Barker Scar, near Old Park Wood, Holker

There is a cave about half way along Barker Scar, near Old Park Wood in the South Lakes.  Aside from the cave, there is plenty to enjoy and explore on this stretch of Morecambe Bay / River Leven estuary coastline.

Please note that a permit is required from the Holker Estate Office to park in the car park.  They will also provide a map which shows the paths that can be explored around the headland and woods.  Please note that these are not footpaths, but permissive paths, so please stick to them.  The estate office can be found just past the main entrance to Holker Hall on the left (if coming from Cark).

Head along the road from Cark towards Old Park Wood Caravan Park.  The small car park is at the shoreline at GR 336787 on OS map OL7.

We headed north, then west and around Park Head, following the shoreline south.  Beware of fast moving tides, shifting and dangerous sands and strong currents… The water is not safe for swimming or paddling, and the sand is not suitable for making sandcastles (it’s claggy etc).  But… do enjoy the many rock pools.  We discovered lots of things in them, including fish, fish eggs, crabs, skaters and sticklebacks.  If you know what you’re looking for, you’d probably find even more!

Continuing southwards, we hugged the coastline, until we reached Barker Scar.  You’ll know when you get there as a small rocky cliff appears on your left.  Stay at the bottom of the scar following the path.  Approximately half way along, at grid reference 334782 is the cave.  You have to look up to see the entrance to it.  Watch out for stinging nettles and loose rocks.

From the cave, you can either continue onwards, and then head west at Cape Head and then northwards to loop back through the woods (check on the map that you got at the estate office, there are several routes, between 1.5 – 3 miles total).  Or you can return the way you came, which is approx 1 – 1.5 miles in total.

Late April/early May you will also see some beautiful bluebells in the woods.

On a clear day this walk offers some amazing views out over the estuary.  You can see the Sir John Barrow monument in Ulverston (looks like a lighthouse), and on very good days you can see a lot of the Lake District Fells.

There’s no cafe at the caravan park, so we headed in the car to Haverthwaite, where there is a lovely cafe and playground at the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Steam Railway station.

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11 replies

      • The signs at both the caravan park entrance and the estuary car park state clearly that the estate and walks are open to permit holders only.
        The caravan park could be contacted for more info but permits are only available from the Holker Estate office or as an automatic right of holiday home ownership on the site.
        As far as I know this is still the case.
        I would recommend people contact the Holker Estate office before assuming they can walk here.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh and btw we did pop into the caravan park reception to ask and they gave us a map and explained how to get to the coast line through their caravan park. They didn’t mention a permit or anything, but perhaps I wasn’t speaking to a person in the know!? I’ll call the estate to get full up to date information. Thanks for giving me the heads up


  1. For your information there is a Café at Holker Hall, which is nearer than Haverthwaite and also obviously part of the Holker Estate.

    To obtain a permit to walk over the permissive footpaths at Old Park Wood please ensure that you contact our Estate Office either by phoning 015395 58313, emailing or popping into the Estate Office to arrange a permit any time Monday to Friday during the hours of 9am to 5pm.

    Liked by 1 person

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