Eskdale, Wasdale and South West Lake District
Western Lakeland occupies the vast length of the coast and beyond. Picturesque, remote valleys, towering mountains and beautiful sunsets can all be found out west and the walking opportunities here are endless.
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Ennerdale is one of the most remote valleys in the Lake District. The shores of the water and the head of the valley can only be reached on foot or by bike.
There are amazing walking oportunities here - Pillar is a mighty fell towering over one side of the valley with an inspiring history of pioneering climbing.
Ennerdale has been re-wilded over the past few years and you can experience the Galloway cattle roaming freely, the odd glimpse of deer, several species of butterfly and many different birds.
At the head of the valley is the Shepherds Arms, one of the first calling in points on Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk, serving a fine pint of Ennerdale Brewery Ale.
The 12 miles of the Wasdale valley contain the highest mountains in England, the deepest lake and the smallest church. Thickly walled fields pattern the head of the valley, a sparsely populated and wonderfully isolated hamlet.
The Wasdale Head Inn is a mecca for climbers and walkers, the walls decorated with memorabilia from a bygone age of mountaineering.
Wasdale is a place where you can truly enjoy the simple pleasures in life.`
Eskdale is a timeless valley, untouched by modern development and the tourism industry. The lanes are quiet and the open greenery of the valley rolls out as far as the eye can see. Chugging along the valley is the Ravenglass and Eskdale Steam Railway, a superb way to take in the views.
At the top of Hardknott Pass you can see the extensive Roman remains of Hardknott Fort. The pass is a formidable route out of the valley towards the central Lakes and along with Wrynose Pass, offers perhaps the toughest hill climbs for cyclists (and drivers) in the country.
Scafell Pike is the biggest fell to climb from Eskdale. The simple route to Burnmoor Tarn is just as satisfying, and the tarn is perfect for fishing, swimming or a lazy picnic.
Ravenglass enjoys a mild climate and fantastic sunsets. The tiny village has a single road lined with old fisherman's cottages leading down to the sea. It is the only coastal village within the Lake District National Park.
The town has strong links with Cumbria's Roman heritage and you can visit the remains of the Roman bathhouse nearby. Hadrian’s Wall Cycleway begins from the village, tracing the Roman history of the coast.
Ravenglass offers the best of both worlds as it is within close proximity to the western fells and is connected to Eskdale by the supremely enjoyable narrow gauge railway known as La'al Ratty.
Just outside the national park, near the west coast, is the small hamlet of Haile. It is traffic free and the village is made up of traditional sandstone buildings, occupying a peaceful position under Cold Fell.
Haile is one of the best locations from which to climb Lank Rigg, the fell where Wainwright buried a two shilling piece under a stone. You may still find coins under the summit cairn in his memory.
The Cumbrian Coastline
The coast of Cumbria is long and varied. It stretches for miles from the estuary sands of the southern peninsulas to the Solway taking in industrious ports, former mining towns and fishing villages. St Bees is a shingled beach backed by dramatic cliffs. Allonby is wide and sandy with views over the Scottish hills and a superb ice cream parlour. The coastal railway is a great way to explore the area, as there are 22 stations between Barrow-in-Furness and Maryport, allowing you to hop on and off along the way.
The Duddon Valley
The Duddon Valley is between Coniston and Eskdale, making it remote and idyllic. The valley attracts walkers seeking off the beaten track routes, and is very popular with mountain bikers.
The tiny villages of Ulpha and Seathwaite make up most of the population of the valley, Seathwaite boasting a pub at foot of the famous Walna Scar Road; a high foot pass over the shoulder of the Coniston Old Man.
Wordsworth loved the Duddon Valley and wrote 34 sonnets entirely about the area. The famous stepping stones over the river are immortalised in one sonnet as where 'the Child puts his budding courage to the proof’.