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Hiking in the Hidden Howgills

Updated: May 23, 2023

Uncertain times

With the ever-changing and challenging climate, companies need to adapt and find extra work where they least expected it. BEExpeditions are no different. Putting our Minibuses (Sheila & Cece) to good use in the community, doing home to school runs leaves us on the edge of the beautiful Howgills in the town of Sedbergh during the day. Talking to the friendly locals the idea of guided walks in the area came about. With these walks, people new to the area or visiting can join us and see the rich history and beautiful scenery the area has to offer.

First outing

After a few practice runs, flyers and social media posts we were ready for our first walk, which was a low level walk down the river Rawthey. The start of the walk began at the Tourist information centre (TIC) in the heart of Sedbergh. The team for the day was 5 of us, including Katie the doggo. Couldn’t have picked a better day with bright skies, crisp air and no rain in sight.

Sedbergh is the OFFICIAL book town of England, with over 13 shops including cafes, outdoor stores and the Tourist Information Centre selling a variety of books. The town even has a book shelter, not to be confused with a bus stop, where you can sit and read or even swap books you have read. This all came about with the devastating wave of foot and mouth in 2001 which hurt the local community. To help boost to the town's economy, businesses pulled together buying and writing books of all genres relating to their businesses to attract visitors to come. This worked and made Sedbergh such a great town to visit.

Medieval market town

The evidence of Saxon, Viking and Norman presence is clear to see with the cobbled streets (much nicer that “the street”) and some buildings along the cobbled High Street can be dated back to the 15th century.

The town sits in the middle of four rivers Rawthey, Dee, Clough and the Lune (even if it is about 1 km away). This made it the perfect place for markets and travellers getting to the town. A plaque on the side of the town library shows the two years of the town being granted a Charter market town. One of which is incorrect for the eagled eyed passer by, but that's for you to visit and see for yourself.

As we walked through the centre of town we came across St Andrews ( the oldest known building in Sedbergh) 1130 and through the grounds of the amazing Sedbergh school established in 1525. Also a strange sight is the placement of wooden dogs along the roadside. Unsure as to what the purpose is but none the less a quirky addition to the town.

Sleeping elephants

Following the River Rawthey you can see the Howgills to our right, with the most famous fell Winder towering over Sedbergh. This is a walk we planned to get some great views of the Howgills, Dales and Lakes in the future. Wainwright described the Howgills as “likened to a huddle of squatting elephants” often misquoted as “a herd of sleeping elephants” which you can see more of from your drive into Sedbergh from the M6.

Brig Flatts

Our rest stop for the day was at Brigflatts, a Friends (also known as Quaker) meeting house. Built in 1675 it is the second oldest Friends Meeting House in England. Learning the history and facts about the religion and founder George Fox were very interesting to read and hear while we sat in the beautiful grounds of the Meeting house.

Akay Manor

Entering into the town from a different direction we pass Akay Wood and the very unique Pepper Pot to explore. Akay Hall, a manor house in the woods, which had been sold in the mid 1920’s and now demolished. But if you look hard enough remains of arches and mosaic tiles can be found from the old house.

On our walk back to the the TIC we past Castle Haw, which is more of a mound nowadays but was once a wooden castle back in the medieval times. It is believed to be made around the time of William the Conquerer in 1069/1070 to combat uprising native Saxon Lords. It makes a nice talking point and gives a lot to the history of Sedbergh.

This walk is roughly 8km and took us 3 hours to do as we were taking in the sights but could be done in about 2 hours.

With more walks planned around the area in April 2021 we will have all winter to find more routes and interesting places to discover in this great town. Come join us for a relaxed walk in the Hidden How gills next Spring on Fridays at 10:30 outside the TIC (Walks cost £10per person) please contact us for more information!

I hope this blog has been useful, if you have any questions please feel free to email me at If you would like more useful tips and discounts please SUBSCRIBE!

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