Wild Ennerdale on the BBC


One of the most remote areas in Lakeland, Ennerdale is a quiet and peaceful valley home to wild forest and soaring peaks. This Sunday the valley will feature on BBC1 programme Countryfile with the focus being on the new approach to conservation.

Three official bodies are working together to allow Ennerdale to evolve into a wild valley. Natural processes will shape the landscape and ecology; trees will be left where they fall and water allowed to form its own course.

Oak Tree on Ennerdale

Work by conservationists means that on a walk through the valley you could be lucky enough to see some or all of the fantastic variety of wildlife. There are eleven different types of butterfly, three herds of Galloway cattle, grazing all year round, a project supporting the reintroduction of Pine martins and beautiful Roe deer.

The River Ehen, which flows from Ennerdale Water, is a site of Special Scientific Interest as it supports the largest freshwater Pearl mussel population in England and is an important breeding ground for Atlantic salmon. There are many great spots for family picnics and for kids to paddle and trail fishing nets.

Ennerdale is most famous for its mountain scenery with some of the Lake District's most inspiring fells such as Pillar, Great Gable and High Stile creating a magnificent horseshoe above the valley. Ennerdale is also home to Black Sail, a legend amongst fellwalkers as the most remote and isolated youth hostel. A former shepherds hut, it can only be accessed on foot and is the loveliest place to sit on a sunny morning to gaze up at the fells you will be conquering later. My favourite view of Pillar has to be from the forest road beneath Pillar Rock, where it looks like an impenetrable wall of rocks and scree. But there are ways up here for strong and adventurous walkers. The Shamrock Traverse is a not to be missed airy exposed route through high mountain scenery. A head for heights is required but no specialist equipment.

Sunrise over Ennerdale


If this has inspired you to visit Ennerdale for yourself, we have several beautiful cottages to offer. Thorntrees is fantastic for a large family gathering, sleeping 10 people in comfortable surroundings. The large dining table looks over the valley's stunning scenery and there are flexible sleeping arrangements and wonderful character features alongside modern comforts.

Routen House stands in four acres of land stretching down to the edge of Ennerdale Water. A gracious Victorian country farmhouse, Routen House can accommodate 12 people in sympathetically refurbished surroundings and offers panoramic views of the high fells. Outside is Gill Beck, a crystal clear stream that comes all the way down from the mountains.

On the edge Ennerdale Bridge village is Fell View offering beautiful views to Grike and Crag Fell. The lawned garden attracts woodpeckers and red squirrels. This cottage sleeps 6 people and is great for a several couples or a family holiday. An attic sitting room makes the most of the fabulous views.

See our guide to Ennerdale Cottages for more details on the area.