Townend and Troutbeck Valley walk
Uncover classic Lakeland scenery, farmland and architecture on this beautiful circular walk from Brockhole, near Lake Windermere, up into the Troutbeck Valley and to the charming and unique 17th-century farmhouse, Townend. On the way you will be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding fells and Lake Windermere, diverse wildlife and some charming local architecture.
Brockhole Visitor Centre, grid ref NY390010
Leave Brockhole, turn right and walk along the footpath beside the A591 until you see a bridleway on the opposite side of the road. Here you can see old St Andrews Chapel (now used as offices). It was built in 1913 by a family who lived nearby, so that their staff would not be away from their duties for too long by going to church in Bowness.
Cross the road carefully and follow the track up towards Middlerigg Tarn. This track is known as Wain Lane. It's a 10th-century cart lane and was used by packhorses to bring slate from Troutbeck down to the lake where it could be transported by boat.
Follow the track past the tarn and continue along it as it veers to the left. You can see the route of the aqueduct along Wain Lane. Look out for single iron gates supported by sandstone pillars, which were used for access.
Look out for Herdwick sheep. They can often be spotted on the Lake District's higher fells. This hardy breed is able to brave the elements in a harsh climate and is recognisable by the black (youngsters) or dark grey fleece (older sheep).
When the track meets a road, turn right. This will take you into Troutbeck village. You'll see Townend House to the left of the next T-junction along the road.
For over 400 years Townend was home to just one family, the Brownes. They were well-to-do farmers (also called yeomen) and passed their estate down through 12 generations until 1943 when the line died out. The money they made farming a large swathe of the Troutbeck Valley enabled them to extend and improve the house. There is a lot of fine oak furniture here, much of which was carved by the last George Browne. He retired in his 40s to make more of his talent as a wood carver.
Continue along the village road past the barns and interesting houses and up towards the post office. Turn left here.
Follow Robin Lane, which will be joined by a bridleway on the left. Continue for 328yd (300m) and then turn left opposite a pillar on the right. This is an excellent spot for a view of Windermere, England's largest lake.
Windermere is the largest lake in England, measuring 10.5 miles long (17km) and 1.25 miles (2km) across at it's widest point, with a depth of up to 220ft (67m). The lake is so large that it has a slight but discernible tide.
On entering the lane turn first left over a stile and follow the track down to a road. Cross over to Mirk Lane which is directly opposite.
Walk along Mirk Lane back down towards the A591. Carefully cross the road again to return to Brockhole.
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