Today was the perfect day for a trip up the Newlands Valley (near Keswick). This is a beautiful valley with a gentle walk along the bottom of it, taking you to Dalehead if you care to go that far. Hindscarth and High Spy are the fells to either side and I'm saving these fells for a walk with Ted (the dog). We had a two year old and a three year old today so we got to the bridge by the river and that was good enough for us. We spent a happy time eating crisps and paddling (well I ate the crisps while the two little ones did the paddling). There are also disused mines to explore if you're feeling brave enough - take some candles or a torch though. We got quite a way in but turned back before we found out whether you could go right through to the other end. Apparently the area was big for copper mining. Apparently some gold was even found there too although I'm not sure whether too many people got rich on that. I’ve no idea whether access to the mine is permitted so if you do go in it, it will have to be under your own responsibility.
This can be a circular walk. You start near Newlands Church, although there is no parking at the church itself. To get to the Newlands Valley, drive to the village of Braithwaite (about 5 mins from Keswick). At Braithwaite follow signs for Newlands Valley – if you have come from Keswick you will turn left off the A66 to Braithwaite, then it’s first left (signed Newlands) and then left again over a little humpbacked bridge (again signed Newlands). Carry on this road for about 2.5 miles and then take a sharp left turn (signed Newlands Church and Little Town). Follow this narrow road for half a mile. You will then see a sign to the right for Newlands Church. Ignore this turning for now and park just beyond it on the right (over the tiny bridge). You will then need to retrace your steps and walk to the church. At the church turn left and eventually you will walk through Low Snab Farm. After the farmyard you can do three things.
1. Carry on along the valley bottom towards Dale Head fell, making your way back on the other side of the river to Low Snab Farm. This is what we did.
2. Or you can turn right after the Farm and go up Hindscarth Fell, then keep left to Dale Head, dropping down to the valley floor and walking back on the other side of the river to Low Snab Farm.
3. If you have lots of energy, you can keep high after Dale Head and carry on along High Spy Fell and Maiden Moor. Cut left down the hillside before you get to Catbells.
The valley is a beautiful one and feels easily manageable. It’s a lovely bowl surrounded by fells and I would say one of the prettiest spots in the Lake District. When you get back to your car, there is no need to turn the car round, just carry on towards Portinscale and then the A66. In fact, at Little Town (just about a minute beyond the car park) is a lovely café on a farm.
From our Keswick Cottages, it should take about 15 minutes to get there. If you are coming from our Borrowdale Cottages it would be better to get there from the other side of the lake (via Manesty), again it will take about 15 minutes to get there. From our Loweswater Cottages it will take you about half an hour if you go via Crummock Water and then up the Newlands Valley from Buttermere. You will be arriving at the church from a different direction here.