Dancing Gate to Old Sawmill Tearoom
2011 - The ospreys have moved out of Dodd Wood to a new nest site by the River Derwent. The route in the booklet can be used all year and the diversion described below is NOT required. I’m leaving it on the website because nobody knows where the ospreys may set up home next year!
In 2008, just after the publication of the St Bega’s Way booklet, the famous Bassenthwaite ospreys moved their nest site from the west side of the lake to Dodd Wood. Up to and including 2010 they took up residence at the Dodd Wood site each April. So that the birds will not be disturbed, certain paths which pass near the nest were closed during the breeding season, including, unfortunately, the route taken by St Bega’s Way as described in the booklet.
If you are walking during the osprey nesting season (April to September), please check the whereabouts of the birds before embarking on the final day of St Bega’s Way. See the Ospreywatch website or contact Nathan Fox at the Whinlatter Visitor Centre, telephone 017687-78469.
If the ospreys are occupying a nest in the same vicinity as in 2008, 2009 and 2010, then the paths taken by St Bega’s Way through Dodd Wood will be closed, and the diversion described below MUST be taken.
When you get to Dancing Gate farm (page 32 of the guide) please proceed as follows:
DO NOT take the turning on the right signposted Millbeck and Applethwaite but WITH GREAT CARE continue along the main road (A591) keeping to the verge on the right, which is wide at first then narrows – keep in SINGLE FILE. Pass the property called White Stones and shortly after, pass a rock face on your right opposite Long Close Farm, which is on the other side of the road. 50 yards further on the verge gives out for a few paces – WATCH OUT for TRAFFIC. After another 30 yards go up wooden steps on the right into trees. Follow the path which goes through the wood keeping parallel to the road but above it.
After a bit less than half a mile you will come down into a parking area in a small disused quarry. Take the wide track which starts from a vehicle barrier on the other side of the quarry and goes uphill. The track loops round to the right. Where it loops back to the left, ignore a track going off to the right and keep going uphill. You are passing behind Little Crosthwaite, home of the Calvert Trust which provides exciting outdoor activities for the disabled.
You soon reach the former osprey viewing point. Here you have a choice:
- If you have plenty of energy, follow the track round to the right and toil uphill for half a mile (it will seem like more) to the new osprey viewing point. It’s worth it for the far-reaching landscape views as well as the birds. When you have, with any luck, seen the ospreys, turn round and follow the directions in the St Bega’s Way guide booklet from half way through the second paragraph on page 33 where it says “– it is downhill all the way to St Bega’s from here!”
- If you are running out of steam, go ahead to the signpost ‘Mirehouse and Tearoom’ and follow the directions in the St Bega’s Way guide booklet from the top of page 34.
I hope this diversion does not spoil your enjoyment of St Bega’s Way.
N.B. When the ospreys are in Africa (October to March), the route as described in the St Bega’s Way booklet can be taken.
Rosalinde Downing 23 February 2011