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Walking to Robin Hood’s Grave

November 18, 2014

It was one of those fine autumn mornings after rain, with the cloud inversion clinging all morning in the deep valley between the Cumbrian village of Orton and the Howgill Fells.

Orton Church (c) John Bainbridge 2014

Orton Church (c) John Bainbridge 2014

The ground was very wet underfoot but it was a grand day for a country walk of several miles.

We left Orton early, passing the ancient pillory, where wrongdoers or perhaps just the

Orton Pillory (c) John Bainbridge 2014

Orton Pillory (c) John Bainbridge 2014

unfortunate poor would have been subjected to punishment and humiliation, and the even older parish church, taking the footpath that eventually leads to Crosby Ravensworth, crossing a number of old stiles in stone-walled fields.

Old Stile at Orton (c) John Bainbridge 2014

Old Stile at Orton (c) John Bainbridge 2014

After a long ascent we reached an old lime-kiln and then the edge of Orton Scar.

At this point the old track becomes more defined, wider and you can see the wheel ruts of carts, which perhaps carried the refined lime down to Crosby.

You follow this track through some splendid

Autumn Day at Orton (c) John Bainbridge 2014

Autumn Day at Orton (c) John Bainbridge 2014

heather moorland, keeping in the hollow and ignoring cross tracks until you reach the pile of stones that is Robin Hood’s Grave.

It almost certainly isn’t, but it is a very dramatic setting.

If you read the best historical work on the outlaw, by J. C. Holt, you will discover that Robin Hood, or more often RobinHood as one word, became a generic term for many an outlaw.

We were now on Wainwright’s coast to coast path, as we made our way across the moorland of Orton Scar to ascend Beacon Hill. When Wainwright first designed the walk, he took this route, but was deterred by a landowner who insisted that there was no right of way. Even today the C to C goes down an inferior path towards Orton.

Fortunately, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CRoW) restored the access and it is perhaps time that England’s most popular long-distance trail took the original route.

Beacon Hill, surmounted by a cross celebrating Queen Victoria’s 1887 Jubilee is a fine view point, offering wide views over old Westmorland.

Robin Hood's Grave (c) John Bainbridge 2014

Robin Hood’s Grave (c) John Bainbridge 2014

OLd track with wheel-ruts on Orton Scar (c) John Bainbridge 2014

Old track with wheel-ruts on Orton Scar (c) John Bainbridge 2014

Look out too for the great stretches of limestone pavement nearby.

Jubilee Monument on Beacon Hill (c) John Bainbridge 2014

Jubilee Monument on Beacon Hill (c) John Bainbridge 2014

We descended by a bridlepath to Scar Side Farm and then wondered down the quiet Street Lane and back to Orton, just as the cloud inversion was beginning to dispel.

On Beacon Hill (c) John Bainbridge 2014

On Beacon Hill (c) John Bainbridge 2014

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2014 2:09 pm

    That looks a nice walk – I’ve never thought of walking from Orton, although we pass quite often when using the A6 instead of the M6.
    Carol.

  2. November 18, 2014 6:19 pm

    A very interesting area.

  3. Norma Goodwin permalink
    November 24, 2014 8:00 am

    John, I live in the south so am not familiar with the places you walk. Your descriptions and superb photographs make me want to visit, so where is the best centre to rent a holiday cottage? I have been writing a nature column in our local Community News for the past 3 years and am going to set up a blog for my readers. I think I will use WordPress. Any advice, hints or tips would be very much appreciated.BTW, I am also a member of the Richard Jefferies Society.

  4. stravaigerjohn permalink
    November 24, 2014 8:05 am

    There are I think cottages in Orton itself, though nearby Kirkby Stephen probably has more to offer. If you want to combine this area with the Lake District, then Kendal, Windermere and Ambleside are best. Worth visiting the Lake District tourism online.

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