24th February 2012

Four Stones Hill and Haweswater


Walk Overview
Time 09.45 to 15 34
Duration 6 hr
Distance 11.6 mile
Ascent 1800 ft
Walking with Jennifer
Burnbanks - Little Birkhouse Hill - Four Stones Hill - Measand Beck - Haweswater lakeside path - Bowderthwaite Bridge - Mardale Head - Road from Mardale Head to Burnbanks
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Parking spaces, Burnbanks, Haweswater

There aren't many spaces here I'm afraid and parking is not allowed any further into the village. The good news (or bad news depending n your point of view) is that once these spaces are taken, there is room to park along the road outside the village.


Route Map

Today we headed across to Burnbanks for a walk up Four Stones Hill and around Haweswater. The forecast was for a wet start to the day which would soon give way to plenty of sunshine. They were spot on with their predictions and as a result, we have a most enjoyable day in a part of the Lake District that never fails to please.

A close up of a house found just along the road from Burnbanks. The interesting thing is, this house was originally Measand School and was in fact located in Mardale, just north of the point at which Whelter Beck entered the old lake. Prior to the flooding of the valley in the 1920s / 30s the school was dismantled and rebuilt where we see it today. This was funded privately.


A close up of Haweswater Dam.
The water you see pouring into the reservoir on the opposite side is not a natural inflow, this has actually been diverted from Swindale Beck and Naddle Beck as an additional means of keeping the water levels up. This was opened (if that's the right word to use) on 5th October 1957 by the chairman of the waterworks committee, (wait for this) , , , , Alderman William Onions.
I suspect close friends got to call him Bill Onion, although I can't help but wonder what his nick name was at school.

Seclusion, fantastic.

Just below Four Stones Hill summit you find this ancient cairn and the small tarn.

Just below the summit again, only this time at the opposite end of the tarn where the TWO stones of Four Stones Hill are found.

Footbridge over Measand Beck.

The Forces Waterfalls. Not to be confused with Forces Falls in Swindale.

There are some lovely waterfalls here, but they're not the easiest to photograph. Lots of trees, big rocks and far too slippery to get too close.

A view back down Haweswater.


Looking towards the southern end of Haweswater with Selside Pike and Branstree on the Skyline.
The big bay on the right hand side of the photo is the area where most of the village of Mardale used to be, including the church, vicarage, Flake How Farm and Chapel Farm. Behind and to the right of the island were two more farms; Goosemire and Grove Brae. Just out of site behind the large area of trees was the Dun Bull Inn.

Down by the waters edge now.

While Jennifer made a start on the food, I had a look around these ruins. Admittedly there's not a lot to see these days, but it does remind me of what I've been cheated out of seeing.

Roof slates.



There's Jennifer sitting next to the wall. When I got there I was greeted by "where've ya bin? A thawt y'd just gone behin't wall for a pee n' then ya nivver cum back"
"Mmmmm, it's nice to see you were worried enough to come and look for me"

By the way; the dark pointed bit on the skyline is Kidsty Pike.


Looking back along the path to Kidsty Pike and into Riggindale.



Crossing the bridge over Mardale Beck.

This 'buggy' is more like something you'd expect to see on the moon instead of in the Lake District. When I took this picture I had no idea what was in the back of it. Then, as we were walking along the road later on, a van and trailer passed us loaded up with the buggy and lots of dead deer. I'm not squeamish, I'm not vegetarian and I'm not one to shout up and say animals have the same rights as us, but this really wasn't nice to see.


A view across Haweswater. The water helps to show how windy it was as we were walking across here.

I assume most people think the water leaves the reservoir from somewhere near the dam. Not so I'm afraid, this is the draw-off tower where the water begins its journey south. From the tower an aqueduct travels some 1660 feet below Branstree to Longsleddale. In 1934 this was temporarily connected to the Thirlmere Aqueduct at Garnett Bridge. This was done to allow the water from Haweswater to be taken before the whole length of its own aqueduct was actually finished. The second world war caused a delay in it's completion and work didn't begin again until 1948.

The windows and most of the stone in the tower came from Mardale Church, which by the time of building the tower, had already been demolished.

The dam.

and again.

Back in Burnbanks after a lovely walk in a most interesting part of the Lake District.

You can probably tell I have a fascination for this place, its history, its people and the sad events in the 1920's that changed the area for ever. I have an ever expanding collection of original 18th, 19th and early 20th century Lake District books, and the first thing I do when I buy one is look to see if they have any information about Mardale. I also have some books that are specific to Mardale, including a 1928 edition of a book by Isaac Hinchliffe "A Backwater in Lakeland", which is a fascinating account of his many holidays in the area prior to the flooding of the valley. Near the beginning of the book he says "It is over twenty-six years since I first found my way there and I was so charmed and delighted, not only with the beauty, restfulness and grandeur of the scenery but also with its interesting associations and the quaintness and homely good nature of its inhabitants, that has ever since drawn me as a loadstone"
In 1842 Jonathan Otley tells us in his "A Descriptive Guide to the English Lakes, and adjacent Mountains" "The houses, with the exception of Mr Boustead's at Measand-beck, and Mr Holmes' at Chapel Hill, are mostly walled without mortar; and the deciduous trees associate well with the rest of the scenery. Lying beyond the usual circuit of the lakes, and at a distance from the great roads and places of entertainment, Hawes Water is often omitted. But tourists, who can contrive to visit it without hurry or fatigue, will find it a sweet retired spot".

David Hall -
Lake District Walks