Last October I attempted this walk but long stretches of very muddy footpaths put me off completing it. I suppose I walked about a third of the route and then diverted from it taking an alternative track to a tarmaced country lane back to the start. So I was delighted when this month’s Weekday Wanderers ‘leader’ told us we were going to do the Winterburn Reservoir Walk yesterday. There was every chance that the paths, although muddy, would be frozen so we would be able to complete the route without being too bogged down in mud.
Our leader’s walk – although also extracted from the Yorkshire Post – followed the reverse route. Parking in Hetton in front of the Angel Inn, we headed along a quiet lane out of the village then we struck out across fields until we reached Friar’s Head House. A slight diversion was well worth it to see the front of this Grade 2* listed building which is now a farmhouse.
“The manor of Winterburn was gifted to Furness Abbey during the 12th century. Nearby Winterburn Grange was the abbey’s administrative centre for the surrounding estates and Friar’s Head was supposedly a hunting lodge for the Abbots of Furness. The present building has a much later date however. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries a long dispute arose over Friar’s Head between its tenants under the Abbey, the Proctor family, and the Earl of Cumberland who tried to put his own tenants in. The three-storey house now at Friar’s Head was eventually built by Stephen Proctor around 1590. It is the most prominent example of a late Tudor gentry house in the Dales.”
The quiet Winterburn Lane leads to the village of Winterburn itself where we were delighted to see new born lambs in their pac-a-mac raincoats!
Lambs in Plastic Macs
The Latest Style in Rainwear!
Eventually we left the track to climb up to fields above the hamlet and we had wide views of the Cracoe Fell with its cross and war memorial (I have yet to walk that ridge).
Dropping down to the reservoir itself we had to negotiate the muddy paths before joining the long Moor Lane track back to the village of Hetton.
Cracoe Fell from Moor Lane
Returning to Hetton
We experienced freezing cold winds but lovely clear views of the fells covered with snow. Today we have as much snow in our garden! And to think, Easter is a week away and spring has already begun!