Remember: Press F11 for a full screen view of this page.
Web Counter when published 1 704 250


" Setmurthy and the Derwent "

Date & start time:     30th September 2019.  3 pm start.

Location of Start :    Tan How Dyke Cottage Setmurthy, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 183 322)

Places visited :          The Derwent down to Kirkhouse and back to St Barnabas’ Church

Walk details :             3.1 miles, 250 feet of ascent, 1 hours 45 mins.

Highest point :           Level walking except the climb back to St Barnabas Church and their cottage.

Walked with :             Chris, Jeff, Ann and our dogs, Dylan and Dougal.

Weather :                    An autumnal morning but overcast by the time of the afternoon walk.

© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number PU 100034184.


A walk with a difference as we drive to see our friends' new cottage and they invite us to walk on a footpath they've found

that follows the River Derwent for part of the way between Bassenthwaite Lake (off to the right) and Cockermouth (away to the left).

It's a lovely autumn morning, let's hope it stays fine all day.  First a few local pictures from Loweswater itself.

We woke on the 30th to mist in the valley and a cold, damp autumnal Monday morning.

These sheep are in the field adjacent to our garden and the mist covers the river between here and Lanthwaite Woods.

The mist is slowly drifting down the valley, on the other side it crosses the field between us and Loweswater Church.

Gradually the view cleared to allow us to see Haystacks at the head of the valley once again.

As the sun climbed clear of the valley sides it burns through the mist,

bringing warmth to the valley and makes the grass sparkle.

Low Fell was illuminated from top down, the heavy dew on the fields still in shadow at this time.

A couple of hours later you wouldn't know there had been a mist inversion at all.

We're back to a dry morning with partial cloud, as the local farmer calls by to gather and check his flock.

- - - o o o - - -

We were invited for lunch and a walk by our friends Chris and Jeff.

They have bought an old middle terrace house in Setmurthy, about a mile from the distillery, after they moved back from south west Ireland.

After lunch and a look around, they invited us for a walk by the river,

a short distance away at the bottom of the hill below St Barnabas Church.

This is a small but richly decorated church that probably owes its existence to the nearby Higham Hall Estate.

It would have been the place of worship for the family that lived there as well as serving the otherwise limited local population.

We'll call back to the church later, but for now while the weather holds, we'll continue with the walk.

This is the road from Barkhouse and the Ouse Bridge at Bassenthwaite to Isel. It leads on eventually to Cockermouth via the back roads.

A short road walk brings us views of Binsey on one side and the ancient Setmurthy Woods on the other.

It also brought us to a National Trust gate that offered access to a permissive footpath across the fields to the river.

We're on the right track.

As the trees cleared we started to get views of the River Derwent . . .
. . . and soon it became a true riverside path.

Across the way are the extensive buildings of Long Close Farm.

The open riverside allowed us to look back at the high fells of Skiddaw and Ullock Pike.

Our location could be traced from the overhead power lines that feature on one of our 1:25k set of maps but not an alternative version.

Strangely the other map show part of this permissive path system but not the power lines . . . you can't have everything it seems !

Jeff points out the stile on the alternative path down from the road, it started close to Shepherd's Field Farm.

We continue the walk down the riverside track, damp from the long grass of the adjoining meadows. 

The river is high after recent rain but not high enough to flood over the path.

A riverside shelter allows us, and any other visitor for that matter, a moment or three of quiet contemplation if required.

It has a mooring post for a small boat but it looks hardly used. 

Chris and Jeff have brought sandwiches here one time to enjoy lunch in these peaceful surroundings.

The river looks calm here but there is a fast flow in the water out there.

I think it would be quite hard to row against it even on a quiet day . . . perhaps a canoe option would be better.

Binsey as a backdrop to this ancient tree stump along this stretch of the river.

The old buildings of Dunthwaite House look across the meadows at the Derwent.  It is now owned by the National Trust.

Several enclosures in the field protect newly planted trees which hopefully will grow to maintain this idyllic view over time.

In this seemingly prosperous farming country the farm has a suitably large stone barn,

complete with brown brick dove cot openings in the front walls.

Inside the enormous bank barn there was a water powered threshing machine and grinding mill.

A Mute Swan swims quietly by the reeds and grass of the riverbank.

He hissed at Dougal who nervously barked back.  At a year old Dougal has never seen one of these birds before !

Introductions made and obvious boundaries realised, the two made their peace.

We left the swan to the river as Dougal, Dylan and ourselves continued the walk along the bank.

There were one or two spots where the high water level in the river had flooded the path . . .

. . . but the Trust had built several small bridges to allow side tributaries to be crossed.

- - - o o o - - -



Chris is pictured on the bridge over the Dunthwaite stream.



The path now climbs steeply up to the road

to by-pass a steep erosion cliff

where the river has cut into the bank near Kirkhouse.



Jeff pauses briefly on the climbs

up the short but steep rustic steps

up through the woods.



- - - o o o - - -

You can continue on the road for a short while and soon gain access, on the other side of Kirkhouse,

to the next part of the riverside path to Isel Church.

However, we opt to turn at this point and walk back along the road towards Setmurthy and the cottage.

We pass a new wall and gate on the back entrance to Dunthwaite House, that we saw from the front earlier.

- - - o o o - - -

The main drive entrance has two grand stone gate posts

with lovely chiseled pattern on each face.


Alongside us as we looked over the fence we could see

the water leat and mill pond that served the house.


- - - o o o - - -

Soon we arrive back at the finger post that directs us . . .
. . . back up the hill to St Barnabas Church and the Cottage.

This looks a lovely little church so we call in to have a look around.

Inside there's a small but well maintained room with ornate stained glass in the windows dedicated to the local Fisher Family.

This is obviously a well loved place of worship.
Ornate brass lamps hang from the ceiling.

Modern lights now illuminate the church today.
Unusual brass plaques decorate the window sills and altar.

- - - o o o - - -



Unfortunately the small side baptistry at the back

that holds the Christening Font

is currently suffering an ingress of water

either from the roof or more possibly

from the saturated ground outside.


Obviously work in progress.


The small room is not lit at present

possibly to avoid problems

of water and electricity mixing !



- - - o o o - - -

Outside there is an ancient collection of grave stones, the style of which are all very different.

The corner plot holds the grave stones of the extended Fisher Family of Higham Hall.

A Commonwealth War Graves sign outside possible refers to this one.
Presumably this plot owner is planning ahead !

The present Church was built in 1794.  In 1870 it was restored and altered, when the tower and belfry were added.

In 1903 the baptistry was added to house the old font dated 1661 . . . more detail if you wish on the Visit Cumbria site.

- - - o o o - - -

It was just a short walk back across the road to Christine and Jeff's cottage and our waiting car.

Thanks for inviting us out on a rather different but no less enjoyable walk, in an area new to Ann and myself.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Panasonic Lumix TZ60, or my Panasonic Lumix Gx8 Camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a Mute Swan with a loud and definitely un-muted hiss !

Go to Top . . . © RmH . . . Email me here

Previous walk - 28th Sept - Sale fell from Wythop

A previous time up here - 31st July 2018 - The Lake District Wildlife Park

Next walk - 2nd October - Rannerdale for Harry's 60th


Your chance to buy your calendars, have your favourite

web site pictures hanging on your wall all year round

and to support a good cause.

- - - o o o - - -

 Yes . . . for this 13th superb edition we've done it again.

" Twelve months of Loweswater pictures, Lakeland scenes,

your favourite mountain dogs . . . and don't forget me

the Herdy on the front cover ! "

Click here to order

your 2020 Loweswatercam Calendar