Cumbrian Cistercian Way
21st-26th June 2021
The Cumbrian Cistercian Way is a medium distance footpath joining several historical sites in South Lakeland. Many of the footpaths and highways and routes it follows are extremely ancient in origin and several were frequented, if not established, by the Cistercian monks of Cartmel, Conishead and Furness , hence the name of the walk.
In retracing the medieval footsteps of those monks we too will walk through some of this landscape of great beauty and considerable interest. This area is also known for its early origins of the Quaker movement and is associated with George Fox in particular. We shall explore this in more detail while we are walking the Way.
We shall explore the area further afield from our base visiting some other well known landmarks of the Lake District.
Walks and Excursions
During our time in the Southern Lakeland we shall walk from Grange over the Fell towards Hampsfield Fell Hospice This well built structure with a flat roof viewpoint enjoys extensive views of the Lakes, Yorkshire Dales and seaward Lancashire as well as extensive views of Morecambe Bay 'all on a clear day'.The Hospice was built in the 19c by a pastor of nearby Cartmel 'for the shelter and entertainment of travellers over the fell'.
Onward to Cartmel with its famous Priory which we shall visit as well as the village. The Priory was built in 1188 and all except the outstanding Church itself and the Gatehouse in the village was destroyed at the Dissolution, in 1537. We shall make a visit to 16c Holker Hall which was the former home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Located here is the Lakeland Motor Museum and a Craft and Country Museum.
We shall visit Flookburgh, where the Fisherfolk of the Bay catch flukes, cockles and shrimps at various seasons from the sands of Morecambe Bay. At one time these folk took their nets out onto the sands with horse drawn carts; now the remaining few take the carts hauled by a tractor.
We shall visit the town of Ulverston and visit the Canal which was an important sea port until the railway came in the mid 19c, also a major shipbuilding town until 1878. From here we shall walk to Swarthmoor Hall. Set in beautiful grounds it is a fine building, the house has been restored as nearly as possible to capture the atmosphere of Quaker George Fox with whom it is better associated. Today the house is known worldwide as a Quaker Retreat House. Just a short distance away is the Swarthmnoor Meeting House which was built in 1688 and is one of the oldest known meeting houses where worship still takes place every Sunday.
Visiting Dalton en-route to Furness Abbey, we shall visit its Tudor Square and 14c Pele tower which was originally constructed in 1330-1336 to provide a place of refuge for the monks of Furness against Scottish raiders. Dalton bacame the first market town in the area when the monks began holding fairs and markets.
Onward to Furness Abbey established by King Stephen in 1127, a remote site and to reach the Abbey travellers had to cross the tidal sands of Morecambe Bay, so the Abbey provided salaried guides to guide travellers. However, the district of Furness had all of the natural resources that the monks could wish for the iron industry, along with the wool trade, proved to be the Abbey's economic success. This area today boasts Britain's iron industry at nearby Barrow. The suppression of the Abbey came in the dissolution in 1537.
William Wordsworth visited the abbey whilst a pupil at Hawkshead Grammer School and wrote two poems entitled 'Furness Abbey' and one of his Ecclesiastical Sonnets entitled 'Cistercian Monastery'
On another day we shall visit one of the Lakes for a Cruise and a visit to one of the areas great houses and gardens, as well as time to enjoy our surroundings in Grange, with its mile long Promenade. If possible a crossing of Morecambe Sands could be arranged (guide permitting) for those who would like to do this. Of course depending on tides and weather conditions.
Our walks will be no more than seven miles in length with some steep inclines and depending on weather conditions may be wet under foot. Moderate to easy. Some of the historic sites will be rough/stony underfoot
We shall be using public transport with a good local train service on the 'Furness Line' and a good local bus service to enable us to walk one way and return by train/bus. One day we will have a minibus and driver to explore a little further towards the Lakes.
We shall be staying for five nights at the Thornleigh Christian Hotel on the Esplanade in Grange over Sands. All single rooms are en-suite with breakfast and evening meal and packed lunches are included. Special diets are also catered for. The hotel features lovely views of the Bay, has lounges and quiet areas to relax in after a busy day and free WiFi. We shall have use of a room/chapel for our daily meetings. The Hotel is a ten minute walk from Grange Railway Station and very close to its mile long traffic free Promenade for that evening stroll.
Direct Rail to Grange Over Sands Station on the Furness Line. If travelling from the South or North of the UK the main interchange station is Lancaster, and there are also some direct trains from Manchester. If coming by car the Hotel has free car parking for guests. The M6 Motorway and the A590 will bring you to Grange.