Click here to download a pdf file of the walk

Distance: 6 – 7km (3.7 – 4.4 miles) depending on the return route

Time: 2 – 3 hours

Moderate walking, mainly fairly flat, occasionally uneven, excellent views, good birdlife along the river. Can be muddy after rainfall.

Not suitable for prams, buggies or wheelchairs, but see note at the end about a flatter, drier alternative along quiet country lanes.

Click here for more information about Farfield Mill

(1)  Outward Route (see map): Start at Sedbergh Information Centre, 72 Main Street. Cross Main Street to The Folly, one of Sedbergh’s ancient yards, then cross Back Lane at the zebra crossing. Just along to the left is Vicarage Lane and a finger post points to the river ½ mile. Walk down to a kissing gate with a finger post indicating Millthrop ½ mile. Follow this route up the steep hill to another kissing gate and old lamp-post. From here you get an exceptionally good view of the town and Winder Fell behind.

(2)  Cross the drive to Winder House (one of Sedbergh School’s boarding houses) to another kissing gate and follow the path along the side of the garden wall on your left. Drop steeply downhill to a gate and follow the path leading you to another gate and a little further on, the riverside. Follow the path by the River Rawthey with Settlebeck School’s sports fields on your left.

(3)  At the end of the path you will see a picnic area by the river at New Bridge. Go up to, and across the A684 to continue along the riverside path. Be careful along this first section where there are many exposed and muddy tree roots that are easy to trip over. Once over the stile (which has a convenient dog door) you need to follow the path at the edge of each field as indicated by an occasional notice. The route is straightforward along the riverside all the way to Straight Bridge. Leave the final field up some steps and through a small gate in the wall then cross the bridge.

(4)  Immediately on your right take the narrow winding lane to Farfield Mill. Cross a beautiful old stone bridge over the River Clough, with a wonderful view of the mill, and take the rough track to your left, immediately before a row of cottages, which brings you to the mill’s entrance.

(5)  After visiting the mill you have two options for your return route

A) Take the direct return the way you came along the banks of the River Rawthey. Then at the picnic area by New Bridge either carry on by the riverside on your original route or take an alternative, quicker and level route back by going through the kissing gate to your right (Short return on the map). The path takes you around Settlebeck School’s playing field to a lane by the tennis courts. Turn left down the lane to the back of Sedbergh Primary School and the old Vicarage then back up Vicarage Lane to the town.

B) Alternatively take a longer return via Millthrop along quiet country lanes, and then through either delightful woodland or back along the opposite bank of the River Rawthey:

(6)  Return to the bridge and turn left in front of the cottages along a very narrow, traffic-free lane to the A684. Turn right down this road (take care no pavement) for about 100m to the next left turn, a narrow lane with very little traffic. Follow the lane and go left at the end.

(7)  Take the next right turn which leads you to the small village of Millthrop. You will pass the Long Rigg outdoor centre on your left which used to be an isolation hospital. When you come into Millthrop look for a footpath between two houses on your right and this will take you down to the River Rawthey.

Again you now have two options:

You can turn right along the river bank, past the weir and back to New Bridge. Go over the bridge and back down to the picnic area by the riverside. From here either retrace your original route out of Sedbergh along the riverside or follow the instructions in 5 A) for a shorter route back around the school playing fields.

Alternatively you can turn left along the river bank to Millthrop Bridge from where you can walk to Akay Wood:

(8)  Go over the bridge and on your left there is a small entrance road to the old Milthrop Mill. Immediately past this there are steps up to a small gate and then a clear path across a field which leads to a gate into Akay Wood. The small woodland is well worth exploring and was the site of Akay House which was demolished in the 1940s. You can now make a circuit of the wood starting by following the path on your left which looks down to the river from high above. Soon the main path swings around to the right up a narrow passage but instead follow the small path left, still high above the river. Soon you have a wall on your right, and further along both the wall and path turn sharp right. The woodlands here are full of snowdrops, bluebells or ramsons depending on the time of year. Follow the path until you reach a kissing gate at the far end. (Our route is not through the kissing gate but you could take a short diversion through it and then left for 100 metres to look at a very striking folly known locally as the Pepperpot.)

(9)  From the kissing gate follow the footpath sign into the wood but when you reach the narrow passage which you saw earlier, ignore the arrow pointing down and instead carry straight on ahead. The path begins to divide. Bear right keeping your eye out for a small strip of mosaic tiles, a tiny remnant of Akay House. The path descends to an area of giant redwood trees. Follow a path which swings around through the trees to the left and leads to the three huge original gateposts to the house. Follow the drive through the gate posts for only about 20 metres before heading into the cricket field which is immediately on your right.

(10)  Ahead you will see the ancient Akay Oak tree surrounded by a wooden fence, much reduced now in height but with a huge girth. This tree is roughly 650 years old. Go across the cricket field, following the line of trees on your left, to a gate which leads onto the Dent road.

(11)  Across the road you will see a narrow gap in a wall and a small gate. Squeeze through and follow the path ahead across the hillside. The path leads to a gate in a wall and then up left to the garden wall around Winder House.  Follow the path, with the wall on your right, to the kissing gate and you are back on the path which took you out of Sedbergh at the start of your walk.

Note that for a fine walk to Farfield Mill park at Millthrop Bridge, walk up the road into Millthrop and turn left along the narrow lane, then follow instructions 7 and 6 in reverse. Return the same way. This route is entirely on a hard surface and is fairly flat making it ideal for wet days or as a pushchair walk.