Akay Woods on the banks of the River Rawthey, half a mile south of Sedbergh, mark the site of a fine house built in Georgian style in the mid 1820s with extensive gardens complete with an orangery and largely rebuilt after 1900 with a main drive with ornamental trees. After the owner died in the mid 1920s the house was abandoned and left to deteriorate. Today only some low sections of garden wall, a few stone gateposts and some fragments of mosaic flooring remain in the grounds to indicate the existence of the former house, now overgrown by woodland.

The walk starts on the path between the Churchyard and the School cricket field near the War Memorial in Finkle Street. At the end of the field turn left onto the path behind the pavilion, cross a driveway and walk down the grass to the kissing gate onto Busk Lane shown in the picture above.
Cross Busk Lane and continue along the track opposite.

Approaching Busk Lane

Photo © Stuart Manger

Follow the path towards the riverside between the School playing fields.
Keep glancing behind you for views of the Howgill Fells.

Looking back towards the Howgills

Photo © Stuart Manger

Keep following the main track for about 400 yards from the road, ignoring paths that branch off into the playing fields. When the track swings to the right towards a playing field you need to go left through a metal kissing gate in the wall and follow the path over the grass in this picture.
Pause for a few moments beside this gate to take a look at the Bruce Lock nature reserve.

Beside Bruce Lock

Photo © Stuart Manger

Being hidden from view by trees from most directions the Bruce Lock nature reserve provides a secluded habitat for wildlife. It is not open to the public so we must content ourselves with watching quietly from the gate.

Bruce Lock

Photo © Mike Clarke

Continue along the path until it opens out into a field where you take the left fork and follow the path in the field by the riverside. You are now on the Dales Way Long Distance Footpath.

The river Rawthey

Photo © Stuart Manger

The building at the top of the field, which resembles a pepperpot, was built in the early 20th century for the owner’s daughter who suffered from tuberculosis and had to live in isolation there till she died aged 21. The building fell into ruin but has recently been restored by Sedbergh School, which now owns the land.

Approaching the Pepperpot

Photo © Mike Clarke

At the top of the slope there is a seat with views of the Howgill Fells to the north. Continue past the seat and through a gate into Akay Woods.

Looking north from near the Pepperpot

Photo © Stuart Manger

The woods are the grounds of the former Akay Hall which was abandoned in the mid 1920s and was finally demolished in 1939. Exploration of the woods will reveal some remains of the walled garden.

Inside Akay woods

Photo © Stuart Manger

There are glimpses of the River Rawthey in its steep sided valley below the woods.

Glimpses of the river from Akay woods

Photo © Stuart Manger

After leaving the woods and crossing a field you come out on the Dent road just above Millthrop Bridge. Cross the bridge to the point where this photo was taken for views along the river then go back over the bridge and follow the road towards Sedbergh for a short distance.

Millthrop Bridge

Photo © Mike Clarke

Walk back along the road towards Sedbergh for about 200 yards and turn right onto a path across the fields. The path slants across the hillside to cross a low ridge just to the left of the large house in this picture.

The Howgill Fells from the Millthrop road

Photo © Mike Clarke

Cross a surfaced driveway at the entrance to the school house on your right and walk down the slope to join a lane, visible towards the right of the picture, which takes you back to Sedbergh .

Sedbergh with Winder beyond

Photo © Stuart Manger