Burn Moor in Lake District National Park in Cumbria can be traversed via a 5 mile hike between the villages of Wasdale Head and Boot. It is a route used by mountain bikers and fell walkers. But it also has two historic pack horse connections. The first was for trade: moving goods from farm to market and from town to town. The second was as a corpse road. Until the early twentieth century, Wasdale Head didn’t have consecrated ground for burials, so bodies had to be transported through Boot to Eskdale to be interred.
Numerous stories exist about this corpse road when pack horses were used to carry coffins. The stories usually include the route’s hazards of bogs and fog, as well as the loneliness of the route. And the stories include bolting equines, lost bodies, and ghosts. Even today, walking across Burn Moor it is easy to imagine the truth of these stories.
To read more about Burn Moor and corpse roads, click here to request the August 2015 edition of Fell Pony News from Willowtrail Farm.