Things to do nearby Moor Head
Eskdale is a wonderfully unspoilt valley which offers fabulous food, real ales and a host of opportunities for walking and cycling for all abilities. Visitors will find Moorhead with its village location and beautiful views is perfectly placed to enjoy it all.
One of the most popular things to do in Eskdale is to take a trip on the famous Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, more popularly known as the L’aal Ratty. This narrow gauge steam railway makes a leisurely seven mile journey from Ravenglass to Boot taking in some staggering scenery along the way. From Moorhead you can either catch the train just down the lane at Eskdale Green or along the road at Irton Road Station. Whether you make the journey down to the coast to the delightful village of Ravenglass or further up the valley to Dalegarth at Boot you can enjoy great walks and indeed a play park and café at either end. With prior arrangement you can put your bikes on the train at either end of the line and cycle back via the Eskdale Trail.
Walking in Eskdale is second-to-none. You will find a variety of routes to the top of Scafell and Scafell Pike to suit all abilities. Great Moss is one of the Lake District’s best kept secrets. This stunning open valley is surrounded by some of the highest ground in England, Scafell Pike, Esk Hause and Bowfell but hidden from view from the Eskdale valley floor. As well as big hikes to the highest fells, there are some lovely walks on the valley floor and along the beautiful river Esk. Why not take a walk up from the village to the wonderfully named Giggle Alley, from here you can head to the Japanese Garden a beautifully tranquil spot. At Moorhead there are a host of walking routes straight from the door including Muncaster Fell and the peacefully secluded Miterdale Valley. If you’d like your adventures taken care of by experts then Westlakes Adventure is a company based in Boot providing outdoor activities for individuals, couples, families and groups. Their activities include rock climbing, ghyll scrambling, paddle boarding and kayaking.
Further up the valley as you head up the steep switchback road that is Hardknott Pass (not for the faint hearted driver or passenger!) you’ll come to the staggering setting of Hardknott Roman Fort. The fort was built under Hadrian’s rule in the 2nd century. It guarded the pass on the road from Ravenglass to Ambleside and was policed by troops from the eastern Adriatic. Today visitors can explore remains including the barracks, commandant’s house, parade ground and bath house. Or you can sit and take in the view imagining what life was like here nearly 2000 years ago
As for the Cycling opportunities in Eskdale, well where to begin? For mountain biking the valley offers trails to suit all abilities with low level forest trails and more technical bridleways leading over to the Wasdale and Duddon Valleys and back again. For roadies you have one of England’s steepest roads at the head of the valley to challenge you. Indeed many of the Lake Districts most challenging cycling sportives (including the Fred Whitton, the Lakeland Loop and the Tour of the High Passes) go through the valley. If hills aren’t to your taste there are some lovely rides out towards the coast with rather less challenging hills.
Muncaster Castle makes a great day out, it sits high above the estuary where the river Esk meets the Irish Sea at Ravenglass and has a well-deserved reputation as one of Cumbria’s most popular attractions. The Castle makes a great rainy day visit where you can learn more about its colourful history. The original foundations of the building itself date back as far as 79AD - construction of the castle that you see today was started in 1258. As you can imagine with a castle in such an incredible position on the very edges of the country, it is steeped in history, with tales of kings and queens of murder and intrigue and ghostly presences everywhere! The grounds at Muncaster are just as much of a delight as you can watch stunning bird of prey displays, explore a meadow vole maze, enjoy the playpark, café and shop as well as seeing the most stunning displays of bluebells and rhododendrons when in season.
The next valley to Eskdale is Wasdale. Famously, with England’s highest mountain and deepest lake, smallest church and biggest liar, Wasdale still has an unspoilt tranquillity that belies its majestic grandeur. It is the most mountainous of the Lake District Valleys. From Wastwater in the valley bottom, the Screes climb, seemingly vertically, out of the lake. The valley has hardly changed in hundreds of years, and the natural splendour of the fells and lakes has been preserved in all of its glory.
If you’d like to head out of the valley you have many great options. Whitehaven is a Georgian Harbour town 20 miles up the coast with a colourful history involving rum, sugar and piracy! The Rum Story makes a great place to start your visit and from there you can follow their ‘Quest’ around the town’s historical landmarks. It is also the start to the 140 mile long C2C cycle route. Closer by is Egremont where you can find the remains of a Norman Castle and just south of the town is Florence Mine, the last working iron ore mine in Europe, and part of the rich mining history of West Cumbria. The visitor centre often holds concerts and art exhibitions.
As summer draws to its close The Eskdale Show takes place on the last weekend of September. This is a famous Lakeland agricultural show of Herdwick Sheep which are bred and reared on the surrounding fells by local farmers. The show also has competition classes for hound dogs, terriers, sheep dogs, poultry and shepherds crooks. There are also stalls full of Cumbrian goods, sporting events for children, fell racing, Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling events and hound trailing. It’s an excellent window into local farming life and a great day out.