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River Calder copyright Charlie Hedley

Miles Without Stiles 22: Calder Bridge


Route type: For all. A tranquil, riverside walk next to the stunning ruins of Calder Abbey, described as one of Britain’s most enchanting ecclesiastic relics - OS Explorer Map OL6

Distance: 2 km or 1.2 miles

Start point: Small informal car park near the church at Calder Bridge - grid ref. NY 042061

Turning point: Calder Abbey - grid ref. NY 051063

Facilities: None on route, but there is a pub in Calder Bridge

Getting there: Bus: X6 / 6 services call at Calder Bridge from Whitehaven and Millom. Car: A5086 and A595 from Cockermouth, or A5092 and A595 beyond Broughton in Furness.


From the car park, head towards St. Bridget's Church and go through a metal gate on the left. The path winds gently downhill, crossing a small stream and raised causeway to the wooded banks of the River Calder.

This is a particularly beautiful stretch of the river. The sandstone cliffs on the far banks are dramatic and the river alternates between deep pools and fast stretches. It is a popular spot for trout and salmon fishermen. Look out for dippers and wagtails, as well as herons and kingfishers.

After 1 km, you arrive at the boundary of Calder Abbey. There is no access to the ruins, as they are in private grounds, but you can get a sense of the grandeur and importance of the Abbey in medieval times. Founded in 1134 by Ranulph de Meschines, Lord of Copeland, for a colony of monks from Furness Abbey, it was originally a Benedictine monastery. The Abbey has been described as one of the most enchanting in the British Isles. You have to return to Calder Bridge the same way.


Map - Calder Bridge route