Newlands Valley Low Level Circular (Mine Exploration and Newland's Church)

An interesting low level walk with the opportunity to explore old mine workings as an option. The walk takes in farmland paths and tracks and ventures above the fell wall to the dam and reservoir built by the miners. Even if you choose not to venture into the mine tunnels finding the entrances is mini adventure. Newlands Church is lovely and adds further interest to the walk.

Technical sheet
No. 18123814
A Above Derwent walk posted on 30/12/21 by Alwayswiththehills. Update : 04/01/22
Calculated time Calculated time: 2h40[?]
Distance Distance : 7.26km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 216m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 220m
Highest point Highest point : 315m
Lowest point Lowest point : 137m
Moderate Difficulty : Moderate
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Lake District
Location Location : Above Derwent
Starting point Starting point : N 54.570867° / W 3.193163°
Download : -


(D/A) From the quarry take the road uphill ( Newlands Pass) passing in front on Birkrigg. Take care to walk in single file as the road is narrow and can be busy in summer. Continue up the road to the farm track on your left for Gillbrow farm.

(1) Turn left and head downhill on the track, pass through Gill Brow farm and continue downhill on a rougher track to a bridge over the Keskadale Beck.

(2) Cross the bridge and follow the track around the outer boundary of the field and descend to a wooden gate and junction with a farm road.

(Note if you park at Chapel Bridge you can cross the bridge and take the road on the left to pass point 9, then continue along the farm road to point (3))

(3) Turn right and walk along the farm road to pass the entrance to High Snab and beside Low High Snab. Continue along the track which becomes rougher after the farm and pass through a gate. Continue along the track straight ahead as it ascends gently to the dam and small reservoir.

(4) Turn left and cross the top of the dam. Cross a couple of small wooden bridges and turn left again to follow the path which descends on the south side of Scope Beck.

The hillside above you is scarred with spoil from past mining for lead and copper. Just after a wide area of scree there is a smaller and obvious scree slope with a flat top.

(5) From the base of the scree you have an option to explore a mine working.

If you wish to do this scramble up to the flat top. You will find a horizontal mine entrance (adit), if you have a headtorch it is possible to explore the tunnel which goes into the hillside for a 100 metres or so. It ends at a stope (vertical shaft) above you and some obvious fallen rock on the tunnel floor. Do not explore beyond the stope without expert instruction. Return back the way you have come and scramble back to the path at (5)

Continue along the path and pass over another, small, mine adit then continue to a quarry on the right.

(6) Walk down past a tree to another mine entrance beneath the quarry. This time the tunnel only penetrates the hill for 10m or so before it ends at a fork with both tunnels blocked.

Continue to follow the path which curves around the bottom of Scope End. Where it splits take the upper, right hand split rather than descend to the farm.

(7) The upper path leads to the top of another spoil heap.

Again you have a chance to explore another adit. This is the entrance to the famous Gold Scope Mine and again you can walk along the tunnel to a much larger stope. Do not go beyond this point without expert help.

Then take the slanting path down the spoil heap to the farm.

(8) Go through the gate and pass through the farm. Take the farm road to a junction opposite Newland's Church.

After visiting, leave the church and turn left to follow the road to a junction. Turn left and head along the road, uphill, to pass the new house at Rigg Beck. After this turn right again and walk back to the quarry. (D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 179m - Quarry
1 : km 0.82 - alt. 219m - Gill Brow farm
2 : km 1.13 - alt. 193m - Keskadale Beck
3 : km 1.37 - alt. 178m - Dam and small reservoir
4 : km 3.21 - alt. 315m - Small wooden bridges
5 : km 4.09 - alt. 305m - Mine working
6 : km 4.58 - alt. 276m - Tunnel
7 : km 5.27 - alt. 216m - Gold Scope Mine
8 : km 5.49 - alt. 164m - Newland's Church
D/A : km 7.26 - alt. 178m - Quarry

Useful Information

This is a low level walk which is suitable for days when it is too wet or windy to be on the higher fells. Alternatively, it is also useful for a half day.

It can be muddy underfoot, particularly in wet spells and the mine adits usually have a few inches of water in them for part of the way.

Parking in the Newlands Valley can be difficult. The road from Braithwaite to Buttermere is narrow and the use of passing places can be needed. Please do not park in passing places as you will make it hard for others to use the road.
The parking for this walk is in the small quarry on the bend at Rigg Beck, there is enough space for four well parked cars. If this is full take the road downhill to Little Town, pass over Chapel Bridge and there is further parking for eight cars on the right.

A note on driving.
When driving along narrow roads that have passing places it is best to keep three of four car lengths from the vehicle in front and to take note of passing places as you drive past them. In this way, if the car in front should come to a halt with a vehicle coming towards it, there will be room for either car to manoeuvre with only one or the other reversing.

Too often we see three of four cars driving bonnet to bumper when means that when faced with a vehicle or vehicles coming in the opposite direction there is much reversing done by all.

It is recommended to wear waterproof boots and appropriate outer layers.

You will also need a headtorch if you are going into the mines. Helmets are not necessary but watch your head in Goldscope Mine as it gets low at one point.

If going in the mines make sure people know that is what you are doing and best practice would require taking turns and leaving someone outside in case of accident.
Whilst these tunnels are safe and are used by outdoor groups please remember that entering any mine working can be dangerous and you do so at your own risk. Do not venture beyond the stopes in either mine where the mine working rises vertically, where there are wooden ledges and some rockfall on the tunnel floors. The author holds no responsibility for any accident you may have, you must make the decision to enter or not based on your experience, the experience of the people in your party the conditions and equipment that you have.

There is good self catering holiday cottage rental available at Birk Rigg on the road just beyond the quarry parking. This is a great place to base yourself for walks in the Newlands Valley and there is resident only parking opposite the cottages.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

This area of Newlands Valley was first mined in Elizabethan times when Queen Elizabeth the first granted permission for extensive exploration. At the time German miners were Europe's best and so it was that German miners settled in the area and started the removal of copper and lead ore, although some silver was found too.Goldscope is the evolution of the term Gods Gift or Gottesgab in German. The dam and reservoir were build to provide a semi reliable head of water to power a hydraulic system for pumping water from the mines.

Newlands Church is a lovely small chapel and restored school room is well worth the visit. The church is usually open, wipe your boots and pay this lovely, historic building a vist. Voluntary donations are welcome or buy a post card or information book.

Birk Rigg (house) is a modern architect designed house which lies on the site of the former 'purple house' that burned down in 2008. It is worth looking at on your return to the car. Originally the Mill Dam Inn was sited beside the ford and below the new house.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.