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Railway Walks in the Lake District
Railway Walks in the Lake District
This new collection of 20 fabulous Lake District walks enables you to explore the railway heritage of the region, both old and new. Including current and historic photographs of Cumbria's network of railway lines, follow the routes from train stations to discover both amazing views and a wealth of information about times gone by.
There are fine routes near the Ravenglass and Haverthwaite heritage railways, where you will be listening to the nostalgic whistle of a steam train as you set off into the hills. You can learn all about disused lines and stations that stand abandoned following the Beeching Axe of the 1960s. And, of course, you can use public transport to discover the train lines still in use, with walks from the coastal stations and the likes of Windermere as well. Railway Walks in the Lake District is an engaging and inspirational way to explore Cumbria's wonderful landscape.
Paperback; 210 x 148mm
B&W Photographs and Maps
In Keswick Museum is the spade which was used to cut the first turf on the Penrith-Keswick - Cockermouth Railway. That was in 1862 when the new railway brought thousands of visitors to the heart of the Lakes. A hundred and one years later, Dr Beeching wielded his heavy axe. Small railways which wound their way through the countryside and halted at quiet platforms were closed, station buildings were sold and converted and the track was taken up. "In 1966 all the passenger services west of Keswick were withdrawn and much of the route was eventually replaced by the planned A66 road when it was finally opened in 1977." The section between Keswick and Penrith carried its last passengers in 1972.
The central platform at Threlkeld Station is still standing, "now much covered in moss and surrounded by trees". Peter Nakdrett starts his walk passing the row of old station cottages, following the track of the railway line and goes as far as "old railway bridge that the trains used to steam underneath". The route takes you down to the Glenderamackin, to Threlkeld Hall and the golf course before returning you to the old railway bridge and your starting point and waiting car. It's a pleasant walk of just over two miles and the Horse and Farrier in Threlkeld is the ideal place to enjoy a drink and a bite to eat.
If you are willing to step out for a full three hours, you might begin your walk near the Pheasant Inn at Wythop. Through the trees you can see the old station building, "roofless and looking a little sorry for itself". The walk which might have followed the old railway line would lie along the A66, but a turn to the west and a route that takes you through the woods keeps you in sight of the old railway, with Bassenthwaite and Skiddaw beyond.
There is another abandoned station platform to be seen beyond Keswick near the site of the Briery Wood Bobbin Mill. Once it produced "an astonishing 40 million bobbins every year - enough to make a line of bobbins 800 miles long". At first the mill used local timbers, but with the coming of the railway the local "ash, beech and birch trees were stacked alongside teak from Burma and boxwood from the Caribbean". Briery Mill provided the bobbins used to make the coronation robes for Queen Elizabeth II. With thoughts of steam, textiles and coronations in your head you walk eastwards along the old track following the route of Wainwright's Coast-to-Coast Walk. You cross three of the old railway bridges and climbing a small hill you find yourself on the Cumbrian Way and heading back towards your starting point at Keswick Leisure Centre.
Peter Naldrett describes twenty attractive, unambitious walks, all with a whiff of steam. Elsewhere, you'll be able to smell real steam. From the La'al Ratty there are three walks. A five mile route takes you from Ravenglass to Irton Road Station with a leisurely return journey in a little railway carriage. There's a three miles tramp over the fell from Beckfoot to Boot Station and a slightly shorter walk from Boot up to Stanley Force.
There's walks to enjoy from the wonderful coast line, from St Bees and from Silecroft and other walks to take from the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Line and from Windermere, Staveley, Burnside and Kendal as well as ones from the old Coniston Line which ran along the Duddon Valley.
Wordsworth opposed the coming of the railways to the Lake District. Peter Naldrett bemoans their loss. If you like a walk with a nostalgic whiff of steam in your nostrils - real or imagined - then here are twenty walks to recall the Lakes in the days before Beeching wielded his axe.
Review by Steve Matthews
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