between 1650 and 1750, combining quirky and beautiful looks with long-lasting functionality.
Once over the bridge, take a right-hand turn through a wall and follow the footpath across the fields and through the gate.
When you reach some steps and a gate beside the road, turn left and walk up the road to the junction. At the junction of the roads, turn right and walk down the hill towards the Three Shires Inn.
Continue along the road until you reach the fingerpost on the right, marked 'footpath to Stang End'. Follow that footpath downhill and cross the bridge over the river, continuing until you reach the farm.
On reaching Stang End Farm, turn left up the hill on the road between the farmhouse and barns with the classic Lakeland spinning gallery. Then turn immediately right along a trackway signposted to Hodge Close.
Lakeland spinning gallery
At Stang End Farm a typical Lakeland spinning gallery (where wool was spun into yarn) can be seen. It was the ideal place to spin, as wool was readily available and the damp climate allowed yarn to be spun without breaking.
Follow the track along the side of Little Fell and The Dubs. Keep on the track bearing right through the gateway into the woods and continue on along the track until you reach a stone built house on the right.
Go through the gateway beside the house and back onto the tarmac road, passing an entrance down into Hodge Close quarry on your left. Hodge Close Quarry is a dramatic example of man's influence upon the appearance of a landscape, featuring a huge cavern with a water filled bottom which dominates the landscape, along with large spoil piles from the slate mining. Follow the road back to where your car is parked.
Car parking area, grid ref: NY315016
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