Sedbergh & the Howgills from Holme Fell

Sitting in the Western Dales, the Howgill Fells are a group of distinctive rounded grassy hills, sat squarely between the looming bulk of the Lake District fells to the west and the spine of Britain, the Pennines, to the east, a stunning but isolated landscape that’s well and truly off the beaten track and waiting to be explored.

Acclaimed walking writer Alfred Wainwright famously likened these steep, rounded fells to a herd of sleeping elephants… but in reality, these slumbering giants are home to a wild herd of native breed fells ponies, a piece of sculptural art in the form of a stone obelisk and sheepfold enclosure by Andy Goldsworthy.

There are several spectacular waterfalls; including Black Force where Little Ulgill Beck tumbles down a dramatic ravine and there’s England’s largest waterfall above ground, Cautley Spout, as well as a mysterious prehistoric stone figure known as the Black Horse of Bush Howe, and the looming bulk of The Calf, rising some 2218ft, dominating the local skyline and affording you a 20 mile view on a clear day…

Winder from Arant Haw

Often overlooked, the Howgill Fells are without doubt one of the most idyllic walking areas in England. Despite the lack of crags, this is great walking country and you can wander for hours in the knowledge you are unlikely to meet more than a handful of other people.

But there are other hills as well – Baugh Fell and Wild Boar Fell to the east, Middleton Fell (with its high point at England’s newest mountain Calf Top) to the south, and High Crag & Great Coum above the village of Dent. All are equally beautiful and equally quiet.

River Rawthey

For those wanting to explore lowland routes there are some notable ones to explore; including a short circular walk alongside the Rawthey taking in the historic Quaker meeting house, at Brigflatts built in 1675, or another circle on the lower reaches of the Howgill Fells taking in the Norman Motte and Bailey castle of Castlehaw and the Tudor farmhouse at Stone Hall. Or perhaps you might like to wander through dappled woodland glades alongside the gently meandering River Dee taking in another gorgeous circular walk visiting the 17th century Abbot Holme Bridge, Brackensgill Bridge and 17th century Gate Manor and Frostrow Fell before returning to Sedbergh.