Warton Crag is a prominent hill north of Carnforth and Lancaster, and is the highest point of the Arnside and Silverdale AONB. This circular walk up and around its summit gives way to incredible views in every direction.
The craggy limestone rocks that adorn and pave this hill give home to many species of plants that would not flourish elsewhere.
Even the small village of Warton where the walk starts has some unique history, complete with plenty of connections to George Washington.
The Silverdale area is full of small prominent hills that are always a joy to walk including Arnside Knott and the Pepperpot. But here lets take a look at Warton Crag itself and a glorious walk to be had.
The walk I show below is just less than 2 miles, but a 2 miles full of open limestone crags, woodland and big views. There are footpaths heading in many directions so you can make your journey as long or as short as you wish.
The start point for this walkhas a limited number of spaces so it is best to get there early or perhaps do the walk out of the busy season.
Depending on how you head into Warton, look out for the George Washington Pub. There is a B road heads up beside it and you will see a small car park within an old quarry.
This car park is also home to a Craft beer Brewery Pub, The Old School Brewery. It is perfect for refreshments as you get back to the car park.
Warton Village And Washington
Before heading onto Warton Crag you may want to take a look at some of the interesting sites in Warton itself.
The main pub you pass in the centre, as I have already said, is called The George Washington. To see more of the Washington connection to Warton you need to cross the road to St Oswald’s Church.
The current church on this spot was started in the 14th Century with the tower built in the 15th Century. The tower was built through donations from Robert Washington, a direct ancestor to George Washington himself.
To this day, every 4th of July the church flies the Stars and Stripes from the tower out of respect for this connection.
Plus if you go into the kitchen area at the back of the church you will find the very weathered stone Washington family coat of arms that was built into the tower walls when constructed back in the 15th Century.
The stars and bars of this emblem are still used as an emblem in Washington DC now.
Starting The Walk
From the car park there is an obvious path that leads up into the quarried stone at the top, opposite end of the car park from the brewery.
You will pass up a narrow path within the trees and before too long you come out at a gate. Go through this gate and turn left.
Up to The Summit
The steady climb upwards here amongst the limestone and grass is not too strenuous and not too long. But the views become huge within a very short time.
At the upper point on this path, as it evens out, you have choices. The signposts are clear so no need to worry. You can go straight on for the longer walk all around the crag, or turn right for a quicker walk over the summit itself.
The views here are so stunning too. You can see all over Morecambe Bay and to the Lake District and beyond.
On this day I took the turn up to the summit and the path up some small craggy rocks, which made for an adventure for the dogs too.
The summit area and trig point itself is shrouded in the trees and bushes so this is one of those topsy turvy walks where the views are a bit more interesting on the way up.
Right by the summit trig point you will see a beacon. These types of fire beacons were how people passed the message of impending danger from area to area: signals to all around that an invasion was imminent. They would then pass on the message to another beacon that was in line of sight on a hill inland and so on.
This particular beacon on Warton Crag is a replica that was erected in 1988 for a reenactment of the approach of the Spanish Armada in 1588. It was also one of the beacons lit around the country to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and Platinum Jubilee in 2022.
Iron Age Fort
The history of Warton Crag is shrouded in some mystery and intrigue. There is evidence of some kind of Iron Age Fort at the top and the British museum has a sword that was found in the area in the 19th Century too.
There is however, not much sign of human activity from this period beyond that, so one has to ask, was it a ceremonial place? If you ever drive up the M6 or A6 in this area then Warton Crag does hold a commanding sight.
In the trees of the woods, as you walk around the crag, you will see small caves that are far from massive today. Excavations of these caves in the past, however, have shown signs of very early human activity.
Down Through The Woods
From the summit I like to make my way down the opposite side through the woods. It makes for such a contrast.
Again, there are numerous paths to explore. Follow the short route markers and you wind down through the trees an a lovely route.
From the open space of the upward section you are now heading down through the trees with the crags and rocks less exposed.
It is in these woods, Potts Wood, that you will find the aforementioned caves too if you want to have a look.
And before too long you end up back at the gate, circuit done and the last couple of hundred metres to a relax at the Old School Brewery.
Place To stay
This walk is only a few minutes drive from the glorious Go Nest Lodges I stayed in.
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