Things to do nearby Birk How

Eskdale is one of the most beautiful valleys in the Lake District. The location in the quieter side of the National Park means there is a peaceful tranquillity in Eskdale that can be hard to find elsewhere.

Sally grew up in Eskdale and has shared some of her favourites places in her Review of Eskdale.


Birk How is in the middle of the valley in Eskdale Green. Here you can discover the history of Eskdale at St Bega’s Church, which looks at the life, times and landscape of the valley through the ages. There is a well stocked village store selling everything from food and fresh produce to walking clothes and equipment.  Highly recommended is a walk through the exotic Japanese Gardens. The gardens are open all year round and are situated in the fabulously named Giggle Alley.


There are many ways to explore Eskdale and the famous Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway is probably one of the best. The narrow gauge railway runs from Dalegarth all the way to the coast at Ravenglass with several stations along the way to hop on and off.

Eskdale boasts five pubs, all of which serve food, are dog friendly (see the individual pub for details) and welcome children. There is a nice mixture of old and new. You can enjoy a modern vibe at the refurbished Woolpack and still find traditional style in the King George further down the road. There is a beer festival held each year in Boot in Upper Eskdale.

There is also the annual Eskdale Show that combines sheep showing with Cumberland wrestling, a fell race and lots of children’s activities. See our review of Lake District Shows.

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. For more ideas have a look at Sally’s Cottages Lake District Walks.

The Eskdale valley road runs all the way to the top of Hard Knott pass, a steep mountain road with a series of tight bends that is one of the most challenging drives in Cumbria. Just below the summit of Hard Knott are the impressive remains of an old Roman fort that is free to visit.


Ever present through the valley is the River Esk. It flows from its source high above Great Moss all the way to the coastal estuary at Ravenglass. The meandering course of the river provides crystal clear natural pools for swimming. Trough House and Forge Bridge are popular location for jumping in! You will also see canoeists and fishermen along the way. West Lakes Adventure operate canoe trips down the river for cream tea at Ravenglass. How lovely.

Although Eskdale is a mountainous valley, it retains close links with the coast. Ravenglass is 7 miles by steam train and the River Esk flows from its source high in Great Moss, all the way down to the coastal estuary. Read more in our Ravenglass Area Guide.

Wasdale is a close neighbour of Eskdale. Wasdale is a very remote and secluded valley with a single road that terminates at the head of the valley. It has a vast deep lake and high mountains forming a formidable horseshoe. Read more in our Wasdale Area Guide.

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