All persons visiting this 'hospice' by permission of the owner, are requested to respect private property, and not by acts of wanton mischief and destruction show that they possess more muscle than brain. I have no hope that this request will be attended to, for as Solomon says 'Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him'.
So reads one of the panels inside the peculiar Hospice of Hampsfell at the high point of this walk. Its tone matches that of Grange-over-Sands, with its neat and tidy white limestone buildings, colourful gardens, sunny aspect and seaside disposition. It has long been a popular seaside resort, particularly since the arrival of the Furness Railway in the town in 1857. Day-trippers would also arrive by steamer via the waters of Morecambe Bay. They disembarked at the Claire House Pier, which was dramatically blown away by a storm in 1928.Today the sea is somewhat distanced from the sea wall and the town, despite past popularity, has fallen from grace with many holiday-makers. Nonetheless, it retains a refined air of quiet dignity. Grange has many fine and interesting buildings, and its ornamental gardens, complete with ponds, provide a gentle prelude to the walk. The route then rises to the open, airy spaces of Hampsfell via the charming mixed woods of Eggerslack, which add yet another dimension to this pleasant area.
The Hospice of Hampsfell
Built of dressed limestone blocks, the neat square tower which adorns the top of Hampsfell is known as the Hospice of Hampsfell. It was apparently built by a minister from nearby Cartmel Priory over a century ago for 'the shelter and entertainment of travellers over the fell'. Enclosed by a fence of chains supported by small stone pillars to keep cattle out, and with an entrance door and three windows, it provides a convenient shelter should the weather take a turn for the worse. On its north face, stone steps guarded by an iron handrail provide access to the top of the tower, and a splendid view. On the top, a novel direction indicator – consisting of a wooden sighting arrow mounted on a rotating circular table – lets you know which distant point of interest you are looking at. Simply align the arrow to the chosen subject, read the angle created by the arrow and locate it on the list on the east rail.
From the exit end of the car park enter the Ornamental Gardens. Take the right-hand path for better views (or go left if you wish to use the toilets). Exit to a roundabout and go up Windermere Road. After a slight left bend, find steps up to a squeeze stile on the left, signed 'Routon Well/Hampsfield'.
Take the path rising through Eggerslack Wood. Cross directly over a surfaced track and continue to pass a house on the left. Steps lead on to a second track. Cross this diagonally to follow a track, signed 'Hampsfell'. The track zigzags left then right. Keep straight on at a path junction to a stile in a wall.
Cross the stile to leave the wood and follow the path directly up the hillside, soon bearing slightly left. Pass sections of limestone pavement and little craggy outcrops, then cross a stile over a stone wall. Turn right along the wall and at the corner bear slightly right, following a grassy track, to pass ancient stone cairns and up to the obvious square tower of the Hospice of Hampsfell.
Turn left at the tower and follow the path over the edge of a little limestone escarpment (take care here). Continue over another escarpment and gently down to a stile. Keep straight ahead, through a dip and up the green hill beyond. Cross over the top and descend to a gate and stile in a wall. Although the path bears left here it is usual to continue directly to the prominent cairn on Fell End, with fine views over Morecambe Bay. Turn sharp left to rejoin the main path, which skirts to the left of a little tree-filled valley and descends to a gate on to a road by stock pens.
Cross the road to a small gate and descend diagonally left across the field to a gate on to a surfaced track (by the front door of Springbank Cottage). Descend the track to enter a farmyard and bear right to a stone stile. Go over the hill, following the path alongside the wall and cross a stile into a narrow ginnel. With a high wall to the right, follow this down and round the corner and descend to a junction of roads. Go left on a private road/public footpath, and then bear right on a stony track. At the next junction turn right to descend the road and at the following junction go left down Charney Well Lane. Where the road bends right, go straight ahead on a smaller road, descending steeply below the woods of Eden Mount. When you reach a T-junction near the bottom of the hill, turn right. At the junction with a larger road, go left (toilets opposite) and pass the church before descending past the clock tower to a junction with the main road (B5277). Go left and then right to the car park.
Paths and tracks, exposed limestone (slippery when wet), 4 stiles
Town, woods and open fell, extensive seascapes
Busy lanes and open fell grazed by sheep
OS Explorer OL7 The English Lakes (SE)
Car park below road and tourist office in central Grange
At Ornamental Gardens, north end of car park
Walking in safety
Read our tips to look after yourself and the environment when following this walk.
Also in the area
About the area
Cumbria's rugged yet beautiful landscape is best known for the Lake District National Park that sits within its boundaries. It’s famous for Lake Windermere, England’s largest lake, and Derwent Water, ‘Queen of the English Lakes'. This beautiful countryside once inspired William Wordsworth and his home, Dove Cottage, in Grasmere is a popular museum. Another place of literary pilgrimage is Hill Top, home of Beatrix Potter, located near Windermere. Tom Kitten, Samuel Whiskers and Jemima Puddleduck were all created here.
Much of Cumbria is often overlooked in favour of the Lake Distirct. In the south, the Lune Valley remains as lovely as it was when Turner painted it. The coast is also a secret gem. With its wide cobbled streets, spacious green and views of the Solway Firth, Silloth is a fine Victorian seaside resort. Other towns along this coastline include Whitehaven, Workington and Maryport. Carlisle is well worth a look – once a Roman camp, its red-brick cathedral dates back to the early 12th century and its 11th-century castle was built by William Rufus.