Walking between dog friendly hostels in the Lake District

Walking between dog friendly hostels in the Lake District

Our first nights dog friendly accommodation was at Witherslacks Cycle Barn, a beautiful grand design project built by the owners Rick and Steph over the previous 18 months.  Witherslack is an ancient Lakeland village made up of 3 hamlets – Town End, Mill Side and Beck Head, connected by pack horse and coffin routes to surrounding villages. Set in peaceful ancient mixed woodland away from busy central Lakes it sits under the imposing Whitbarrow Scar, a limestone escarpment, where the Lakeland mountains meet the sea at beautiful Morecambe Bay.

Our friendly hosts welcomed us to their new hostel and showed us the facilities. These included a drying room and 4 bedrooms and an open plan, lounge, dinner, kitchen. The rest of the night was spent in front of the fire enjoying some local lemon drizzle cake brought in by Steph.  The next day we would move on to Kendal Hostel.

witherslack cycle barn dog friendly accommodation
Witherslack Cycle Barn dog friendly accommodation

After a refreshing night’s sleep at the Cycle Barn we (Alex and my dogs Jaffa and Banjo), ate breakfast and set out to find a route to Kendal. Steph offered to walk with us for the first stage, which we happily accepted. After leaving the Cycle Barn, we turned left along the lane then right onto a marked footpath through a five bar gate, we climbed on over a stile and walked on until we came to a crossroads.  Along the way, Steph showed me to a stream with water so fresh that you could drink from it. Soon Steph turned back, leaving me, Jaffa and Banjo at the base of Whitbarrow Hill with a white arrow pointing up its steep tree lined path. There were more of these arrows as we continued uphill – enjoying the views over Morecambe Bay as we climbed – before walking along the west edge and arriving at Lord’s seat, the highest point of the hill with views on a clear day from Blackpool to the Langdale Pikes.

Speculator Views over Morecambe Bay
Speculator Views over Morecambe Bay

After this, we headed north west, following a path over a stile in the wall into some woods. Here we followed a marked footpath, later enjoying  some lovely views over Lyth Valley before dropping down towards the Lyth Valley Country Inn and then heading off by path towards the Hamlet town of Yeat.   Several footpaths later  we reached The Black Labrador pub at the cross roads, which was dog friendly and definitely worth stopping at.

Black labrador pub on our dog walk
The Black Labrador Pub, dog friendly pub

Feeling revived after a much needed rest, we set off again eventually spotting signposts to Kendal in a wooded area.  Following this path to the top of the hill before turning left again up to a trig point, which provided spectacular views of Morecambe Bay, the Lake District and the paths and Kendal, our destination. We then headed downhill reaching a road and the Kendal town sign.    Full directions for this route are given at the end of this blog, to be used in conjunction with some good map reading !

Arriving in Kendal
Arriving in Kendal

Kendal Hostel was not only grand and spacious but very homely, with a cosy sitting room on the ground floor plus a kitchen and dining room on the next.  It is also dog friendly. After unpacking we met an Australian traveller named David and passed some time learning about his travels before heading into town. We found a pub called The Shakespeare, and I had a lovely dinner whilst the dogs were given treats by the staff. After that, we headed back to Kendal Hostel to chill in the lounge after another eventful day.

The Lounge at Kendal Hostel dog friendly accommodation.
The Lounge at Kendal Hostel dog friendly accommodation.

After a peaceful night’s sleep it was time to walk back to Witherslack Cycle Barn via a different route.   I took the dogs  through a lovely local park and our new friend Dave came along with us.  The Park backed on to the banks of the River Kent and worked our way down the river until we crossed some bridges and found the disused towpath of a canal with beautiful brick bridges which we followed to Sedgwick  where we crossed the A590 into the Lake District.  From here we walked through the Leven Hall Estate Deer Park and then across the river to the Cumbrian Coastal Path.

 Dave and the dogs in Cumbria
Dave and the dogs

We followed the Cumbria Coastal path to Sampool Bridge, where we found a dog friendly pub – The Gilpin Bridge Inn –  to have our lunch, passing a few comfortable hours there before heading back to Witherslack Cycle Barn.  We took a quicker route along the main road and going down a country lane; then along a farm track to Raven Lodge, before following a woodland track around the base of Whitbarrow to Beck Head – where I’d started the day before.   Full directions for this route are given at the end of this blog, to be used in conjunction with some good map reading !

That evening we enjoyed a hearty meal cooked by Steph at Witherslack Cycle Barn, followed by a relaxing few hours in front of the fire before we went to bed after another great day.

The location of Kendal Hostel, Witherslack Cycle Barn and other Hostels and Bunkhouses in the Lake District can be seen on our map of Hostel in Cumbria.   We also have a map of Dog Friendly accommodation in England, Wales and Scotland.

