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This is a circular walk from Moffat Well through forest and open country mainly on tracks or grassy/heathery paths. Some of the moorland does not have any path so requires basic map reading and compass skills. We recommend using walking boots (and gaiters unless weather has been very dry) as the moorland between Blue Cairn and Greygill Head was boggy. The walk starts in the small car park beside Moffat Well (grid ref NT 0919 0719) where there is room for 8 to 10 cars. The well is just below the car park, through 2 metal gates where there is an information board about the well and Moffat.
The walk could be extended by starting and finishing in Moffat town centre. For this option start by the war memorial and go into Well Street, straight ahead at cross roads keeping Dowding House on your left. Continue uphill on road which eventually ends and turns into a lane with a wall on your left. At cross tracks TURN RIGHT signposted to Heatheryhaugh. Follow track past Tank Wood (on your right) then go through kissing gate into field. Bear half left and follow fence line, through kissing gate and descend to the lane between a fence and a wall. TURN LEFT on lane and follow it to the car park at Moffat Well.
TO START walk, leave car park via small metal gate towards well. TURN LEFT on rough lane (don't go through second gate to well). Go through large metal gate and cross grass to reach rough farm track signposted to Blaebeck (note this route avoids a cattle grid but you miss a warning sign telling you not to touch any military debris you come across). Follow track round past Blaebeck farmhouse, go through gate and continue on main track.
Follow track as it bears right, continuing uphill, ignoring any lesser tracks. As you climb the views on the right open up, on the day we walked we could see across to the northern fells of the Lake District . Ignore right hand track going down to stream with sheepfold on hill opposite side of valley. Follow track until you reach metal gate going into Tilhill Economic Forestry, be careful of barbed wire on gate. Close gate and continue on track ignoring any minor tracks on left or right. Hamish went off the lead after going through the gate.
After passing Mid Burn and just before Cheesewell Burn the main track turns hard right (NT 1119 1007). Continue more or less ahead quite steeply uphill on the lesser track to reach a wooden gate beside a stile at the end of the wood. This gate lifts up. Hamish went back on his lead. TURN HALF LEFT and go up the steep grassy hillside, on a heading of approx 330 degrees, keeping the burn and valley on your right. We zigzagged up the hill on approximately that bearing, then went more left across the contour. We were aiming to reach the boundary (wall) between Swatte Fell and Nuberry Moss. We joined the wall/fence just above Cheese Wells around the 600-metre height (i.e. opposite the big bend in the track in the wood below at NT 1145 1081).
On reaching wall/fence TURN LEFT towards Nuberry Moss. From this point there are good all round views. Follow fence line downhill including a section where there is no wall behind it to reach junction of walls and fences near Blue Cairn (no cairn visible on the ground). Continue ahead keeping wall and fence on your right hand side to reach another fence line.
Go through a partially wired lift up gate and continue ahead still gently downhill with fence/wall on your right hand side. At a fence junction the wall turns right and a broken wall crosses your path to the left. Continue ahead with just a fence on your right hand side (heading approx 210 degrees) and follow fence towards Greygill Head. Go through another lift and slide gate in the fence line and TURN RIGHT.
Continue ahead and downhill on path/track with hill and cairn on right hand side. Moffat is ahead now. Track is indistinct in places but keep descending into valley in a generally South Westerly direction. Part way downhill you reach a grassy cross track, TURN RIGHT towards Blaebeck farmhouse. When the track becomes a sheep path, keep to right of the remains of a sheepfold with a cairn at one end of it. Keep right of small stone enclosure with a couple of trees growing in it. Descend in the direction of these landmarks to reach main stone track you walked up earlier.
TURN RIGHT on track and retrace your steps past Blaebeck farmhouse to reach Moffat well and your starting point.
If you walked out of Moffat you can either retrace your steps exactly or walk down the lane and TURN RIGHT into Haywood Road (don't be put off by the no through road sign). Walk to end of road, then ahead on footpath at bottom of Tank Wood to reach Hartfell Crescent . Follow this to a T-junction with Old Well Street and TURN LEFT downhill. Go straight across at road junction into Well Street and back to High Street and war memorial.
Copyright Dogpeople Limited 2004.