Arnside & Silverdale Walks
Warton Crag & the Lancaster Canal
Date: 28th March 2013
Distance: 10.0 miles
Time: 4 hours 40 mins
Start Grid Ref: SD519736
A visit to the limestone outcrops of Warton Crag in between two sections of the lovely Lancaster Canal.
Route Summary: Tewitfield - Lancaster Canal - Yealand Road Bridge - Yealand Conyers - Hyning Scout Wood - Warton - Warton Crag - Warton - Pine Lake - Keer Bridge - Tewitfield
1. The Lancaster Canal above Tewitfield
2. Redundant lock gates on the tow path
3. St John's Church in Yealand Conyers
4. Mossy limestone scar in Hyning Scout Wood
5. Limekiln in Hyning Scout Wood
6. Lisa enjoying a rest on the climb on to Warton Crag
7. One an outcrop above the village of Warton
8. Looking south along Morecambe Bay towards Heysham
9. The beacon and trig point on the top of Warton Crag
10. Enjoying the view from Warton Crag
11. Limestone outcrop in Potts Wood
12. Potts Wood
13. The River Keer
14. The Keer Viaduct which carries the Skipton - Carnforth line
15. The Lancaster Canal at Borwick
16. The flock of sheep on the towpath at Tewitfield
Walk Detail: For the second day in a row the best forecast was out to the west so once again we headed up the A65 for another walk in the lovely Arnside & Silverdale AONB. This time our objectives were Warton Crag, the highest point in the AONB, and two sections of the Lancaster Canal.
We started at Tewitfield which marks the northernmost limit of the navigable section of the canal since it was severed by the construction of M6 motorway. We set off north past the now redundant locks to follow the canal tow path as far as Yealand Road Bridge. I'd only come across the Lancaster Canal a couple of weeks earlier, when I'd walked another section of it after descending Farleton Fell, and this walk confirmed the positive impression of it I had then.
From Yealand Road Bridge we made our way to Yealand Conyers via a couple of minor roads and fields. After passing through the village we entered Hyning Scout Wood, another example of the beautiful woodland to be found in the Arnside and Silverdale area. This particular wood featured a very mossy limestone scar and a magnificent example of an old kiln.
Leaving Hyning Scout Wood we walked through Warton to begin a diversion up on to Warton Crag. This proved to be a super climb, especially in the early stages above a limestone scar with far reaching views to Ingleborough inland and down the coast to Heysham. The summit of Warton Crag was adorned by a trig point and a beacon as well as lots of trees that restricted the view. However, immediately to the west of the summit was a small limestone outcrop which again provided a wonderful view out to sea and north to over the top of Arnside Knott towards the Lake District.
Descending through the woods we returned to Warton before a less enthralling section where, in turn, we crossed the A6, skirted the large Pine Lake holiday village and then crossed under the M6. From there though the rest of the walk was lovely, following the banks of the River Keer before arriving once again at the towpath of the Lancaster Canal at Keer Bridge. We then followed the towpath back to our starting point at Tewitfield.
The walk had a dramatic end when, just as we were arriving back at Tewitfield we came across over 50 sheep that had managed to get on the towpath. With nowhere else to go they kept running ahead of us until, at Tewitfield itself, the path was wide enough for us to get past them and for the sheep to return back up the towpath in the direction they'd come. Just when we thought they had all got by Lisa noted a head bobbing about in the canal - one of the sheep had fallen in!
The sides were too steep for it to get out on its own and after one failed attempt to haul it out I managed to coax it to a bit where the bank was slightly lower. From there I managed to get a good grip of it around the neck and pull it out enough for it to get its forelegs on to the side and get out. With a fleece saturated with water it was certainly heavy! No doubt due to a combination of the weight of its sodden fleece and shock it collapsed on the towpath after I got it out. Thankfully it made a quick recovery and soon ran off down the path looking for the rest of the flock.
Drama aside this was another lovely walk. Trying to combine two sections of the canal with Warton Crag did make it quite a long route though. I definitely want to visit Warton Crag again but I think next time I'll start from Warton itself so I can explore properly the myriad paths up and around the crag.