Walking from Hilton – the Edge of the Pennines
Walking from Hilton – the Edge of the Pennines.
This five mile ramble from Hilton, just up from Appleby on the edge of the Pennines, didn’t get off to the best of starts. The footpath leading out of this moorland hamlet was completely blocked by stinging nettles. Ah, the benefits of a walking stick. Lots of bashing and not a single sting. Then, as we followed the Hilton Beck, more troubles with the path. Erosion into the sandstone had tumbled the path line into the beck, leaving a slippery clutch of path, high above the water – too dangerous to contemplate after lots of heavy rain. Thanks to the CRoW (Countryside and Rights of Way) Act the heath above was opened for walking. Just as well or the walk might have terminated there and then.The path was obviously once popular, for it was good and wide in places. Past Stoneriggs Farm, which looked a bit Wuthering Heights in the grey weather, we found ourselves out on the bleak Brackenber Moor, much of which is now occupied by the Appleby Golf Club. Much of the golf course is mapped as CRoW land, and crossed by several rights of way. Ramblers and golfers don’t really mix, but the players here seemed friendly, though I suspect these paths are not very well used.
We walked over the links towards the hamlet of Langton, though we stayed on the southern side of the Hilton Beck, with dramatic, though not particularly big sandstone cliffs. Very good for birds. A pair of Lapwings on the stone wall above the opposite bank, then two curlews, very close, flying above our heads, stalking the fields and beckside.
Back across the golf course, or moor, to Brackenber, passing two lakes upon the way, one of which the local wildfowl had adopted as home. Then down a green lane from Brackenber, signposted “Hag’s Lane”. Delightful for its first stretches, then up a footpath, admittedly signed but poorly waymarked as climbed back towards Hilton and Roman Fell. The latter looked dramatic as the mist swept across it, though on most days it is out of bounds, part of the Warcop firing ranges. We turned just before the usual MoD notices that threatened death and destruction if you carried on. A short walk then back to Hilton.
The area around Hilton would be great for rambling if someone would get to work on the paths thereabouts, some of which are shamefully neglected. Just getting people to walk them more often would probably keep them open. Perhaps the local Ramblers group could go and have a look?