It was a perfect day to walk the 7.5 mile (13 km) Lowther Castle Loop – the latest addition to the Ullswater Way. From Lowther Castle, the circular route follows the banks of the Lowther river, through the hamlet of Helton and then up to Askham Fell with its panoramic views, before returning through the charming village of Askham.
The route is clearly marked with the distinctive yellow logo of the Ullswater Way Lowther Castle Loop and clearly described in the new edition of the Ullswater Way Guide.
From Lowther Castle car park, the walk begins by following the castle walls before entering woodland and descending to follow the meandering River Lowther. Woodland gives way to more open deer park and just before Crookwath bridge the path approaches the riverbank – a perfect spot to pause a while, enjoy the views and, if you are lucky as we were, see a kingfisher fly past.
After crossing the bridge the route continues through hay meadows to the charming village of Helton. A short climb out of the village leads to the vast expanse of Askham Fell.
The prominent Cop Stone is the first hint that Askham Fell is rich in ancient history. The track from the Cop Stone across the fell passes a series of burial cairns and stone circles, suggesting the area was of special importance to our Bronze and Iron Age ancestors.
The fell is also home to sheep and fell ponies.
After about a mile, the Lowther Loop takes a sharp right turn off the main track to head downhill towards Askham but it is definitely worth walking on a short distance to see the wonderful views over Ullswater and the Helvellyn range. Then return to the junction and take the sign to Lowther Castle.
The route descends from the fell into the picturesque village of Askham, with its Punchbowl Inn, Queen’s Head Inn, Village shop and Askham Hall cafe, before crossing the River Lowther and climbing through woodland back to Lowther Castle and the promise of a delicious homemade scone at the Castle cafe.
An excellent day’s walk, full of variety and with stunning views. Definitely one to repeat!
by Anne Clarke
For more information see Lowther Castle website