The valley of Eskdale and its surroundings provide some of the best and most scenic walking routes within the Lake District National Park. Whether you are an experienced walker or just enjoy a short stroll, there are plenty of lovely walks that can be combined with a trip on the railway for a unique day out.
Lord Wakefield commissioned the legendary fell-walker Wainwright to prepare a unique piece of print for the railway - Walks from Ratty. This booklet is available to purchase in our railway gift shops and online.
Also, make sure you download our App which gives you various guided short walking routes in the areas around the Railway, perfect for all ages! Click here to download our app for free.
Take a look below for some suggested walks from both of our main stations. Please take an OS map (available to purchase in our shops) with you and ensure that you are suitably equipped for a walk including walking boots and plenty of water!
Leave Ravenglass Station via the ramp next to the turntable and at the top of the ramp take a left-hand turn. Follow the path to the end and then turn right at the road. Follow the road all the way down and the Roman Bath House will appear in to view on the left-hand side. This walk is great for dogs and is fully accessible.
Follow the instructions for the walk above to the Roman Bath House. After an investigation of the structure, continue on along the road until it splits in two. Take the unsurfaced road on the left towards ‘Knott View and Newtown’. (If you were to turn right you could do a shorter walk suitable for pushchairs). Continue on past the houses, Knott View Cottage and Newtown House, ignoring the path on your left and the drive on your right. After the buildings continue on the main track, with the stone wall at first on your left, then after a gate the wall is then on your right. As the track starts to move away from the wall and turns left, bear right onto a track heading towards a high stone wall with an unusually high gate. Having gone through the gate continue in the same direction downhill, across a field to find a gate in the wall at the other side. Shortly after leaving the field take the grassy path on the left and then a right onto the permitted route, through another gate, joining the Cumbrian Coastal way footpath. Turn right and follow the reed strewn path in the direction of the railway bridge, with the River Esk on your left and a stone wall on your right. Continue on the path, close to the wall and eventually go under the Carlisle to Barrow-in-Furness railway line. Bear right and keep the wall or fence on your right as you soon start walking on the beach in the direction of Ravenglass. On reaching the village you walk past its pretty cottages, giving you the chance to explore before walking underneath another stone bridge and arriving back at the railway car park.
Leave the car park at Ravenglass and walk approximately a mile along the A595 towards the entrance and car park of Muncaster Castle. At the bend in the road there are two bridle paths on the left. Take the one sign posted to Eskdale which is a track of Roman origin, known as Fell Lane and edged by old walls and much vegetation. Continue upwards until the rhododendron grove is reached, where Muncaster Tarn, although half-hidden by trees can be seen on the left. Go through the wicket gate past the fence enclosing the young trees on the left. It is from here that the magnificent panorama of the western fells begins to unfold. The path veers to the right to avoid Hooker Crag - the highest point of the ridge. A detour to the top of the Crag will award the climber with glorious scenery in all directions. West is Ravenglass, the estuary where the River Esk meets the sea, and the Isle of Man, and in the other direction the upper Esk, Scafell, Miterdale and the Coniston mountains. Continue along the path to the raised stone slab inscribed 'Ross's Camp 1883'. Pass through the gate at the junction of walls and follow the path, which is often boggy, on its descent by the wall. When the cart track is reached turn left and the path leads to Irton Road Station. You can either catch the train from here or carry on to Dalegarth. Turn right to continue to Dalegarth and walk down the track to Muncaster Head Farm, turn left onto the road for a short distance and then take the river path which is sign posted at Forge Bridge. Follow the River Esk to Dalegarth Station.
Leave Dalegarth station and turn left along the valley road. At the crossroads go along the walled lane to the right. Follow this lane and it will lead you to St Catherine's Church. Don't forget to stop and explore the church here. Note the beautiful memorial to Tommy Dobson in the graveyard, his passion for fox-hunting is depicted on his gravestone. From the church, you can either cross the river via the stepping stones or head to the bridge to ensure your feet don't get wet! Then follow Anne's Walk through the woodland and head back to Dalegarth station as per instructions above.
Leave Dalegarth station and turn right along the valley road, then take the first lane on the left. Go through the gate signposted for 'Dalegarth Falls' and 'Anne's Walk' just after the bridge. Soon after the next gate the gravel path ends, keep straight on at the fingerpost, climbing the slope to the right. Keep walking until you see the waterfalls. Be careful here near the cliff edge as it is slippy. Retrace your steps back down to the fingerpost at the crossing of the paths. Then turn right at this fingerpost signed for 'Gill Force' and 'Doctor Bridge'. After the gate ignore the path to the right; keep straight on through the bracken. Don't cross the stepping stones to the left and instead continue along the riverbank towards Gill Force. After the next gate watch for a waymarker indicating a sharp turn to the right, this is quickly followed by another sharp turn to the left. Cross the River Esk via a bridge and walk downstream. At a pair of gates go through the one on the right, follow the path to a T-junction and then turn left. Take the next path turning on the right, turn right at the surfaced lane and right again at the T-junction to retrace your steps back to Dalegarth station.
Get off the train at Beckfoot station. After the train has departed, cross the line and go through a gate onto open fellside. Follow the grassy track uphill and it will curve to the left through the bracken. As the path steepens, follow it, climbing the fell in a series of hairpin bends. You will pass the ruins of an old peat hut - take a minute here to enjoy the views of Harter Fell and the surrounding woodland. As you get close to the tarn the path begins to break up in a series of junctions - take the left-hand path at the first branch, and the right-hand path and the second. You will then reach Blea Tarn. At the tarn head right along the shore (with the water to your left). After passing the tarn the path begins to climb again, this time following a valley that almost looks man-made. This brings you past Blea Tarn Fell and then emerges onto flatter land. This path soon splits, with a path heading to the left, and a larger track heading right. Take this track to the right, and follow it past an old mine working. After heading across the hillside for some way the track then runs through some old mine buildings, before joining another track. Turn right onto this track and follow it as it runs diagonally and to the right down the hillside, eventually reaching Boot. From here you can then head back to Dalegarth station, just a short walk from the village.
There is a rich biodiversity of wildlife in the valley, from various species of migratory and resident birds at the Ravenglass estuary to the native Red Squirrels which hide in Miterdale Forest. When out walking, why not take your camera to see if you can capture some of our spectacular wildlife.