Gentle circular walk for all
Longlands Lake nestles between Egremont and Cleator Moor on the West Coast of Cumbria and supports an abundance of wildlife. The lake is important for its bird population and you may spot the mute swan, coot, moorhen, goosander, tufted duck or mallard among others.
The gentle circular walk is suitable for wheelchair users, pushchairs and toddlers. The paths are made from finely crushed stone, which is compact for all weather use.
The free car park is signposted from the A5086 between Cleator and Egremont, you’ll drive through some gateposts and through a group of buildings before reaching the car park.
Public Transport: Longlands Lake is served by the Stagecoach 22 bus service (not a low floor vehicle)
Refreshments: Available nearby in both Egremont and Cleator Moor
Public Conveniences: Public toilets (inc RADAR key) are located in Chapel Street car park in Egremont
Take the footbridge from the carpark across the River Ehen – popular for salmon fishing from August to October. The river is designated a Special Area of Conservation as a result of its population of rare freshwater pearl mussels. On the opposite side of the footbridge you will find an interpretation panel detailing the history of the site. Continue straight ahead. You will pass the footpath which leads to a picnic area but continue straight ahead towards a gate for the circular walk. The gate is self-closing and wheelchair and pushchair friendly. As you move onwards from the gate you descend into the woodland to reach a rest point. Slightly further ahead the canopy of the woodland opens and you are rewarded with views across the lake. You may be able to spot the resident mute swan family. As you move out of the woodland you will bear right around a corner which has a noticeable cross camber and some exposed tree roots. The section which follows the bottom shore of the lake has a number of bays, and one rest point with excellent views and finishes at another wheelchair and pushchair friendly gate.
Continue onwards and you will see glimpses of some of the old iron ore works buildings and come to a fingerpost, here you should bear right down the slope to continue the circuit. The Longlands iron ore mine produced ore from four pits from 1879. West Cumbria haematite was particularly valued because of its high metal content. However, by 1924 the mines had been abandoned, and in 1939 the mines started to subside, flooding the area to create what is now the lake.
You will pass the old foundations of some of the mine buildings. If you look right there are impressive views across the lake towards Dent Fell and the Lake District National Park beyond. Dent fell is traditionally the first fell encountered by walkers on Wainwrights’ Coast to Coast walk.
The final section is very pretty, with the lake to your right and the River Ehen to your left. You will pass several fishing platforms on your right hand side and one further rest point. Cross the footbridge to return to the car park.
There are many myths and stories surrounding swans and you can see why as these birds are known for their beauty and grace, but also their power and sometimes ferocious protectivity of their young. The word swan is an old English word meaning something like ‘the singing bird’ though this is not what swans are known for today. What power do you possess? In what situations and relationships do you have power? and how can you manage this power with grace, dignity and respect? How can you be more ‘swan’? Take a picture of one of these graceful birds and put it as your screen saver or stick it up at home to remind yourself to try and inhabit those principles of grace, dignity and respect.