Industrial history, a bishop’s palace, fell views and a river all feature in this amble

MAP: OS Explorer map OL5.

START AND FINISH: Dalston village centre. Please park considerately in the village. There are some parking spaces on the road leading to the White Bridge.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Buses 75, 73/73A and 620 stop in Dalston. The village is also served by the Carlisle to Barrow-in-Furness railway line (telephone 0871 200 2233).

REFRESHMENTS: Bridge End Inn, The Blue Bell, The Country Kitchen and Crumbs, all in Dalston.

DISTANCE: 6.1 miles


TIME: About 2.5 hours


OVERVIEW: Industrial history, a bishop’s palace, views of the Northern Fells and a riverside trail all figure in this gentle amble across farmland and along quiet tracks and lanes near the village of Dalston. Most of the walk is well signposted, particularly the first stretch, which follows the route of the Cumbria Way.

THE WALK: With your back to the Co-op shop, turn left along the main road and then, in a few yards, take the turning on your left. Soon after crossing the White Bridge over the River Caldew, turn right along a shady lane beside an old mill race. The lane, which is part of the Cumbria Way, soon passes between the buildings of Ellers Mill (see “points of interest” later).

Turn left at a minor road and then right at the next junction. In about 150 yards, soon after passing a turning on your left, cross the road and climb the stile beside the gate to continue alongside the mill race. On the other side of the paddock, cross the wooden stile to the left of a white gate and then swing left along a surfaced lane. The lane ends at another large white gate. Go through this and turn right.

When you reach a road, turn left to cross the bridge. At the junction with the main road, cross straight over to reach the pavement in front of the Bridge End Inn (0.9 miles from the start). Turn left and walk uphill for about 200 yards – until you see a narrow lane on the other side of the road. Turn left along this (signpost reads: “Public Way Hawksdale Hall”).

When the lane ends, go through the gate to walk along a rough track with a hedge/fence on your right. The track quickly swings sharp right through another gate. The route is obvious as it climbs slightly and crosses a field. When the track arrives at two gates close to each other, ignore the one on the right; go through the one beneath the solitary tree. The track eventually swings right – up to the dazzlingly white Hawksdale Hall (1.8 miles from the start). Go through the gate in front of the building and turn left along the surfaced lane.

At the next building, bear left along a rough track (signpost reads: “Public Bridleway Lime House, Gaitsgill”). As the track swings left, go through a gate straight ahead. The bridleway now heads south, following a line of oak trees on your left. You get your first view of the Northern Fells as you approach the buildings of Lime House School. Go through the metal kissing-gate and cross straight over the school’s driveway along a gravel track. Bear right when it splits in two and then turn right through another metal kissing-gate (signpost reads: “Public Footpath Rose Bridge”).

Follow the narrow, obvious trail through the grass (S). Having gone through one kissing-gate and over a stile, you reach the riverside path. Follow this until you reach a road (3.0 miles from the start).

Cross straight over and go through the metal kissing-gate opposite. Once down the steps, turn right (signpost reads: “Public Footpath Rosebank”). There isn’t a path on the ground, but you should aim for the gates to the left of a small group of oak trees. Go through the smallest of the gates and walk along the fenced, grassy path. The building up to your right now is Rose Castle (see “points of interest” later).

Having gone through one small gate along the way, you reach a large gate. Go through this to access a rising concrete track. Follow this as it swings right, but then leave it when it swings left. Go through the small gate on your right here. This grassy path around the back of the bishop’s residence soon becomes a vehicle track, which you follow to the road (3.6 miles from the start). At the junction, cross straight over to continue in the same direction along the road – towards Dalston and Carlisle.

Keep to the road as it swings left at the entrance to Lime House School. Immediately after passing a bungalow on your left, turn right along a shady path (signpost reads: “Public Footpath Hawksdale Lodge Farm”). This is easy to miss because the start of it is overgrown with nettles (4.2 miles from the start).

Cross straight over the next road and go through the large metal gate (signpost reads: “Public Footpath Hillside”). The right of way goes through a pair of metal gates and along a fenced belt of grass. The fenced area comes to an end at a metal gate. Go through this and continue in the same direction with the hedge on your left. In the field corner, go through another gate and turn right. Walk alongside the hedge on your right for about 250 yards and then turn sharp left. Although this turn is waymarked, there isn’t anything clear on the ground. The route heads NNW, swinging slightly more to the NW to reach the road via a stone stile just to the right of a large white cottage (4.95 miles from the start).

Turn right along the road. You can now follow the road all the way back into Dalston or, when you reach the Bridge End Inn, cross the road to retrace your outward route.

POINTS OF INTEREST: Ellers Mill is just one of the many mills in and around Dalston that once contributed to a thriving textile industry. By the 1840s, water – mostly from the River Caldew – had made Carlisle and its surrounding villages into the fourth most important textile producing-area in the country.

Rose Castle has been the home of the bishops of Carlisle since 1230, but the oldest part of the existing building is the pele tower, Strickland’s Tower, which dates back to 1340. During Word War Two, it was used as an RAF store and the bishop moved to Carlisle.

For short walks in the Lake District, try Vivienne Crow’s new books, Easy Rambles Around Keswick and Borrowdale and Easy Rambles Around Ambleside and Grasmere (published by Questa, price £3.99 each). Available in bookshops.