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A river walk and train ride with spectacular scenery of the Eskdale valley
A river walk and train ride with spectacular scenery of the Eskdale valley | © National Trust Images / Paul Harris
Lake District

River Esk: Steam, ride and ramble walk

This classic river walk along the River Esk, with its intimate scenery of crags, woods, fields and the river itself, provides the perfect excuse to leave the car behind and travel along one of Cumbria's favourite and most memorable steam railways.

Total steps: 10

Total steps: 10

Start point

Dalegarth Station (nr Boot) pay and display car park, grid ref: NY173007

Step 1

Leave the station and turn left along the road towards Boot. At the crossroads next to the pub turn right and head south down the track.

Step 2

After passing through Esk View Farm and the farm buildings you can see linear stone walls that are remains of the railway line for the quarries.

Step 3

The track passes St Catherine's Church and the stepping stones across the River Esk. From the church, follow the river upstream along a pitched surface.

Step 4

Continue along the path until you reach a gate. At this point there are two paths that are close together and run parallel. A well-defined lower path thatcrosses the Esk, and an upper path that is not well-defined and can easily be mistaken for a grass strip. Take the lower path to the old railway bridge.

Step 5

At the bridge you can see Gill Force Waterfall in the Esk. From here, go back along the path until you reach the point where the path splits. Take the path leading to the right heading up a slight gradient following the river upstream. Follow along this path through various gates and thin woody areas until you reach a small humpback bridge locally known as Doctor's Bridge.

Step 6

Cross the Esk at Doctor's Bridge and follow the river downstream, heading away from Penny Hill Farm. At Low Birker Farm follow the bridleway through the property and continue along a well-defined walled track. This track eventually leads to a small footbridge over a ford and through a gate.

Step 7

Continue through the gate and towards Gill Force along a path through open ground lined by gorse and bracken. Follow the earthen path through a wood until you get to a gate exiting the woodland. Continue out of the wood till you reach corner in a dry-stone wall where the path bends to the left across a ford. Continue along the track until you reach a gate and enter a plantation.

Step 8

Through the gate you drop into a plantation and cross the beck with a ford and footbridge. At this point you can visit Stanley Force Waterfall or continue on the route.

Step 9

Head towards the gate, exit the plantation and follow the bridleway cross the field. Upon exiting the field turn right on to the track and follow towards the B road. On your way you pass an alternative car park and bridge.

Step 10

At the road junction, turn right by the old school and war memorial, and head towards the station and the car park.

End point

Dalegarth Station (nr Boot) pay and display car park, grid ref: NY173007

Trail map

Map route for steam, ride and ramble walk
Map route for steam, ride and ramble walk on the River Esk | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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