Eskdale

(see also Boot, Eskdale Green , Ravenglass)

“Eskdale is a glorious wilderness”
W. G. Collingwood in 1902

Eskdale Upper with view of Scafells Esk Pike and Bowfell by Ann BowkerLargely unspoiled by modern tourism, Eskdale today still lives up to Collingwood's vision. You can still “play at being lost, and imagine a great lone land”.

Far up, in remote and wild country, the River Esk rises by Esk Hause, the 2490-foot crossroads of the fells. Spilling its way 1000 feet downward through a gully, the river heads to Upper Eskdale and the marshlands of Great Moss.Eskdale Upper from III Crag by Ann Bowker

A thousand more feet and the River Esk becomes a series of waterfalls. Two pathways lead over the fells. One way leads to Bowfell or over Ure Gap to Langstrath. Another goes up the valley to Scafell, the Pikes, and Great End. The Romans used the Eskdale valley to reach Ravenglass from Hardknott Fort.Esk Falls by Ann Bowker

Brotherikeld Farm-once belonging to the monks of Furness Abbey-brings a hint of civilization to the wild upper dale. Iron and copper mining spoil heaps at Nab Gill mine are a reminder of past workings.

Wool Pack Inn by Tony RichardsFurther down the valley the Wool Pack Inn gives way to the village of Boot, the centre of the dale's activities. The monks of Furness Abbey had a chapel here.

The narrow-gauge Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway-La'al Ratty-terminates in the valley at the Dalegarth Station at the foot of the fells. It makes for a scenic trip from Ravenglass. A favourite walk from here leads to Blea Tarn and Stanley Force, the National Trust waterfall in the wooded Stanley Ghyll area.

Ravenglass Little Ratty train engine by Tony RichardsFollowing the valley downward, the road branches. One way leads southward, heading either over the wilds of Birker Fell or following the River Esk westward through Dunnerdale Valley past Knott End towards Muncaster Castle.

The other branch leads to Eskdale Green, a village of tourist amenities, and the Miterdale Forest. The nearby Outward Bound School offers challenging outdoor activities.

Eskdale looking down by Ann BowkerFootpaths tempt walkers to side valleys and fells. Waterfalls dot the dale. The countryside exerts its magic call everywhere in Eskdale. There is no lake in the valley, but as Doreen Wallace said in English Lakeland, “... there is everything else which the heart can desire...”

From the west coast: Eskdale is off the A595 about 1¼ miles south of Ravenglass.
From Ambleside: over Wrynose and Hard Knott passes to Boot in Eskdale.

Some Walks in the Area:

1.Eskdale Green railway station to Rabbit How, Muncaster Fell, then to Muncaster Castle and ending at Ravenglass.
2.Dalegarth railway station to Stanley Force.
3.Dalegarth railway station to Boot, Boot Bank, Brown Ban, Blea Tarn Hill, Blea Tarn, and ending at Beckfoot railway station.
4.Ravenglass to Walls Bridge, Roman fort Glanaventa, Newton, Muncaster Castle, then circling back to Muncaster.

Eskdale Outward Bound school by Dave NewtonOutward Bound Eskdale
Eskdale Green
Holmrook
Cumbria
CA19 1TE
Tel. 01946 723281
Fax. 01946 723393
Restaurant, accommodations

The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway Co. Ltd.
Ravenglass, Cumbria CA18 1SW
Tel: 01229 717171
Fax: 01229 717011
E-mail: rer@netcomuk.co.uk
Railway timetable: www.ravenglass-railway.co.uk/timetable.htm

Photos courtesy of Ann Bowker , Tony Richard and Dave Newton

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