The Outlying Fells, Watch Hill

14th April 2017

I thought I'd kick off the Easter weekend with three Outlying walks which are spread out over the north and western areas of Lakeland before I join David, Tim and Rod tomorrow on a rather epic ascent of Fairfield via the Deepdale Valley.

Todays first Outlying walk is Watch Hill which has a starting point just outside Cockermouth on the former A66. As always I will be following Wainwrights original route which is kept quite simple by returning via the same path after visiting Setmurthy Common found just over half a mile further on along Watch Hill's smooth grassy plateau.

This walk, and walks like it show exactly what the Lake District has to offer, to many it maybe just a local dog walk after work when on a clear day the views from the summit of Watch Hill open out over miles of farmland in one direction, towns and villages in the other and the frontiers of Lakeland with the Skiddaw Group, the Lord's Seat and Loweswater Fells occupying the views.

It didn't really matter that I didn't have the views today, after all, that's not all Watch Hill has to offer.

Wainwright Guide Book
The Outlying Fells

-Watch Hill

It is easily attained by minimum effort; a stroll on grass so simple that boots are incongruous footwear for it and bare feet feel appropriate.


Ascent: 600 Feet - 183 Metres
Outlying Fells: Watch Hill
Visiting: Setmurthy Common
Weather: Overcast With Some Sunny Spells Highs of 11°C Lows of 10°C
Parking: Roadside Parking, Cockermouth School
Area: North Western
Miles: 2
Walking With: On My Own
Ordnance Survey: OL4 - 314
Time Taken: 1 Hours 20 Minutes
Route: Cockermouth School - Allerdale Ramble - Watch Hill - Setmurthy Common - Watch Hill - Allerdale Ramble - Cockermouth School

Map and Photo Gallery


Watch Hill from the former A66 9:40am 10°C

There are two laybys close to Cockermouth School the first one being at a junction which I found full with cars which had bike racks attached, further down the road another smaller layby is located closer to the school where the 30mph zone begins.

I track back around 50 yards and locate a metal gate/bridleway which is sign posted Isel Bridge from where the walk officially starts.

Crossing the field towards the stone wall.
I took this photo after passing through the metal gate from where a stone wall appears up ahead which is kept to the left all the way to Watch Hill summit.


Ger owt my field!

It's Lambing season and the Ewes weren't too happy with me passing through this morning, I keep a wide berth at all times which didn't seem to help to control tempers while passing through the first field.

Incidently, in the background is the metal gate onto the Higham Road and you can just about make out the two 30mph signs too which is where I left my car and that's Cockermouth over in the right.

Watch Hill up ahead.
This is the first of two gates along the Bridleway which passes by the trees up ahead, it's pretty well worn and very easy to follow.

Watch Hill.
The second wooden gate can be seen at the other end of this field all the while keeping the stone wall to the left, this really is some beautiful countryside made more special this morning by the bleating of Lambs.

Feeding time.

Setmurthy Common from Watch Hill summit.
There is no cairn to indicate the summit just a high area of high ground easily recognisable to define. It's now time to pay a visit to Watch Hill subsidiary summit, Setmurthy Common found just half a mile up ahead over a lovely carpet of grass.

Setmurthy Plantation from Setmurthy Common (Watch Hill)

Sunshine breaking through the low cloud.
With the cloud being so low there was no real views to speak of this morning although occasionally the sun would break through illuminating surrounding fields and pastures.

That's Sale Fell in the distance from Watch Hill summit.
The first long distance view I've had all morning.

Time to head back with views over Cockermouth.

Nap time for the Lambs.
Fed and watered the Ewes don't appear to be bothered by my presence now.


Looking back on Watch Hill as I head back to the car.

Layby just outside Cockermouth.

Well that was a fantastic morning spent walking over sprawling countryside accompanied by new born Lambs in an area of Lakeland that I have never visited before. I may not of had the views that I wanted but that didn't seem to matter when surrounded by the bleating Lambs.

It's now time to head over to my next walk which is Cold Fell found just off the aptly named Cold Fell Road which is around seventeen miles away and should take me around half an hour to reach and it looks like amy car is pointing in the right direction.



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