Highwayman Hikes: Leck Circular

A walk full of paths, a trail along Leck Beck and a walk around the beautiful village of Leck. This walk is great because it is really adaptable in length. I did the full 8 miles but you can shorten the route and start at Cowan Bridge or St Peters in Leck. There is a slight incline but well worth it for the beautiful views half way up Leck Fell. On a clear day you can see for miles including a breath-taking view of The Lakes.

Length: 8.1 miles (full circuit) or 4.1 miles (medium circuit or 3.2 miles (short circuit)

Difficulty: Easy-Medium (depending on distance)

Time: 1 hour 45 mins – 3 hours 30mins 

Starting point: The Highwayman (full circuit), Cowan Bridge (medium circuit), St Peter’s Church (short circuit)


Highwayman car park (free)

Cowan Bridge – car park behind the Tea Rooms (small fee)

St Peters Church car park (small fee)

  1. Leave the car park and cross the road taking a right and walk through the village past the cottages and Mill Farm ( this is where the cows live who produce the milk for everyone’s favourite ice cream from The Milking Parlour) up to Burrow Bridge.
  2. Cross over the road once near the bridge. Below the bridge you will see the beautiful Leck Beck running through it. Here you will find a stile and a footpath sign to climb over. Pop over the stile and down the steps then over the next stile into the field ahead.

You can use the gates if you wish and have dogs instead of the stile but please make sure they are closed due to the sheep.

  1. Go straight across the field past the trees until the field starts to open out, then you will bear slightly right towards the farm buildings. It is a grey concrete farm building with a ‘Please Shut The Gate’ on the wall. In winter months you should see some of the cows that help make the lovely ice cream!
  1. Go through the farm buildings and follow them right round until you reach the gate (you should go past hay bales on your left, containers of logs on the right) then enter the next field. There is a footpath sign on the gate.

These are working farms, the farmers are more than happy for you to walk through and it is a public footpath just keep an eye out if they are working in the grounds.

  1. Go straight across the fields, pass the drinking troughs towards the big tree. At the top of the field in the right hand corner there is a gate that joins directly to the road. Go through here and remember to shut the gate.
  2. Take a slight left and follow the road straight ahead to the hamlet of Overtown. The road will eventually bend to the right but go straight ahead off the road where you will see an information board on your right. Here you will take a left pass the cottages. Don’t worry about the Private Road Signs this path is a right of way.


  1. Past the cottages you will see a ‘Private No Turning sign’ don’t worry it is a right of way – go past here to the wooden gate (in the picture this is behind the Land Rover ) and over the footbridge to the other side of Leck Beck.
  1. After the Bridge take a right and follow the tarmac path until you reach the track that continues following Leck Beck. Continue up here until you reach Cowan Bridge.
  2. Once you leave the footpath, to the left you will see a row of cottages formed from an old Clergy School a fascinating little bit of history for our local area as the Bronte sisters all went here for a period.

Here is what was the ‘Clergy Daughters School ‘ at Cowan Bridge . Not a happy time for the Bronte girls as the poor conditions in the school would ultimately be largely blamed for the death of Maria and Elizabeth . However, it is what Charlotte based Lowood School in Jane Eyre on.

  1. Now in Cowan Bridge you are going to cross over the road where you will see a stone style and a footpath sign just before the new build houses. Go over here and follow the path through the gate and under the bridge.
  1. Keep following this path for just over ¼ of a mile until it turns you on to a path heading towards the houses on Low Lane. Follow the path and through the hole in the wall where you will join the road.
  1. Once through the hole in the wall take a right and follow the road right around until you meet the cross roads.
  1. Turn left at the cross roads and head up towards the centre of Leck passing the Old Vicarage on your right. Keep going a little further up and the road will split. Just before the road splits you will see a sign pointing right for Ireby, turn right and head towards St Peters Church.

St Peters Church, Leck

 The first church was built on site in 1610 as small single storey building. It was extended and a small tower was added in 1825. The present church was built in 18-78 – 79 and designed by Lancaster architects Paley and Austin. In October 1913 the Church was damaged by a fire and was rebuilt accurately to the original Paley and Austin design costing £5000.

.If you have done the full route from The Highwayman you will remember the poor conditions of the school at Cowan Bridge resulted in the death of Maria and Elizabeth Bronte. They died from Tuberculosis and unfortunately were not the only girls to of suffered at The Clergy Daughters School. St Peters is actually contains the ‘fever graves’ from the girls who died at the school. Which is referenced in Jane Eyre when Helen dies at Lowood from Tuberculosis.

  1. Continue on your walk past the church , on you left you will pass the driveway to Leck Hall (The owner of the estate is Baron Charles Kay-Shuttleworth). Keep going on this road for a ¾ of a mile. You will see a few footpath signs but stay on the road until you reach Todgill Farm.
  1. Go past the farm following the road round with the farm buildings on your right. Just past the farm the road will turn and continue right but you will see a track on the left hand side.
  1. You are now going to follow this track right around the estate of Leck Hall, it is a lovely track with a slight incline but it is very pleasant and absolutely worth it for the views at the end of the track.
  1. The track lasts for around 1.2 miles and joins back onto a road. On a clear day you will get views as far as the eye can see , over Morecombe, Lancaster and The Lake District. Here you are going to take left and head down hill. Follow the road all the way down, staying on the road past the farm. Eventually you will meet the sign post that was at Step 12. Those parked at the church turn left and those heading back to Cowan Bridge or The Highwayman go straight ahead.
  1. Stay on the road, you will pass the Old Vicarage again on your left. You are going to keep on this road right up to Cowan Bridge. Go underneath the bridge and you will see the car park on your right. For those continuing on to The Highwayman at the end of the road turn right in front of Cowan Bridge Tea Rooms. Over the road opposite the Tea Rooms you will see a bus shelter. Cross over the road and behind the bus shelter you will see gap in-between the fence and the wall, go through here.
  1. Once you are in the field head straight and through four fields, it is a pretty straight path and the gates are easy to see. 
  2. Eventually you will around the back of Overtown Cottage. To the right you will see a style and a gate. Go through here, once in the drive way turn right and back to the information board at Overtown.
  1. With the information board on your left and Burrow Cottage now behind you head straight on to Woodman Lane (the road you walked up originally when heading into Overtown at the beginning of the walk. Stay on this road for around 1.3 miles until you return back to Nether Burrow. At the end of the road The Highwayman is on your left.
  1. Now you can pick up your Click & Collect from The Highwayman and eat a well deserved meal!


Click & Collect

Click & Collect orders are available from the Highwayman every weekend:

Friday 5-8pm
Saturday 4-8pm
Sunday 12-7pm

Order online here or call 015242 73338

by Aimee Sharples