Yewbarrow Woods and Boretree Tarn


Rusland Pool and Border Moss Wood from Crooks Bridge.

The prospect of this day, and the one to follow, had loomed large in my thoughts ever since B’s rugby fixture list was sent out back in September, because this Sunday showed no match and no training. A day off! In the few days running up to the weekend I kept sorting through weather forecasts and maps and guidebooks; dizzy with the countless possibilities, but also concerned that the weather was expected to be universally dreadful.

As the day approached and the forecasts for persistent rain didn’t improve, I decided that I better find something which didn’t venture too high into the hills and settled on visiting a couple of places between Windermere and the Rusland Valley which I’ve had my eye on for a while.

I drove up to the Lakes in very wet and grey conditions, wondering whether to call it quits, turn tail and head home again. After I’d found a spot to pull off the road in the Rusland Valley, I realised that I’d managed to come out of the house without my OS map. Fortunately, I’d spent a long time during the week staring at this part of the map and had a pretty clear memory, I thought, of the route. When I found an information board featuring this map…


…my mind was made up: I took a photo on my phone, donned my waterproofs, girded my loins and embarked.

This is the map I should have been looking at…

screenshot 2019-01-14 at 23.03.18

…although my copy doesn’t have the green dotted line through Yew Barrow Dale and Skinner Pastures which must be a recently created right of way.

My route took me along that path to Border Moss Wood, where I did an out-and-back in order to visit Rusland Pool and Crooks Bridge. Rusland Moss, a little further up the valley, is a good place to see Red Deer and I hoped I might see some on this occasion too. As I stood on the bridge, admiring the misty views, three deer ran down to the river, swam swiftly across and quickly bounded away again.

screenshot 2019-01-14 at 22.55.25

The woods on this walk were an absolute delight, even in the rain, and I’m really looking forward to revisiting in the spring and the autumn.


I’m afraid my photo doesn’t convey how impressive this tree was: it must have fallen down a long time ago and now four of its branches have grown strong and tall like individual tree trunks in their own right.


Yewbarrow Woods.


A tiny unnamed tarn in the mist.


Boretree Tarn.

I’ve never been to Boretree Tarn before. It’s not too far from High Dam and I’m wondering whether it might be just as good for swimming when the weather and water temperature are both more clement. On this occasion, I found a comfortable spot by the edge of the tarn and tucked in to some very welcome cabbage and chorizo soup. There were a couple of swans and a few ducks to keep me company, but otherwise it was a quiet and tranquil spot.


The view, such as it was, from Rusland Heights.


Approaching Hall Brow Wood.


Skowbarrow Beck.


In Hall Brow Wood.

It was a relatively short walk, about six and a half miles, and by the time I got back to the car I was drenched, but I’d enjoyed my self none-the-less. I shall think of the trip as reconnaissance for future visits in better weather.

Towards the end of the walk the cloud had been lifting a little and beginning to show signs of breaking up. Just as I started the engine to set-off home, literally as I turned the key in the ignition, the windscreen was suddenly suffused with lovely golden light from the low winter sun, and I wondered if the weather was going to play a dirty trick by improving now that I’d finished walking, but I needn’t have worried: the sunshine was extremely short-lived and it was soon raining again.

I’d managed a good walk, despite the weather, and still had another iron-in-the-fire….

Yewbarrow Woods and Boretree Tarn

13 thoughts on “Yewbarrow Woods and Boretree Tarn

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      The weather was a bit grim, but I was glad to have got out and especially pleased to have found a walk which I think has lots of potential in other seasons.

  1. Didn’t we have an idea for a walk through this area taking in a few pubs for one of pub crawl walk affairs. Or does look perfect for an easy stroll, especially in spring when the flowers are blooming. I think this must have been the weekend when we were at The Hard Mans. Weather wasn’t much better there!

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Yes, it was that weekend. The forecast seemed to suggest that I’d got a better chance with the weather here, but it didn’t really turn out that way. We did talk about a pub crawl in this area – I think there’s definitely some potential.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Quite. It’d wouldn’t be so green without all of the wet. There’s a couple of lines from Louis MacNeice, who was writing about Ireland:
      “In doggerel and stout let me honour this country
      Though the air is so soft that it smudges the words”
      Which I often recall when the weather is wet (it usually is).

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      There’s real poetry in our maps, the names are so evocative. I also suspect that if you were presented with a list of say a dozen adjacent villages you could probably have a pretty fair stab at whereabouts in the country they were from. Hmmmm…..I think there’s a quiz round in that!

  2. As they say – no such thing as bad weather, just wrong clothing. Not sure I agree completely but it’s still good to get outside even when it’s wet

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      No, I’m with you – I’d rather it didn’t rain, but sometimes a walk in the rain is still better than no walk at all.

      1. I think I shall have to start going out in the rain if I’m to have any chance of hitting the 1000 mile challenge target. I’m well behind schedule at the moment 😬

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