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Portinscale & Thornthwaite Walk, Cumbria

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Walk Details
This is a low level walk without serious ascent, linking three attractive villages to the west of Keswick.

Between Portinscale and Thornthwaite the route crosses the low- lying alluvial land between Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite Lake, under water before those lakes became separated in fairly recent (geological) times.

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The paths are not always well defined and can be muddy in places in wet weather. The return from Thornthwaite is on very good tracks, part way up the hillside. Refreshments: Hotels/Inns at Braithwaite and Portinscale. Tea shops at Portinscale and the Gallery, Thornwaite.

From Braithwaite Court turn right. At the road junction in a little more than 100 yards turn right, pass the Royal Oak, then turn left at once to pass Gibson Court. Turn left at the road junction before the bridge – Keswick 2 1⁄2 sign.

In 50 yards turn right at a ‘public footpath’ sign to walk along the raised bank of the Coledale Beck, passing behind a large camping/caravan site.

Leave the site over a stile to continue past a ford then turn right, over a footbridge, to cross the beck. Carry on along the other side of the beck to reach Little Braithwaite Farm. Follow the signs up to a little gate and through the farm.

Join a surfaced lane, descending to the left. Cross a (weak!) bridge over the beck. The splendid views to the right are up the Vale of Newlands. Turn left at a road junction to follow ‘Ullock 1⁄4’. Pass the large farmstead of Ullock.

In 20 yards turn left through a gate with a ‘public footpath’ sign, descent a few steps, go through another gate in 40 yards and take the well de ned path towards Portinscale. Cross a ditch on a bridge, go through a gate, and rise along a fenced and hedged path into Portinscale. At a surfaced road turn left for 20 yards, then turn right, through a gate, along a path which soon becomes a residential road, going straight ahead to join the village street.

Turn right, to descend to the village centre. At the road junction turn left ‘public footpath – Keswick’ The tea rooms and the shop are to the right. Pass the Derwentwater Hotel, heading for the  ne suspension footbridge across the River Derwent. Do not cross the bridge. Turn left 30 yards before the bridge, through a little gate, to follow a footpath close to the river bank, over two stiles, to reach the Keswick road, close to a substantial bridge over the river. Go over a stile and up the side of the bank to another stile. Cross the road to another stile, go down a few steps and over a stile to resume along the river bank, soon passing under the A66 road bridge. Continue to the dismantled railway bridge.

20 yards after the bridge go left, over a stile and rise diagonally across a meadow, aiming just to the left of the prominent house. Go over a signposted stile at the top, cross the access lane, go over another signposted stile and descend across the next meadow, bearing left to a gate/stile about 50 yards from the left corner. Cross a bridge, then bear right at once to stay beside the stream for some distance. The banks have an array of wild  flowers. At a waymarked post, turn left to cross a stone slab bridge and a rush grown meadow. There are more stiles, bridges and white topped posts before a farm access track is reached. The mountain views include Barf, with its famous ‘Bishop’ rock. Bear right to follow the access track towards Bog House.

Just before Bog House, turn left to cross a main watercourse on a gated footbridge. Turn right at once – ‘Thornthwaite’ signpost. Follow a path possibly a little overgrown, along the top of the raised bank, over two stiles, for almost 1⁄2 mile. At a waymarked post, go left, down the bank and over a stile. The faint path bears half right to a waymarked post then a gate/stile. Continue under a few trees, with a fence on the right, to a plank bridge. Bear left by the side of a stream for 150 yards to a gated footbridge. Cross the stream, turn left to pass a waymarked post and reach a junction in a further 70 yards. Turn right, bear left in 50 yards across a rush-grown  field, go over a waymarked stile on the left, then diagonally across a meadow to a gate/stile beside a ‘P’ highway sign and join A66.

Cross the road, turn right, soon ascending the roadside bank on a little path. Turn left over a waymarked stile. At a gate in 60 yards, turn right, towards the church. After another gate/stile, cross Chapel Beck. Walk along the church access road, cross a minor road and rise to the right, follow the ‘Gallery’ sign to the left.

Pass the gallery car park and bear left, uphill, along a surfaced road. At a fork in 150 yards go left, the road loses its hard surface between the noisily rushing back is crossed, continuing along the bottom edge of woodland, sufficiently elevated to give  ne views to Skiddaw across the Vale of Keswick. Pass the back of a large property, soon reaching a junction. Go straight across to a kissing gate with a ‘public footpath’ signpost. The path is now narrower but is never in doubt as it passes through several gates, over plank bridges and through pine forest behind the little hill, Braithwaite How. Pass Hope Memorial Camp before joining the public road through a gate. Turn left to descend to Braithwaite village, keeping left to return to HPB Braithwaite Court. 

trainNearest Train (or tube) Station(s):
Penrith, Carlisle

Read the Countryside Code before venturing out
Make sure to take a map and compass, and know how to use them before going into our National Parks #BeAdventureSmart

Tips for New Walkers: click here to download (PDF).

Remember to prepare properly before heading out on any type of walk or outdoor activity. Tell people where you are going and what time you are expected back. As Wainwright says "There's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing".