Tess Pike’s Blue Badge Guide Walks: Casterton Stone Circle and Brownthwaite Pike

You don’t need to wait for snow to arrive to go in search of the stone circle marked on the plaque at Ruskin’s view, but a dusting of snow or a setting sun will help you to spot the circular platform and the stones peeping out of the ground. 

The circle dates back to the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age, so was built sometime between 2,000 and 600BC, when the climate was warmer and people lived higher up on the fellsides.  The stones may be tiny, but the half-mile walk up the stony track is worth it, if only for the spectacular views across the Lune Valley, which are best appreciated from the top of Brownthwaite Pike. 

The return walk from Kirkby Lonsdale along footpaths and minor roads is about 13 km (8 miles).

  1. From the Tourist Information Centre, go diagonally across the square, and then walk to the end of Jingling Lane, where you should turn right onto the footpath leading down to Devil’s Bridge.
  2. Turn left at the end of the footpath and cross over Devil’s Bridge. Cross the A683 Sedbergh Road, then continue straight through the car parking area on the other side until you see a steep track at the road corner. Go up this rough track, which takes you around the edge of a caravan site. 
  1. When you reach the main entrance turn left onto the footpath (signpost A). At the junction with a bench, turn right (turning left will take you to Casterton Golf Club and the A683).  The track turns into a road, at the end of which you should turn left. You are now in High Casterton.
  1. Walk along the road past the houses until you come to a crossroads, where you should turn right. Go diagonally across the old Roman Road that linked forts at Low Borrowbridge near Tebay and Over Burrow, south of Kirkby Lonsdale.  You are now on the road to Bullpot. 
  1. Walk past Brownthwaite Hardy Plants nursery and Fell Yeat Farm. The road goes fairly steeply uphill.  Ignore the first footpath on the left (signpost B), and after 1.5km (just under a mile) you will see a very rough track on the left-hand side.  Walk up the track and look for the stone circle in the northwest corner of the fifth field on the left.

The stone circle is in a privately-owned field, and there’s absolutely no need to get any closer because the best views are from the track!

If you prefer to drive: 

  1. Go east along the A65 and after passing the Whoop Hall Hotel on the right, take the first road to the left.  (This is the Roman road mentioned above in the walking instructions). 
  2. After 2km (1.25 miles), turn right onto the lane that leads to Bullpot, then drive 1.5km (just under a mile) uphill until you come to a footpath on the left-hand side with space for two cars to pull off the road.  
  3. Walk up the track and look for the stone circle in the northwest corner of the fifth field on the left.

Once you’ve got your imagination working as to how early man might have used the circle, carry on walking, going through a gate to continue along the track to the foot of Brownthwaite.  If you don’t fancy going up the steep hill in front of you, carry on walking along the track, bearing left, and there is a gentler ascent from the other side.  The views from the top are amazing!

by Tess Pike

Photos captured by Tess Pike