The sandstone gorge of Gelt Woods near Brampton
Beech woodlands in autumn are a fantastic place to walk and at this time of year I try to visit at least one. This year has been no exception as I made the short journey to Gelt Woods near Brampton. Come to think of it I made the same trip last year so this is possibly going to turn into an annual event.
The River Gelt rises in the Pennine hills on the Cumbria–Northumberland border and flows westwards across northern Cumbria. In the river’s lower reaches it flows through the sandstone gorge of Gelt Woods before meeting the River Irthing to the west of Brampton. The River Irthing then merges with the River Eden before reaching the coast.
The deciduous woodland of Gelt Woods is very picturesque and merits a visit at any time. For obvious reasons I tend to find a reason to go in autumn though.
Getting to Gelt Woods
There are a number of places to park, and routes to take to enter the woods. On both occasions I have been I have parked at the end of Capon Tree Road on the edge of Brampton. From there there is a signposted track into the woods.
Track leading into Gelt Woods
After about a mile the tree-lined track reaches the top of the wooded Gorge of Gelt Woods.
Gelt Woods walk route
There are a network of paths leading through the woods and, as a result, many Gelt Woods walks. Most paths eventually head downhill though where they invariably meet the River Gelt.
On this particular day, at the first fork in the path I headed off right, a route that contoured high above the river below.
Footpath leading through beech trees in Gelt Woods
This track leads to a clearing, at the centre of which stands a particularly old and impressive beech.
Walking alongside the River Gelt
The next section of the walk is alongside the north bank of the River Gelt and is the most scenic. In autumn things change very quickly though and a certain amount of luck is needed to visit at the best time.
In 2017 I visited here at the start of October and took the following photo of the river in Lower Gelt.
River Gelt in Lower Gelt Woods in early October
Not quite enough leaves on the ground for my liking.
The following autumn I visited in late October and a photo from the same vantage point looked much better.
River Gelt in late October
Evidently the colours change quickly at this time of year!
Just upstream from here the channel narrows and the river becomes a set of rapids, the water in a rush to squeeze through the thin gap.
Sandstone gorge through which the River Gelt flows
These rapids offered an opportunity for me to get a bit arty and take an abstract photo.
River Gelt rapids
The red colour is from the underlying sandstone that is prevalent throughout the gorge.
Walking alongside the river there were so many photo opportunities! Luckily I wasn’t in a rush so I just took plenty of breaks.
Not much further upstream I recognised the location where the year before I had taken a couple of photos and tried to see if I could improve on them. It turned out I couldn’t so here are a couple of photos from 2017!
Footpath on the banks of the River Gelt
From this point the path climbs uphill, back to the junction at the entrance of the Gelt Woods. Retracing my steps back along the track I reached my car at the end of Capon Tree Road.
Annual visit to Gelt Woods
There are definitely more photographs to be had here so I’ll probably be back for my annual Gelt Woods walk in future years. Hopefully this blog will then be updated with more detail and there will be more additions to my Eden Valley photo collection. Maybe one day I’ll try visiting during a different season too!
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