Detailed Direction from Witherslack Cycle Barn to Kendal – via Lords Seat. To be used in conjunction with a map.
After leaving the Cycle Barn, we turned left along the lane then right onto a marked footpath, passing through a gate and then climbed on over a stone stile and walked on until we came to a bridleway, where we turned left. At the base of a hill there was a white arrow pointing up its steep tree lined path. There were more of these arrows as we continued uphill – enjoying the views over Morecambe Bay as we climbed – before a walk along the west edge and arriving at Lord’s seat
, the highest point of the hill. After this, we headed north west, following a path over a stile in the wall into some woods. Here we followed a marked footpath until we came to a gate, where we turned left up an incline before coming down again to a crossroads and going straight on. Shortly afterwards we went right onto a path going down through the woods until we came to another stile that lead into an orchard, which we walked through until we came to a gate where we enjoyed some lovely views over Lyth Valley. Next we crossed through some meadows and a few gates, arriving at the village of Row; here we passed a house and came to a junction where we turned left up the hill then took the first right turning on to a track that went further up and then around, coming to an end outside of a house.  Now we left the track and took a downhill path to the main road where we could see the Lyth Valley Country Inn across the way. At this point we turned right along the road just after the pub and went down a signposted footpath until we reached a building, where we turned right again between some fences and kept going until we came to some cross roads, here we turned left up the track and went through some gates that lead into a meadow. Next we followed a track overhung with trees to another gate, and then continued on a path up to a farmhouse; we made our way through the farmyard and reached a country lane where we turned right, then right again diagonally up the hill following a green lane. At the end we turned right into the Hamlet town of Yeat.  Here we took the first left up the hill and followed this path past a house (along here we also enjoyed some more gorgeous views of the valley) then kept on as it branched off into some meadows to the right, which we crossed, arriving at another country lane. At this point we turned left, and on reaching a left hand bend we carried straight on up a driveway, past a house and through the garden to a gate at the bottom (keeping the wall on the right), where we went up the hill before dropping down again to a stream. Now we made our way up another hill, over a stile then down again to a farmyard; keeping to the left side of it as we passed through, then turned right past the farm and down to the end of the driveway. At the end of the drive we crossed over a junction on to another footpath, which we followed across a meadow and over a stile before turning left and keeping along the road until we reached The Black Labrador pub at the cross roads, which was definitely worth stopping at. Feeling revived after a much needed rest, we turned right on the cross road and followed it for about half a mile before we took a left onto a signposted footpath uphill, and then right past a vegetable garden. We then made our way through a front garden and on to a lane where we went left up an incline, then took a footpath to the right as it began to slope down again, following it down to a stream and over a stile into a field. We crossed the field before going over another stile and heading towards a stone barn at the far end of the field, going around the side of it to reach a track up to a lane where we turned left. We kept on here until we reached the first footpath on our right, which went up a driveway and around a house before leading into a field; crossing the field, we reached a wooded area where we started to see signposts to Kendal and followed them through the woods, before making our way over a stile into a meadow and taking a diagonal left back towards the woods, continuing until we reached a farm and followed a marked footpath right up to a house.  From here we took a left around some buildings, following this path to the top of the hill before turning left again up to a trig point, which provided spectacular views of Morecambe Bay, the Lake District paths and Kendal, our destination. We then headed down the hill (keeping the wall on our left) until we came to a gate on our left, where we went diagonally left down a path through another gate before going up an incline and the down again to a road where we turned right past a sign to Kendal. Following this road down a hill, we crossed a bridge over a bypass and took the second right (signposted as a dead end) then we crossed straight over a junction and down a one-way street the wrong way. Next we passed a dentist’s office on a junction and turned left, finally arriving at Kendal Hostel after a few yards.

Detailed Direction from  Kendal to Witherlsack Cycle Barn – via road and country lane. To be used in conjuction with a map. Leave Kendal Hostel and turn right  cross road and take second left . The go though arch way to a park and walk though the park to river bank where you turn right.  Passing Kendal church on right  at bridge cross over river then turn right and walk on Path between shopping center and river,  join a road a turn right, keeping river on your right at next bridge, go under the bridge and follow the road up away from the river for about half mile. At footpath sign turn right down steps pass office block and to arrive in the back of industrial area. Turn left, with the river on the right and a factory on the left,  keep walking.  At the end of the factory the river goes away from you to the right . Go though gate onto tarmac road, turn right passing house,  shortly afterwards turn left though gate. Pass a  footpath sign on you right and here you can see an old Roman fort in the shape of the land. Go diagonally right heading up over a wall and onto the next wall. Follow the fence line down to the river.  Keep the river on your right and follow it over several stiles until you eventually come out on a lane . Turn left up hill, just before the bend in the road go though a gate and turn right onto the tow path for the canal. Stay on towpath across several fields passing bridges over dry rivers.  After several fields and wooded areas the tow path arrives in a  village.  Go though the garden over a aqueduct  keeping on the tow path.  Follow the path through couple more fields before you take a lane turn left over bridge with the main road below . After crossing the bridge turn right over a stile into park land. Follow this well marked path though formal avenues trees with the river down below.  Coming out of park land  turn right over bridge, then turn left though woods along the side of field to come out on slip road leading to dual carriageway.  Follow the slip road and then turn left on lane towards a farm.  Pass the farm and stay on lane.  Just before caravan site turn right  down another lane for a mile . At road junction with the dual carriageway go straight over onto another road and turn left in front of the garage. Follow this road around to left over bridge passing The Gilpin Bridge Inn (on your right).  Just after the pub car park turn right onto the cycle track which runs adjacent tothe main road.  At the end of the track turn right up a road to the big hill of  Whitbarrow Scar.  After about half mile turn right up farm road leading to farm house.  At farm house turn left through a gate and on footpath up the hill through woods with nice view to left overlooking Morecambe Bay.  Pass some houses  keeping in same direction though woods and passing a bench . At the junction of paths turn right keep woods on right and fields on left.  Over stile, through the gate, then follow the path through houses up a drive to the gate.   Turn left down a lane with a stream on your left and Witherslack cycle Barn is on the right . 

About Alex Russel

Alex and his dog Jaffa are great fans of Independent Hostels. They use them to get away for walking weekends whenever they can.