Borger Dalr geology walk, Borrowdale

Walking trail

Explore the origins of Borrowdale as you walk from Bowder Stone car park to Castle Crag, including the poignant war memorial, Peace Howe and amazing views of the flat valley bed that was formerly the bottom of an Ice Age lake.

Admire the amazing colours in the rock walls at Dalt Quarry

The area was described by the renowned fell-walker and author Alfred Wainwright as ’the finest square mile in Lakeland’. Look out for colours in the rock walls of Dalt Quarry, where a wetland habitat has developed since the quarry closed.

Cairn on Castle Crag overlooking Upper Borrowdale, Cumbria.


Map route for Borger Dalr geology walk at Borrowdale


Bowder Stone National Trust car park, grid ref: NY253168


From the upper tier of the car park follow a short path to a wooden gate. Go through the gate and follow a track across a small stream (may not be flowing in a dry spell). Walk past a large boulder to an old quarry. From here the path skirts a low-lying boggy area to join another path. Turn left here and follow the path downhill and through some trees to a wooden gate leading onto the Borrowdale road B5289. Note the location of this gate for your return journey in step 10! Carefully cross the road and turn right to follow it the short distance to Grange Bridge. 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 440yd (400m) until you almost reach the Borrowdale Gates Hotel.

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Red squirrell on a branch, Borrowdale, Lake District


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 Howe. Now 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. On the west side of the valley above the farm you might be able to spot the good contrast between the smooth Skiddaw slates (around 480 million years old) and the gnarly Borrowdale Volcanic rocks formed when this area went through violent volcanic eruptions a mere 450 million years ago.

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Peace How's carved dedication stone in the foreground with Castle Crag in the background


Pass through the yard at Hollows Farm. After approximately 220yd (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.

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a slate quarry in winter with blues, greens, oranges and yellows in the rock


With your back to 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. If time, weather and inclination permit, the short steep climb to the summit of Castle Crag is recommended. But if time is pressing skip the next description and go to point 7. To climb Castle Crag, 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. After enjoying the view retrace your steps back to the ladder stile.

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Cairn on Castle Crag overlooking Upper Borrowdale, Cumbria.


Climb the stile 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.

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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). Follow the path until the river is reached once more, and you are back to the footbridges and the track to Dalt Quarry.

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From the river retrace the earlier route to the access lane to Hollows Farm. Turn right and follow the road back to Grange village.

Trees over hanging the River Derwent in Borrowdale


From Grange village, retrace your outward route back over the bridge, turn right onto the road and look out for the little wooden gate on the left hand side. This will lead you back onto the quiet paths - reverse the directions in step 1 to return to the car park.

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Family climb up new metal steps on the very large house sized boulder called the Bowder Stone


Bowder Stone National Trust car park, grid ref: NY253168

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Borger Dalr geology walk, Borrowdale


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.

Borger Dalr geology walk, Borrowdale

Contact us

Borger Dalr geology walk, Borrowdale

How to get here

Bowder Stone National Trust car park, Borrowdale Road, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 5XA
By train

Nearest station is Penrith 23 miles (37km).

By road

From Keswick on the B5289 road to Borrowdale.

By bus

Regular bus services from Keswick, Stagecoach 78, 77 and 77a. There is a bus stop at Grange Bridge (step 2 on this walk), as well as at Bowder Stone (step 1 on this walk)

By bicycle

From Keswick on the B5289 road to Borrowdale.

Borger Dalr geology walk, Borrowdale

Facilities and access

  • National Trust shop nearby with stunning views of Derwentwater
  • Dogs welcome under close control