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Braithwaite Court

Cumbria, England

Rosthwaite, Seatoller and Castle Cragg walking and hiking route

6.25km/4mi
Total distance
300m
Total ascent

Start Point

Small National Trust pay and display car park with public conveniences or the adjacent parish hall car park (pay) at Rosthwaite. Drive to Keswick then follow B5289 along Borrowdale. Alternatively, use the Borrowdale bus service (79) to Rosthwaite. The walk can equally well be started at Seatoller, where there is another National Trust car park.

Rosthwaite and Seatoller are attractive small villages in the upper part of the superb Borrowdale, arguably the finest of Lakeland valleys.

Castle Crag is a sharp little peak 985ft (300m) high, its central position forming the constriction known as the 'Jaws of Borrowdale', separating the lower and upper parts of the valley.

This short circuit has most of the essential elements of a Lake District Walk - a little peak, steep but relatively short ascents and descents on stony paths, a route by the side of a lovely river and two attractive settlements. Good paths throughout, with just one short slightly awkward section after passing the youth hostel.

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Walk Instructions

From the car park turn right, along a surfaced lane. In a few yards, at Yew Tree Farm, with the Flock In tea room, turn left to continue along the lane.

1) In about 100 yards turn right, along the side of a house. In 20 yards turn left through a gate ('public footpath' signpost). The path keeps to the left edge of a meadow to a waymarked stile, then diagonally right, across a field to a waymarked gate. Bear left to Peat Howe hamlet, passing Foxwood Cottage and going through gates to reach a surfaced lane. Turn right, cross the bridge over the River Derwent, then go left at the 'Seatoller' sign to head for Borrowdale Youth Hostel.

2) Follow the waymarks to pass in front of the building, then along a path through the trees. After a kissing gate there is a short section over rough rock, with a chain to give assurance across the most awkward part. There is real danger. To the left the river is progressively cutting away the end of a long glacial moraine, revealing the composition of the debris deposited by the moving ice a few thousand years ago. After another kissing gate the path rises gently through woodland, then through another kissing gate before rising behind a holiday centre to a gate in the wall. Bear left above the wall to reach a gate/stile and direct descent into the Seatoller car park.

3) Turn right along the road, passing the Yew Tree. In about 150 yards uphill from the village, as the road bends to the left, look carefully for rudimentary steps and a little path rising up the roadside bank on the right to a gate with 'public footpath' sign. Follow the well marked path up the hillside, through bracken. Keep left at a fork to rise to a broad, stony track. Turn left for 10 yards, then fork right, past a cairn, to a waymarked gate through the wall at the top.

4) Turn right, still rising gently for a short distance. The path passes behind a minor hill, High Doat, after which the views over the upper part of Borrowdale are superbly. Ahead, Castle Crag and Kings How are soon apparent. Cross a stream on a footbridge and continue, generally staying close to the wall on the right. Cross another bridge over a stream before reaching a junction with the path which comes down from the former Rigghead quarries to Rosthwaite. A right turn here provides a short return to Rosthwaite, omitting Castle Crag.(Refreshments most of the year at The Flock Inn). For the full walk go through/over a gate/stile and cross a double bridge over Tongue Gill, soon rising to join a more important path, bearing right. On approaching Castle Crag, the main path descends quite steeply.

5) In a short distance look for a right turn and a path leading up to a stile over a wall. Continue up the steep slope, over stiles, soon reaching a junction. Very close to the start of the descent there is a tiny path on the right which uses the contours to reach the junction with less effort. The ladder stile mentioned below is used in reverse. From the junction bear left to the summit steep but entirely safe, over the spoil heap then left above the rim of the quarry. The views of Derwentwater, Skiddaw, Blencathra, Helvellyn and an array of fells to the south, are spectacular. Return to the junction. To the left, in a few yards, is a ladder stile over a wall. If the summit is to be omitted, a right turn at the junction is required.

6) Go over the ladder stile, bear left, uphill through the bracken, for a short distance then descend quite steeply on a grass path to a gateway through a wall at the bottom. The descent continues through woodland, steeply at first, to reach the valley bottom main path, through a gate/stile. Turn right to walk by the riverside, cross the river on a substantial bridge. (or, for the more sporting, continue for a further 300 yards and cross by the excellent stepping stones). In either case, follow the broad, easy route back into Rosthwaite.

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Disclaimer: This route was correct at time of writing. However, alterations can happen if development or boundary changes occur, and there is no guarantee of permanent access. These walks have been published for use by site visitors on the understanding that neither HPB Management Limited nor any other person connected with Holiday Property Bond is responsible for the safety or wellbeing of those following the routes as described. It is walkers' own responsibility to be adequately prepared and equipped for the ‎level of walk and the weather conditions and to assess the safety and accessibility of the walk.

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