Distance: 8 miles
The Borrowdale Valley
It's easy to fall in love with the Borrowdale Valley. The trail is a simple 8-mile route between Grange and Rosthwaite that takes in an old miners track and the valley floor along the river.
Start from Grange by the café (not the one on the bridge, the one further up the road). At the side of the café, there is a fingerpost sign that directs you down the lane towards Rosthwaite and Seatoller.
There is a short section on the tarmac, bear to your left at the bend in the road to leave the road. This track goes down past Hollows Farm Campsite and emerges at a bend in the river. You can choose to go left or right here. You may prefer to follow the river and stay on the valley floor.
Keeping the river to your left, a path winds along the valley, through woodland and an old quarry. Eventually, you emerge from the woods and reach a steep packhorse bridge over the river. A little further upstream are some stepping stones as an alternative but be aware, some are further apart than you think and the water is very cold! If you are partial to a light lunch or a snack, consider a diversion into Rosthwaite. There is a small tearoom called the Flock Inn that serves a mouth-watering selection of homemade cakes. The flapjacks are lovely. You can also buy lamb reared on the fells surrounding the farm.
Back to the path, keep the river on your left until you reach the youth hostel at Longthwaite, another place to grab a cup of tea and a slice of cake! Continue until the path becomes a rocky climb around a corner with plenty of footholds. It is not difficult and adds excitement for children. There is a chain-link bolted into the rock to hold on to – the rock is quite polished and can be slippy.
Eventually, the path passes behind a youth hostel. You may need to start making your way uphill. This bit of the walk usually gets a bit squiggly as there are so many paths crisscrossing each other. If you can get on the old miners' zig-zag path then you will be alright. What you need to aim for is a patch of pine trees to the left. Above the pine trees is a horizontal wall with a gate. Pass through the gate and keep this wall on your right as you start to head back towards Grange. A beautiful undulating path opens out in front of you, previously a miners track between Honister and the mines of Borrowdale.
The route is very simple to follow as it snakes along the side of Scawdel Fell, High Spy and Maiden Moor. As you cross the bridges across Far Tongue Gill you can look uphill to see the remains of Rigghead quarry and the stone-built banking that almost blends into the hillside. The path undulates across the hillside with superb views of the Borrowdale Valley. It reaches a high point beneath Castle Crag where there is an awesome view of Skiddaw and Derwentwater.
The slate flagged path continues downhill past Castle Crag (it would only add on 20 minutes to climb it, well recommended). At the bottom of the hill, you walk through woodland to emerge at the bend on the river, practically back where you started. Grange is only a few minutes walk to the left with a choice of two cafes to enjoy a well-earned cup of tea and slice of cake.
Stay at one of our self-catering cottages in Borrowdale
This walk is ideally suited to our Lake District Cottages in Keswick, and Borrowdale. Please click on the link for more information on our Borrowdale Cottages.
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please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.