THE countryside around Downham is truly stunning and is well serviced with a free car park, information centre, toilets, cafe and pub.

All of the walk is across fields and farm tracks and there is a lot of stiles, both wooden and stone - some dogs will find it tricky, and might need help.

There are lots of livestock about too, so keep dogs on leads.

Step by step

1. Out of car park, go left pass cafe, cross over green and road and take small road opposite next to stream and terrace of houses. Join footpath through kissing gate and follow path as it crosses field, take path to right through kissing gate. Pass through kissing gate with stream on left. Cross field through kissing gate continue on path through kissing gate, cross lane, through kissing gate into field. Farm on left. Sharp pull up hill to stone stile into another field. Continue uphill, keeping to left of field and up to stone stile, immediately after, go left. Go into a dip and out other side ignoring footpath to right, but following footpath sign to Hecklin.

2. Look out for freestanding waymarkers with yellow arrows marking your way across the field, passing farmhouse on left. Continue to wall and cross over stone stile into another field. Keep to left of field, next to fence. Cross stone stile and head towards farm. Keeping farm on left, continue along side of wall to stone marker and a short distance past it, go through stone stile on left. Head straight ahead to stone marker, continue straight across field to stone stile in wall. Into field, follow path keeping to left. Through wooden gate to farm, take farm track to right, and immediately after metal gate, go left, straight down towards stream.

3. Drop down through kissing gate. Cross wooden footbridge and short climb up the other side, can be boggy here. At top, bear left and follow the path, through gate. Go straight ahead, through a field, uphill. Pass a barn on your right and a short way after, you will drop down towards the left, crossing a wooden footbridge. Follow the path as it climbs sharply up to a house. Turn sharp left here and follow the path as it crosses over a stile. Continue across a field for short way and bear to right, following yellow sign through stone stile cross another field, keeping to left. Go downhill to a stile cross over middle of field, and continue downhill to stepping stones crossing stream and then through kissing gate. Then, uphill following waymarker posts. Follow path, bearing to left and head towards stile in wall. Straight across to another stone stile. Cross field, bear left to corner of field, cross corner of field, immediately right over stile. Farm on left, cross over, heading for a tree at top of hill. You will see a stone stile just to right, go over stile and continue straight ahead and slightly downhill, keeping eye out for marker stones. Head for farmstead. When you meet wall, turn left, keeping wall to your right.

4. You will see a small quarry working on the right and a short distance past it, cross a stone stile on the right. Follow path through field, keeping wall to your left, at end of wall, go through kissing gate on left. Cross over field to another kissing gate and wooden footbridge into another field. Go diagonally across field to stone stile, into another field, and bear right to stone stile. Head left to stile and head towards stream and follow path back into Downham.