May: Staying Close To Home!

I think May be one of my favourite months, just because the weather is usually a delight and that just seems to add a spring to everyone's mood, I know it certainly does mine! There's just something about wandering, whether on a walk or doing something menial such as walking to walk, with the scent of flowers in the air and a slight heat to the breeze brushing against your cheeks!

Just on the outskirts of the village of Old Hutton there is a tiny woodland, just off one of the back roads, which was planted in honour of the millennium nineteen years ago. It is a cute little wood and the footpath takes you in a figure of eight winding between the trees and opens up into a small meadow. Each time I've been here I have barely seen a soul, and those that I did see I never crossed their path again despite the tiny size of the woodland. The view from the northern end of the pasture has the Helme centre stage, and the Lakeland Fells surrounding it from every angle possible. Despite the background, the Helme actually looks a little larger than usual from here! There is a meadow just off from woodland path which has a bench placed so you can look over the tops of the trees gathered at the bottom of the meadow across rows and rows of green farmland. From here you can either venture into a farmers field, although I have never done this as cows have always been congregating at that styles, or go down the embankment to a little viewpoint over Peasey beck as it cuts between the greenery. There is another seating area higher up which brings the Lakeland fells back into view and this one is a great windbreaker due to it being made into a four-pointed structure with seats on each side. It honestly is so cute and quaint here, the perfect place when you want to stretch your legs without walking far!

Finally, after staring at the hill on the horizon for years and years, I walked up Benson Knott! Benson Knott is a hill that stands on the outskirts of Kendal and I've been able to recognise its distinct features and tiny trig point resting on its top from majority of local hills I have climbed. Despite this, I had never been up it, and I hadn't heard of many locals going up there. I'm really glad I managed to get up here finally as I think the views alone made it worth it, as well as finally ticking off this hill off my to-do list! I looked up the route and found that the geocaching app showed several distinct footpaths leading to the top, all of which were relatively easy to park near and easily accessible! We made our way up through a cows field, the cows were intrigued by us and followed us some part of the way up. The views as we climbed higher were fantastic of both Kendal town to our right which blended into the Kent estuary and the beginning of the Lake District behind us. The path eventually veered left, and took the town out of our view as we crossed through barren moorland to the style at the opposite end of the pasture. From here we could see the steep shaping of Benson Knott's two curves and the trig point standing proud on top. After crossing another style, we began another ascent up towards our designation.

The steep climb was certainly worth it for the stunning views! The distinct valley between each mound grew wider and more distinct as we climbed, and began to forms its shape compared to the flat conception as to which I had viewed it as from other fell walks. From viewing it from lower ground all of these years I would have guessed that the trig point was on the mound closest to Kendal, but on arrival at the top it was on the one furthest away. We managed to sit by the trig and have our lunch and flask of coffee, managing to find a side which was sheltered from the strong breeze rippling between the small valley below us. Our view from here was over the Lakeland fells, with the Langdales dominant on the horizon - it always seems to be the Langdales that instantly catch my eye from any angle overlooking the district! After our lunch we had a little wander along the tops, finding the geocache and trying to work out which places we could see to the Southern side of the fell. We could work out the clumps of trees surrounding Fishers Tarn and just a glint of water coming off it, the May sunshine brought out the colours of the green pastures and orange bracken that surrounds the water, reminiscent of my visit last month!

With it being quite a busy month at work for me, it's been nice just to get out on some small walks in places I usually wouldn't visit. One quiet afternoon this month I decided to go on a little wander around the village of Bowston. I wasn't sure if the bridge between there and Staveley had been fixed yet since Storm Desmond, so I decided to stick to the footpaths near the main country lanes in the area instead. It was lovely to see specks of yellow poking out between the grass as the summer wildflowers slowly begin to nestle themselves between blades of grass. Whilst I was wandering around the countryside, I spotted some signposts directing walkers towards Potter's Fell, which I was tempted to follow until I was reminded by the absolutely brassic and sodden conditions I experienced last time I was up here! Clear skies or not, I do not trust Cumbrian weather not to repeat this experience for me!

A walk around Hincaster and/or Sedgwick are perfect walks for the early evenings this month as the sunshine is out, but not many people seem to take some of the quieter routes I know. There's so much variety in walks here though, that I shouldn't be surprised that I don't see many people about! Each village is home to parts of the disused Lancaster Canal, in Sedgwick there are several bridges in the farmers fields, and in Hincaster you can view one of the tunnels in through a hill right towards the other end! Part of the Hincaster trail is really cute with teddy bear picnics and fairy gardens etc set up from toys and ornaments throughout the path - I know I've mentioned this area before but it seems that every time you visit that there has been new stuff added all the time! At Sedgwick you've got the option of walking along the river, or going along the canal to Natland or all the way to Hincaster. The good thing about Sedgwick is that you can do a good loop to Natland via the river and canal path so that you can have a good variety of scenery on your walk; you can even pop by the old Gunpowder works along the way!

Levens Park is also a good one for this time of year, although its not somewhere I've visited yet this year! It is in between Sedgwick and Hincaster though so you can always incorporate a stop there along the way! I love going through here and spotting the Deer and the goats, sometimes you can get really close to them, but more often than not you will spot them in the water or in the shaded areas of the park away from the main footpaths. The main footpath has lots of interesting trees to keep you entertained; they really are bent or gnarled in such unusual ways that you could spend forever spotting faces or patterns in the bark! Levens Park is also good for having a brew break down by the river, there's only a couple of places where you can get down there but there is some shore that allows views up the river, and you may even spot the Deer crossing the river from here!

This month I also took a quick trip into Lancaster for a bit of variation in grabbing general bits I needed from the shop. I decided to take advantage of being here and went for a wander around the outer perimeter of the Castle. I love how there are so many sections of history being preserved in such a small area - The Castle, the church and graveyard and also a roman fort! I had never been to the Roman Fort before despite living in Lancaster for three years whilst at University, so I decided to wander down there before my train was due to arrive. There was a main footpath which linked this area to the housing estates below the hill, and the trees here have had cute love hearts and swirls carved into the bark if you look close enough! If you cut across the grass (albeit a bit soggy from the rain the night before/that morning) towards the edge of the field you can see the roman remains - the modern buildings have been built right on the edge of the fort but you can still see clear walls and fragments of infrastructure within the ground. As much as I'd have loved for it to be isolated from other stuff, it was good to see that they had preserved this slice of history when building the city anyway!

If May has been anything to go by, we should have a lovely summer! I'm excited to stay at my Grandad's again for a few nights next month, so I'm keeping everything crossed for delightful weather as I have several plans for my visit!

Hope you are all keeping well!