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" Ennerdale Lakeside "

Date & start time:      5th August 2022.   2.15 pm start.

Location of Start :     Bowness Knott car park, Ennerdale, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 110 153)

Places visited :          Bowness, Smithy Beck, Irish Bridge and back.

Walk details :              3.5 miles, 100 ft of ascent, about an hour and a half.

Highest point :           The car park at the start.

Walked with :              Loes and the dogs, Dylan and Dougal.

Weather :                     Dry but feeling cold in the damp air.


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


Today's walk was as a result of the fine skies calling us out, but we got to see more skies than we had bargained for on this familiar walk.

The larch disease is forcing the forestry guys to fell and cart away thousands of trees and so alter the views of some of our favourite places.

Still if you look beyond the trees, the fells are eternal and still provide a familiar backdrop, even if the foreground is different.

A grossly out of focus snap shot to start . . . but do you recognise the car park . . . we didn't.

This is the entrance to the Bowness car park in Ennerdale, normally overpowered and dark from the many trees

which traditionally tower over the car park . . . now they are gone.

Gone are most of the trees, victims of the larch disease and commercial foresting,

but in its place we have wide open skies and a view of Bowness Knott from below, which has been hidden for years.

Loes and I wanted an easy afternoon walk with not too many hills to climb or slippery paths to hinder our walk.

You can't get much more perfect than the lakeside track alongside Ennerdale Water.

After cutting trees they need to be stored alongside the track before being taken away by lorry.

The smell of cut pine filled the air this afternoon.

However work is still in progress and several of the paths were shut.

This was the start of the Smithy Beck Trail with enough signage to keep the printing industry busy for weeks.

Over the back the trees surrounding the forest trail have more or less gone

so it will be a very different walk when it re-opens.

In the mean time it is not even worth exploring on the "workmen's days off "

as the ground conditions have been turned to a quagmire by the passage of the heavy forestry equipment.

The track leads us on to the Smithy Beck itself, a few yards after it emerges from the old forest and before it enters the lake.

This is the site of an "early industrial revolution" iron bloomery where they used charcoal to convert local iron ore into pig iron.

It would be some decades before Bessemer developed the higher temperature iron furnaces that would turn that iron into better quality steel.

The "other end" of the Smithy Beck trail closed by more notices . . .
. . . as will be the road and cycle way a little further up the valley.

Still, the track alongside the lake is currently unaffected

and will probably remain so as we've moved beyond the area of the larch plantation.

Brightly coloured blue and white stones shine in the centre of the river.

Recent flood water has built up a bank of stone, beautifully un-muddied as it has been recently scraped clean on its journey downstream.

The natural turn around point today was Irish Bridge.

When I first new it it was a series of concrete covered pipes, but has been rebuilt with wide open arched to allow fish migration and easier gravel movement.

In the last few years it has gained some ironwork on one of the sections, the purpose of which has been unclear until today.

Loes and the dogs stop on the centre for a photo-shoot.
Did some one say "Beavers"

The trial single structure will eventually cover each archway, as-and-when the project gets the final go ahead.

- - - o o o - - -


Alongside the junction was a random length of fence.

It was a metre high but with a angled top section

much like the anti-escape fence at Colditz (but not as tall!).


The plan is to completely cross the valley floor with a barrier

that will keep the beavers upstream of the bridge,

yet allow the trout and salmon to migrate past the barrier as required.


The proposed introduction for the beavers date is 2023 or 2024


The salmon and trout needn't worry,

beavers are vegetarians !


- - - o o o - - -

Time to head back, reversing our route as there was little alternative.

A study in cut timber . . . the scribble writing was an indication of size.
To the left 3.1 metre logs and here 4.9 metre lengths.
Up in diameter and length to 7.5m, presumably a converted imperial size.
The only other length we saw was 8.6m, but that's 28.2 feet ?

The good quality brash was destines it seems for "wood chip".

The lake level is high today making the picnic table headland visually attractive, but the cool weather was un-inviting.

Back to Bowness car park after a small climb up the track.

It may have seemed small today but it can be the steepest of slopes after a longer walk in the Ennerdale Valley.

- - - o o o - - -

As we drove home over the Cauder Brow Road the sun burst out from between the clouds

casting a strong yellow light across the whole valley.

Well, you've just got to stop for one last photo !

- - - o o o - - -

Technical note: Pictures taken with my iPhone 11 pro Camera.

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

This site best viewed with . . . a change of scenery and long pondered questions answered.

Go to Home Page . . . © RmH . . . Email me here

Previous walk - 15th November - Cockermouth Riverside

A previous time up here - 9th July 2012 Ennerdale Round the Lake

Next walk - 27th November - Solway Coast and Crosscanonby


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