Grizedale Forest, Cumbria
Find magical sculptures among the trees in this walk through hilly Lakeland forest.
Rippling across the crags between Windermere and Coniston, Grizedale is 8,000 acres of mixed forest laced with tracks and endowed with a renowned series of outdoor sculptures. Inaugurated in 1977, the sculptures dot the forest as unexpected, thought provoking, inspiring creations, made by artists “in response to the landscape”.
Some are permanent installations; others are moulded from natural materials and gradually reclaimed by the forest. There are around 80 to be found – some are obvious while others take some recognising – all part of the fun. Arm yourself with an essential Sculpture Trail Guide (£2.50 at the visitor centre) or print out a map (see Useful Info box) and walk this absorbing landscape that has Carron Crag, one of England’s best viewpoints, as its highest point. This route is my particular favourite, perhaps because there’s a real ale pub on the way.
To the tarn
Look for Grizedale Hall Lodge opposite the visitor centre and take the rough track signed for Esthwaite & Hawkshead. This rises steeply, levelling as a wide forestry road marked by green-topped posts. This is the waymark for the Silurian Way (SW) geological trail, one of eight trails in Grizedale. On reaching the Red Fox sculpture, loop right with the main track; in 200m divert right on a path to the eyecatching Some Fern sculpture wreathed upon a rocky outcrop. About 250m past the Living Space sculpture, you’ll reach a clearing and waymarked cross-track. Go left to visit Grizedale Tarn, otherwise keep ahead (SW).B
Into the vale
The wide roadway meanders past stands of broadleaf and felled firs and, as you bend right, extravagant views open out across to the Howgill Fells. You’ll shortly pass a lavender-topped post (right). Just after this, the innocuous wall winding between the trees (right) is Andy Goldsworthy’s Taking a Wall for a Walk. At the next lavender post (300m), turn right (leaving SW) on the rising path and trace the lavender trail to Satterthwaite village. Turn left to pass or stop by The Eagle’s Head Inn.
Some 200m past Satterthwaite Bridge turn right up Moor Lane bridleway. This rises beside a wall (right), unlocking views across Grizedale to fir-fringed fells and an occasional glimpse of the higher mountains. Beyond a dead tree and gate, drop across the beck and fork right at a SW post on a route that criss-crosses a winding forestry road – look for a slender waterfall off to the right. At a sharp-left junction, climb the wooden steps, left, remaining on the SW through oakwoods, soon passing beneath The Living Wood sculpture. Cross a bike track and rise to pass some sculptured walls, advancing then along a forestry road. Cross directly over a crossroad then, in 75m, go left on a steepening path (SW), which climbs to Carron Crag, just beyond the 17 degrees South sculpture.
The panorama is an extraordinary vista across the Lake District, Morecambe Bay and the Pennines. Indulge this view for a while, then continue north on the SW then turn left onto the forestry road in 300m. Follow this to a left-bend where the SW strikes off sharp-right on a gravel path, commencing a gradual descent. Merge with a wide forest road and walk ahead to the forest fringe. Here go sharp-left (SW) to return to the visitor centre.
HOW TO GET THERE
Grizedale Forest Park Visitor Centre is three miles southwest of Hawkshead. Follow the brown tourist signs from Hawkshead or from the A590 near Haverthwaite. Pay and Display parking 200m south of visitor centre.
FIND OUT MORE
For other routes, buy a Sculpture Trail Guide from the visitor centre or go to the 'Adventure' menu on the website to print off a walking trail map.
The Eagles Head
Satterthwaite LA12 8LN
Cosy pub overlooking the forest.
Satterthwaite LA12 8LS
Stott Park Bobbin Mill
Colton LA12 8AX
Absorbing working museum recalling a lost forest industry.
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