Forest walks are great during the latter months of winter and early spring because more light penetrates through the dense trees of mixed species. Even though plantations of tall trees circle the base of Dodd, there is more of a variety on the upper reaches. Leading up to this walk, much clearing had taken place in Lyzzick Wood on the south-east side of Dodd, and signs stating “no entry” were located on stiles and gates in the area. However, I had prior knowledge that the work had finished by the end of February.
Route 10 – Dodd, ascent from Millbeck - Map 1
A small parking area on the edge of the small hamlet of Millbeck, provides enough room for about three cars. The walk starts where the sign post and steps are located at the parking area. Note the seat on the right; there must have been a seat located at the same spot in 1962, because Alfred Wainwright had marked it on his illustration on page: Dodd 11.
“Millbeck is conveniently placed for an ascent of Dodd, yet this is not a popular climb, and nobody will be encountered (except on the final stage) on 360 days in the year.” Dodd 11
AW (revised by CJ)
Bending of knees and back are required to follow the edge of the plantation.
This stile is where Wainwright’s original route, “Ascent from Millbeck”, continues into Lyzzick Wood, however, this stile is falling out of use and a second stile further up the fence line is now preferred.
This stile is where the “Ascent from Millbeck” continues through the plantation; this change has been included in the new ‘Walkers Edition’.
“Take the higher stile in the fence followed by a gap in the wall. There are Douglas firs here.” Dodd 11
AW (revised by CH)
On this occasion we are going to check out the ascent via the fence line on Hounslow Bank, and then towards the col of Long Doors. I’ve never walked up this way before, but it’s always looked interesting on the map.
Coincidentally, just a few days after this walk, we went to visit Clive Hutchby in Keswick where he was hosting the book launch of ‘The Northern Fells’, and it was great to see that he had actually included this ascent in the new ‘Walkers Edition’.
From here you can see the extent of the forest clearing in Lyzzick Wood.
We now turn left and follow the fence line below White Stones.
The path heading top centre, is the popular route to Carl Side via White Stones.
We now leave the forest road to follow a gravel path which winds its way up to the summit; this is a lovely path.
“Only if it is desired to visit the summit of the fell is it necessary to leave the roads, and that objective can be reached, without causing damage to trees, using the path laid out in 2002 to the summit from the south-east. There is no excuse at all for barging through the plantations and crippling young trees.” Dodd 3
AW (revised by CJ)
The summit plateau of Dodd has been stripped of its mountain pines, and the cairn replaced by a memorial standing stone. Alfred Wainwright, in 1962, strongly opposed the forestation of Dodd and it wasn’t till 2001, nearly 40 years later, that the Forestry Commission began the clearing of the summit, and for Wainwright’s wishes to come true.
The inscription on the standing stone reads “Dodd Summit 1612 feet”.
“Presumably the stone was erected before the altitude was reassessed by the Ordnance Survey as 502 metres or 1647 feet.” Dodd 12
When a small clearing appears, and before the path narrows and drops into a thicker part of the plantation, turn sharply left to a path that is well hidden. This path is very easily missed, but if you do, you will be extending the walk by another mile and a half, mostly in the wrong direction.
The upper part of this old forest road is very overgrown, but thanks to Clive Hutchby the route is now highlighted in red in the new ‘Walkers Edition’, which will hopefully lead to it being used more often.
We are now back onto the main forest roads; this one leads to the new forest clearing in Lyzzick Wood.
“The forest workers know not only how to grow trees but how to plan roads too, and they have made a really excellent job of laying passages for their vehicles. Considering the steepness of the fell the roads are wonderfully well graded, reaching to all parts of the forest without ever exceeding the gentlest of slopes, and they are well culverted, providing dry surfaces for walking even on the wettest days.” Dodd 7
“Scale Beck is an insignificant trickle in the grass at the point where it is reached.” Dodd 11
These two marker sticks located at a junction of paths, are probably to stop the paths from being destroyed during the clearing.
After leaving the plantation we retraced our steps along the larch trees and back to the car at Millbeck.