Whenever I go on holiday I always have a long list of things to do and most of the time it’s impossible to do them all! Eskdale and Wasdale are two of the most tranquil parts of the Lake District and there is so much to do and enjoy in each area. To make life a little simpler, if you are planning a holiday in Eskdale or Wasdale, this is what my suggested tick list would be for you to do:
Walk to Stanley Ghyll Waterfall
This is my favourite walk which takes you over little bridges and along a small river up to a lovely waterfall. The walk has a feel of the rainforest about it and is beautiful in all weathers. Start at the war memorial in Eskdale, or at St Catherine’s Church which makes it a little longer (especially if the stepping stones are under water).
Sup a few pints in the King George IV pub in Eskdale
The staff and owners are friendly and it has a wide range of ales. Pets are welcome here, too.
Enjoy a family trip on the Ravenglass & Eskdale Ratty
I used to spend all my summers on the Ravenglass and Eskdale railway and never tired of the fantastic scenery on the seven mile trip, or the ice-creams at the other end! You can even buy a ticket for your dog to enjoy an experience on the L’aal Ratty too.
Discover the milling heritage of the Eskdale
After your trip on the steam train, hop off at Dalegarth station and pop into Eskdale Mill, where you can have yours of this special building and discover more about the history and heritage of milling in the valley.
A walk up to Blea tarn in Eskdale
There are lots of starting points for this walk, but a good one is at Beckfoot Station on the Ravenglass and Eskdale railway. The path leads up the fellside and brings you out at Blea Tarn.
Muncaster Castle near Ravenglass
This is a great Lake District attraction at any time of year but the rhododendrons, and then the bluebells are at their best in April and May. The Georgian Terrace walk has fantastic views towards Eskdale while the rest of the grounds are less formalised with little woodland paths beckoning you to follow them. Dogs are welcome on a lead here.
A walk by the river from Forge Bridge to St Catherine’s Church
Just down from the George IV pub in Eskdale is Forge Bridge (which also happens to be a good place for swimming). You can walk along the river here to St Catherine’s Church in Boot at the other end of the Eskdale valley. The walk takes you through woodland and is another of my favourites.
Scafell Pike & Scafell from Upper Eskdale or Wasdale
A trip to Eskdale or Wasdale is not complete without a walk up Scafell Pike, the finest mountain in the Lake District, and of course, England’s highest peak.
A fleeting visit to St Olaf’s church in Wasdale
This is the smallest church in England and has a graveyard filled with the tragedy of the earliest attempts to establish rock climbs on the highest mountains in the Lake District. An interesting place to be and a perfect place for a spot of quiet reflection.
Great Gable from Wasdale
This is a good walk at any time of year but Remembrance Day is an amazing time to go up as hoards of people gather from all over the Lake District for an informal get-together at 11am.
A few more pints at the Wasdale Head Inn
Always good after a day on the fells. The Wasdale Head Inn was around when the first ascent of Napes Needle was done at the turn of the 18th Century. It’s known as the birthplace of British climbing.
“Nobbut a Fleeing Thing”
Dave Birkett’s fantastic route on Wasdale Screes graded at E8 it is one of the most spectacular climbs in the Lake District.
A trip over Hardknott Pass – the steepest road in the Lake District
3:1 gradients take you from Eskdale over to Ambleside and then Windermere. It is best to go over this road when the Lake District is quieter, although it tends to be shut in Winter due to icy conditions.
Swimming in the dubs & rivers of Upper Eskdale
From Brotherilkeld Farm (the last place in the Eskdale Valley) you can follow the path going towards Scafell Pike and find some fantastic pools to splash about in on the way. It is more of a journey to get to these than the river in Forge Bridge so there is a chance you will have them to yourself.
A walk over Muncaster fell to the coast
This is another walk with many starting points – a good one is to walk past Foresthow Guest house, which is at the Miterdale end of Eskdale (past Irton Road Station). The walk takes you over Muncaster Fell to Ravenglass. Come back on the Ravenglass & Eskdale railway if you have tired legs!
A walk in the woods of Miterdale
The little valley of Miterdale often gets forgotten about in favour of its parent valley Eskdale. As a result, there are fewer people there, but it is just as beautiful.