This is a low level lakeland walk suitable for a short day. It takes in Elter Water, Skelwith Force and Colwith Force waterfalls before heading through farmland to the impressive Cathedral Quarry. The return leg passes a good pub which serves food and then through the working slate quarry above Chapel Stile.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
Limited parking is available in Chapel Stile, on busy days you will have to park further afield; as this is a circular walk you could use the parking at Elterwater.
This route is described as if parking at Chapel Stile.
(D/A) From the parking, turn left and walk down the road in the direction of Wainwrights Inn. Just past the inn lookout for the path on the right leading to the river.
(1) Take the path and cross the bridge then turn left and follow the path along the riverside (with the river on your left), it will join the quarry road and bring you to to a junction with a road at Elterwater. Turn left and cross the road bridge over the river to a path leading beside the car park.
(2) Take the path beside the car park and river, this time the river is on your right. It will lead beside fields before entering some woodland next to Elter Water. Follow the path through the woods, out into fields again and besides the river to Skelwith Force.
(3) Cross the bridge and enjoy the views of the waterfall before taking the path through more woodland. It will curve around and bring you to the track leading to Park House.
(4) Follow the track from Park House across the fields to Park Farm.
(5) From the farm, take the path leading west of south west through more fields to a junction with a road beside the River Brathay.
(6) Turn right at the road and just before the road bridge over the river lookout for a path on the left leading into woodland and Colwith Force.
(7) Take the path into the woods, the path bifurcates the left hand split is the Cumbria Way but instead take the right hand split, which follows the river to a view over Colwith Force. Enjoy the views of the waterfall and then continue following the path through woods to rejoin the Cumbria Way. Leave the woods to pass through a field to High Park (Tea Room) Follow the track leading west from High Park to Stang End. Go through Stang End farm and continue along the track which will bring you to a bridge and ford over the River Brathay.
(8) Turn left and take the path with the river on your right until you come to a ramp on your left leading up and back to a raised flat platform on the spoil heap. Cross a stile and go up the ramp to the entrance to Cathedral Quarry.
(9) The quarry is entered via a tunnel which emerges in a cave supported by a single, vast column of rock and illuminated by a higher opening. This dramatic location has been used as a film set on a few occasions. Once you have explored the quarry, backtrack to (8)
This next bit is optional and is a more exciting exploration of the quarry; it is also included in the walk "Lingmoor low level circular":- Behind the column of rock is another opening which leads into another section of the quarry that is open to the sky. A short scramble leads up. When you arrive at the top of the scramble, straight ahead of you and down there is another tunnel into the rock. You will need a head torch or torch for this. Enter the tunnel and after a while, it will come to a widening where another branch goes off on the right. This right hand branch ends in a metal fence (do not cross it) so backtrack your steps and go right, this tunnel will bring you out at another raised platform at the end of the Tilberthwaite Valley. Turn left and drop down to the main path/road then turn left along with this until you are at a ford and bridge over the river (8)
(8) Cross the bridge and take the lane past cottages up to the Wrynose Pass road. At the junction turn right and head down passing the Three Shires Public House. This is a good place for refreshments if you have not brought your own. From the Three Shires walk down the road until you come to Wilson Place farm on your left
(10) At Wilson Place Farm, follow a sign for Elterwater. Take the path through the farm, through a gate on the right and over a field to another gate. A further field leads to a broad track, turn right along with this and after a few hundred yards you will come to a gate. Go through the gate, into woods and almost immediately turn left and follow another track uphill. This will lead you through the woods and will drop down into the large working slate quarry at Chapel Stile. The footpath runs past the quarry building.
(11) Take the detour from the end of the quarry shed up to the viewing platform and look down into the workings. The quality of Langdale slate is still highly regarded for building and decorative purposes. From the quarry, head downhill on the well-marked past through more old spoil heaps until it brings you out in the valley bottom. Cross a bridge over the Great Langdale Beck on your left which will bring you out next to the Wainwrights Inn. (1)
(1) Turn left and follow the road back to your car. (D/A)
D/A : km 0 - alt. km 0 - Parking
1 : km 0.2 - alt. km 0.2
2 : km 0.98 - alt. km 0.98
3 : km 3.14 - alt. km 3.14 - Bridge
4 : km 3.86 - alt. km 3.86 - Park House
5 : km 4.2 - alt. km 4.2 - Park Farm
6 : km 4.75 - alt. km 4.75
7 : km 4.9 - alt. km 4.9
8 : km 6.71 - alt. km 6.71 - Bridge over the River Brathay
9 : km 6.9 - alt. km 6.9 - Quarry
10 : km 8.03 - alt. km 8.03 - Wilson Place Farm
11 : km 9.78 - alt. km 9.78
D/A : km 10.42 - alt. km 10.42 - Parking
This is a low level walk and is a good option when the higher fells are clagged in with cloud, mist or rain. There is a lot of interest throughout and it is a good walk to entertain your children, particularly if you take a torch and explore the tunnel at Cathedral Quarry.
There are bits that can be wet underfoot, particularly the woods in winter or after prolonged rain. Check the weather and dress accordingly.
There is a tea room at High Park and the Three Shires Inn serves good food too.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
Lots to see during this walk. Old quarry heaps, farmland, the tranquil Elter Water. The two waterfalls and lovely and exploring the cave at Cathedral Quarry adds a little excitement.
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