Borger Dalr geology walk, Borrowdale
Grange, Borrowdale, Cumbria, CA12 5UQRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Explore the origins of Borrowdale as you walk from Grange to Castle Crag.
The area was described by the renowned fell-walker and author Alfred Wainwright as ’the finest square mile in Lakeland’.
- Bus stop
Start: Grange, grid ref: NY253174
Follow the road across the bridge and through the attractive village of Grange, the site of a medieval monastic farm belonging to Furness Abbey. Continue along the road for about 440yds (400m) until you almost reach the Borrowdale Gates Hotel. Go through the gate on the left, follow the path to a high point, then leave it to climb the knoll on the right, Peace How.
The small summit of Peace How was bought for the nation in 1917 as a place where soldiers returning from the carnage of the front line could regain a sense of peace.
Walk down to the gate at the edge of the wood. Passing through, take the clear track going gently down to the left towards Hollows Farm. Notice how you are walking into the volcanic rocks.
Pass through the yard at Hollows Farm. After approximately 220yds (200m) take the track to the right. Ahead, across the camping field is the craggy wooded knoll of Holmcrag Wood. It has crags at its left end and a more gentle profile to the right. This piece of solid rock was sculpted by glaciers some 8,000 years ago. It is known as a roche moutonee, French for rock sheep and you will see lots of these, large and small, throughout the walk.
Continue on the main path down to the River Derwent. At the first large beck, cross it by the bridge and ahead is a path that ascends to Dalt Quarry.
Turning away from the Quarry, take the smaller track to the right. This joins a larger track near a small bridge. Ascend the larger track, shortly leaving the wood and climbing by the stream of Broadslack Gill. Further up, below the steep crags on the left, a smaller but still clear path branches to the left. Take a breather and a moment to listen to your surroundings.
Look out for amazing colours in the rock walls of Dalt Quarry, where a new wetland habitat has developed since the quarry closed.
If time, weather and inclination permit, the short steep climb to the summit of Castle Crag is recommended.
Ascend steeply to a ladder and stile. Cross these and follow the fence to another ladder stile. Turn left and keep going up. Now comes the juicy bit. Go up the spoil heaps on a path that is not as hard as it looks. A great view awaits you at the top. Go to the right of the large quarry and climb to the top of Castle Crag.
Castle Crag was the site of a hill fort some 2,000 years ago, and it is easy to see why from the stunning views over the surrounding valleys. The Iron Age earthworks gave the valley its name: Borger Dalr, old Norse for Valley of the Fort. Notice how flat the land is in the valley bottom. It represents the drained bed of an old lake that existed here at the end of the last Ice Age, when the glaciers melted.
Carefully reverse the route of ascent to the lower ladder stile. Cross this and follow a grassy track until you approach a stone built footpath, take this path down towards the wall and gate. Follow the narrow track through the woods and you will again find a stone-built path leading you down amongst the mature oaks towards a gate and stile. Cross the stile and bear left towards another set of gates, go through and follow the path.
Continue through the woods, passing through an area of quarry workings (if you wish to visit Millican Daltons cave, take the narrow path to your left as you pass through a dry stone wall), until the river is reached once more, near to the campsite and the track to Dalt Quarry.
A detour (see direction point 9) leads to Millican Daltons cave. Millican was a self titled Professor of Adventure. Between the two World Wars he spent the summers living in these caves. You can still see some wise words that he carved on the walls of the topmost cave. If you wish to visit the caves, its advisable to refer to the OS map.
From the river retrace the earlier route to the access lane to Hollows Farm. Turn right and follow the road back to Grange village.
End: Grange, grid ref: NY253174
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- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Moderate
- Distance: 4 miles (6.4km)
- Time: 3 hours
- OS Map: Landranger 90, Explorer OL4
There is a steep but gradual climb to Castle Crag, and paths can be slippery when wet, so suitable footwear and clothing is recommended. The route is not suitable for pushchairs. No bins provided on the route - please take all your litter, including dog waste, home with you.
- How to get here:
By bike: From Keswick on the B5289 road to Borrowdale
By bus: Regular bus services from Keswick, Stagecoach 77 and 77a
By train: Nearest station is Penrith 23 miles (37km)
By car: From Keswick on the B5289 road to Borrowdale
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