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introduction to the lyth valley...

This hidden corner of Cumbria is famed for its damsons. In early spring, frothy clouds of white blossom greet the onlooker at every turn, a snowy spectacle marked by Damson Day in mid-April. This hugely popular event brings together local producers, growers and various craftspeople in celebration of the humble damson. By autumn, the trees are laden with purple fruits and numerous roadside stalls appear advertising damsons for sale.


The Lyth and Winster valleys form a landscape of unspoilt pastoral delights - damson trees clustered in small orchards close to white-washed farmhouses, broadleaved woodlands brimming with bluebells, green undulating pastures with rocky outcrops of limestone and yellow gorse adding a splash of colour to the countryside palette. At its heart are the villages of Bowland Bridge, Crosthwaite and Underbarrow connected by a network of ancient routes that lead to Kendal, the traditional market centre.

Winster and Crook mark the heads of the two valleys, drained by the Winster and Gilpin rivers that pass either side of the great limestone hulk of Whitbarrow Scar. At the base of the escarpment is the scattered community of Witherslack. In the east, the village of Brigsteer huddles at the foot of Scout Scar overlooking the drained mosses. Further south, Levens lies on a promontory that was once washed by the sea. Over in the west, the wooded knolls of Cartmel Fell reach their maximum height at Gummer's How with a spectacular view over Windermere, whilst down at shore level, Fell Foot Park offers a host of recreational pursuits on and off the lake.


Gummer's How (SD 390 885)
The spectacular views down the lake of Windermere from the summit are well worth making the steep climb. Parking at Gummer's How car park (Forestry Commission).

Scout Scar (SD 486 919)
Magnificent views over the Lyth Valley and Morecambe Bay can be experienced by walking along edge of the limestone escarpment west of Kendal. The path leads to the Mushroom, a domed shelter with a diorama of the Lakeland Fells laid around the inside rim. Parking on Underbarrow Road at SD 488 924.

Helsington Church (SD 488 889)
This church must have one of the best outlooks in the whole of Cumbria - a panoramic view that takes in Scafell Pike and the Old Man of Coniston on days with good visibility. A toposcope points out the various features of interest. Parking opposite church.

Several footpaths lead to the summit of this prominent limestone hill, providing panoramic views over Morecambe Bay.

A bridleway from Witherslack Hall (or Witherslack village) provides a popular means of ascending the wooded slopes of Yewbarrow to be greeted with glorious views at the top.


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