This is a gorgeous short wander to the highest point on the Furness peninsular. Packed with a historical interest and great views it's a brilliant way to taste a neglected area of Cumbria.
4.0 miles (6.5 km)
Walking time:
01h 30m

Start location

Bardsea, Cumbria LA12 9QU SD303743

lat: 54.1599442

lon: -3.0690187




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Getting there

To drive; the start point lies just off the Coast Road, A5087.

By public transport, you can get the no.11 bus from Ulverston - Barrow in Furness. Get off at The Braddylls Arms stop and walk down the hill to the start point.



From the car park, head along the path which runs across the top of the beach to the south-west. It'll run between the marsh/beach and higher ground, and between Sea Wood and the beach with some impressive rock escarpments.After a mile, turn right up a steep cutting towards a bench with a Woodland Trust Plaque on it (if the woodland stops on your right you've gone too far. Climb up towards the road and turn left to walk along it for around 150 yards until you reach a lay-by. Turn right here to enter the main body of Sea Wood through a gate. [A] The start of this walk looks over Ulverston Sands and out to Morecambe Bay. The bay is the UK's largest expanse of inter tidal mudflats and sand, covering over 120 square miles. It's a vital wildlife site with abundant birdlife and is also famous for it's rich cockle beds which have been fished for generations.Morecambe Bay was a significant enough feature to be noted by Ptolemy, the name meaning 'crooked sea.' The bay is crossable on foot and for a period this was a major transport route to Furness, the mountains to the north making a less direct unviable. Crossings are led by the King's Guide to the Sands - a royally appointed post which is responsible for supporting those crossing. Crossing the sands is now a popular charity fundraiser, done roughly once a fortnight when conditions allow with the guide leading groups of up to 600 people. This section of the walk is beautiful - but it can be very muddy and boggy, with the wet rocks not providing the most grip.


Once in Sea Wood walk up the path. It will fork, while all these paths head to the same place, this route takes the centre-left fork. Climb over the rise and ignore the paths forking off either side, taking the central route each time to head through the heart of the wood. Eventually you'll reach the end of the wood and a small lane.Cross the lane and follow the main path ahead of you which will bear around to the left (some old mining works to your right). Follow it round to the stone circle. [B] Renowned as one of the UK's best bluebell and snowdrop woods, Sea Woods was once the source of oak timbers used by the ship builders of Ulverston and, for a brief period, belonged to Lady Jean Grey. It is now a fantastic, atmospheric place to wander amid beautiful trees. There are a few paths here which lead directly into the wood and avoid the short road section. We wouldn't advise these as they involve jumping the fence.


You're now on open access land and have a wide choice of slightly confusing routes; provided you head generally west and climb up the hill you'll get to the same place as this route; the Trig point at the top of the Common. This route crossed the trench to the west of the stone circle and takes the central path which will climb up the hill, ignoring the ones running across it. It'll fork at the top of the hill, continue left, keeping the road to your left. This will lead to another rise - climb this walk up to the trig point. [C] Birkrigg Common is a area of beautiful open land, just half a mile south of Swarthmoor Hall - the historic centre of the Quaker Movement. While only 136 metre high, a pigmy compared to the hills you can see in the distance, it acts as the high point on the Furness Peninsula and offers outstanding views across to the Dales, Lakes, Howgills and of Blackpool Tower.Birkrigg has been inhabited for millennia and you'll pass the Birkrigg Stone Circle. Dating back to around 1700BC it consists of two rings of stones, the outer measuring 26m wide and consisting of 15 stones. The inner is 9m wide and contains 10 stones. It once featured pavements of cobbles, now buried, under which were found 5 cremations and some small implements.


After the trig point, drop down on the main path that runs towards the road to the north-west-west. It'll lead down to the point where a wooden fence almost meets the road. Turn right here and follow the path along, with the fence to your left, along the contour at the bottom the hill. This will slowly curve round giving you great views over towards the bay and Grange over Sands. Follow the path as it curves and slowly descends towards Bardsea.At the bottom of the field, turn left at the dry stone wall and walk to the corner of the field. You'll find a gate here which leads to a small track then runs downhill to the East. Follow it along as it turns into a road. [C] For many years Birkrigg Common acted as common land for the local parishes and it's been in public ownership for over 500 years. It successfully resisted enclosure and is now a popular walking spot with outstanding views and numerous paths.


Follow the road along and ignore the first turning on your right. You'll enter Bardsea, follow the road around and don't turn left to go into the main village (unless you want to rest here and have a drink at the pub!). Follow the road as it descends and turn left to walk down to the car park to finish the walk. [D] Bardsea is a beautiful low Furness village, separated from encroaching Ulverston by two miles of countryside. It is mentioned in the Domesday book as being part of the land earned by the notorious Earl Tostig, who rebelled against King Harold and was killed at Stamford Bridge.The village was a small farming and fishing village well into the 19th century and was primarily accessed via the sands crossing around Morecombe bay. It is strongly associated with the Quaker movement, the founder of which, George Fox, took over nearby Swarthmoor Hall when he married a local landowner.The area was also noted for iron ore mining and this led to the village growing and becoming a significant court. This only lasted for a short while, however, with the Furness Railway and Ulverston canal taking away business. Nowadays it's a beautiful, quiet village with a strong community. This section does involve road walking on narrow roads - so just watch out for cars etc.

Problem with this route?

If you encounter a problem on this walk, please let us know by emailing If the issue is with a public path or access please also contact the local highways authority directly, or find out more about solving problems on public paths on our website.

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Join the Ramblers and enjoy

  • unlimited free access to 50,000 Ramblers group walks
  • a library jam-packed with thousands of tried-and-tested routes
  • a welcome pack teeming with top tips plus our quarterly Walk magazine
  • exclusive discounts from our partners
  • knowing your support is opening up more places to walk and helping more people discover the joy of walking