A Walk to Murton and Hilton

A couple of blogs ago, I described our walk from Appleby to Flakebridge wood. This walk is a continuation of that, and the two could easily be combined. The two rambles together give a hint of the pastoral walks which may be undertaken in Cumbria’s Eden valley.

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The Church (c) John Bainbridge 2017

We walked out from Appleby, back along Well House Road to the footpath leading past Shepherd’s Cottage, as described in the last walk.

An interesting path too, with grand views up to the north Pennines and back across the Eden to the Shap Fells and the distant mountains of the Lake District – Blencathra looking dramatic with a snowy cap, even from this far away.

The path itself was quite a delight, running alongside a little gorge through which speeds the Murton Beck. In Murton village there are some wonderful ancient buildings. Its picturesque church – being Sunday – was full of worshippers so we couldn’t go in this time. It’s worth a visit though, for there’s a fine triple-deck pulpit.

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Pastoral Uplands (c) John Bainbridge 2017

The church stands midway between Murton and its neighbour village of Hilton, both dominated by the great hill of Murton Pike (see blogs passim).

Much of the moorland beyond is mostly out of bounds thanks to the Warcop military training ranges. In theory you can access the ranges once a week, though the walker is given little encouragement to do so.

The gate obstructing a public right of way was firmly padlocked. I do wonder if it’s unlocked even on non-firing days? The red warning flags seem to fly permanently. Last Sunday there wasn’t the slightest evidence that the ranges were even in use.

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Murton (c) John Bainbridge 2017

If the army aren’t using the ranges on a particular day couldn’t the flags be taken down so that walkers and riders might use the paths?

The Ministry of Defence wants to seize more of the north Pennines. Perhaps they should concentrate more on working with the public regarding access on the bits they already have?

We walked down to the little hamlet of Brackenber and then out on to Brackenber Moor – all CroW access land now, though you wouldn’t know it from the restrictive sign on the Brackenber gate.

Brackenber Moor, despite its golf course, remains a haunt for curlews and other moorland birds. We walked around it to Langdon Farm, a steading, the present building of which dates back to 1785, before walking back down the lane into Appleby.

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The padlocked right of way (c) John Bainbridge 2017

These fellside villages of the former county of Westmorland are well worth exploring and there are a great many public footpaths. The area is often quieter than the neighbouring Lake District. There are long miles of lonely moorland and a pastoral country and villages of quite some charm.


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The Brackenber Gate (c) John Bainbridge 2017


6 thoughts on “A Walk to Murton and Hilton

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