The beautiful Eskdale Valley, accessible via the Eskdale Railway, contains legendary fell walks like the spectacular Hardknott Pass and if you’re a real wild landscape seeker, head into Ennerdale just 7.5 miles inland from Whitehaven offering a wealth of opportunities for walking, forest trail biking between Bowness Knott and Gillerthwaite, riding, rock climbing at spectacular Pillar Rock and canoeing and watersports on Ennerdale Water.
Wastwater & the Wasdale Valley
Perfect for the outdoor adventurer, the Wasdale Valley offers everything from kayaking, canoeing and climbing to horse riding, abseiling, walking and biking. The classic view of the three mile long Wastwater, England’s deepest lake, sits at the region’s heart and this dramatic Lakeland landscape is widely considered to be the birthplace of mountaineering. Mountains surrounding the area include the mighty Scafell and numerous other high fell walks.
The area is an idyllic remote retreat with small villages like Nether Wasdale with just two inns and Wasdale Head on the north eastern edge of the lake, home to the miniscule St Olaf church (the smallest church by the deepest lake) and one iconic lakeside pub – Wasdale Head Inn – famous as the birthplace of British climbing!
The Eskdale Valley sits in the south west of Lake District Park close to Wastwater and Wasdale, just inland from Ravenglass and Muncaster. Eskdale is an area which manages to appeal to families and visitors looking for a relaxing breaks, as well as to walkers and cyclists looking for the ultimate Lakeland challenge around Hardknott Pass and Scafell Pike! Eskdale is the perfect spot for holidays with dogs – many Cottages, B&Bs and inns in the area welcome pets and you’ll find more gentle walks around the lowlands flanking the River Esk.
If you like pushing off the tourist trail, then sublime Ennerdale is where to head. A truly spectacular landscape featuring the most westerly of the National Park’s lakes, Ennerdale sits in the central west, just over 7 miles inland from Whitehaven. Discover around 30 miles of walking and cycling trails in the area, 10 miles of which are forest tracks.
Popular walks around Ennerdale Water include the Smithy Beck Trail commencing and finishing at Bowness Knott car park. This walk affords views into wild valleys and features Red Squirrels en-route! High ridge routes in the area are up the great peaks of Steeple, Great Gable and Pillar. Bowness Knott and Bleach Green car parks are usually starting points. If you’re on two wheels it’s possible to explore the entire Ennerdale Valley in one day departing from the Bowness Knott car park, with views of Great Gable, Pillar and the River Liza along the route.