Route Changes

Route changes on the Cumbria Way

The Cumbria Way was originally devised in the 1970s by local Rambler Association members. As if to prove what a great job the route originators accomplished there have been very few changes to the route over the years and what changes there have been are either minor to avoid a busy farm etc. or have been forced on them temporarily by weather, an example being Bell Bridge at Sebergham being destroyed by floods in 2015.

The Ramblers are the organisation deemed responsible for the route and therefore it makes sense that they will be aware of any route changes on the Cumbria Way before anyone else. I recommend that before you embark on your Cumbria Way journey that you visit the Ramblers Cumbria Way page for the most up-to-date route information.

I have listed below any route amends which I aware of as well as any route deviations which I know are no longer in place due to myself either having walked the Cumbria Way recently or visited a section to find out for myself.

Temporary route closure between Dalston and Cummersdale

A section of the Cumbria Way between Dalston and Cummersdale will be closed from the 15th August 2022 and 5 February 2023 July 2023
Due to works on the gas infrastructure along the route this section will be closed to all cyclists and walkers. The original date for the works to be completed was February 2023 but this has now been extended until July 2023.

There is no official diversion listed although I have been sent a detailed ‘unofficial  diversion’ from Tony Vaux who is the Footpath Secretary for the Carlisle & North Cumbria Ramblers Association and the link to download a detailed route description in PDF format is below – my thanks to Tony for his work in putting together this unofficial diversion.

Having heard back from Cumbria Way’ers who have attempted/completed the ‘unofficial diversion’ the feedback is not positive at all. Comments include ‘difficult route finding’, ‘arms and legs left scratched and bleeding from thorns’, ‘very muddy and slippery in sections’, ‘having to clamber over and slither under fallen trees’ and all of this is before the worst of the Autumn weather reaches us. For these reasons I cannot recommend Cumbria Way’ers to follow the unofficial diversion and would advise folks to end their Cumbria Way at Dalston and catch the train into Carlisle from Dalston or, if possible, a taxi/bus to Cummersdale from where the route is open into Carlisle. The section of the route you will be missing is the least loved section of the whole Cumbria Way so you will not be missing much. Please be aware that walking the road route into Carlisle via the B5299 is strongly advised against as this is a very busy road with no footpaths for much of its length.

For those of you who are determined to follow the unofficial diversion then the link is below but please bear in mind that the diversion has been described by one walker as entailing a ‘medium to high chance of injury’  

Download the suggested Dalston – Cummersdale diversion by clicking here  

Dalston to Cummersdale route closure

Permanent route changes

Permanent route change at Newbiggin not shown on most maps or guidebooks
The public footpath which passed through the buildings at Newbiggin, some 2km north of Ulverston, has been diverted so the Cumbria Way now follows a cross field footpath to the west of the original route. After joining the public road at Higher Lath Farm (SD 276 802) walk downhill for about 170 metres to where a footpath signpost on your left shows the start of the new route. After entering the field head north towards two field gates. Pass through the gate on the right and continue in the same direction to go through a further field gate. Once you have passed through this gate, do not continue straight ahead but bear right to head diagonally to the opposite corner of the field. After passing through another field gate, continue on the same line to rejoin the original route at SD 278 808.

Historic route changes on the Cumbria Way

Skelwith Bridge
The original route of the Cumbria Way crossed the River Brathay at Skelwith Bridge using the road bridge and passed through the village. In 2006 a new bridge (NY 342 032) was constructed further upstream to cross the river and this has been the official route for many years.

If you wish to visit Skelwith Bridge for refreshments then take the original route on the road and over the road bridge. You can rejoin the official route after a short road walk out of Skelwith Bridge.

Skelwith Bridge to Elterwater
A few years ago a bridleway was constructed along most of this section running alongside the river which helped to enable access for wheelchair users to picturesque Elterwater. The Cumbria Way to Elterwater now follows the bridleway.

The Cumbria Way ends at the Market Cross in front of the Tourist Information Centre in a pedestrianised area in the centre of Carlisle. There is not at present a recognisable sign marking the end of the Cumbria Way but you can sign the book in the information centre and have your photo taken infront of the Market Cross.

The route into Carlisle was changed many years ago and now follows the Caldew Cycleway which will lead you to within 300 yards of Carlisle Castle from where a short stroll and a right hand turn will see you passing Carlisle Cathedral and a further 150 yards lies journeys end at the Market Cross. It is possible to still follow the old route but having walked both options I have to admit that I much prefer the updated route.