River Calder copyright Charlie Hedley

Miles Without Stiles 22: Calder Bridge

Update 3 Feb 2023: Please note that the zig zags at the start of this route have a slope of 1:8 for a short distance. We are investigating whether this can be made more level.

Miles Without Stiles

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

Route for all. 2km distance.


From the car park, head towards St. Bridget's Church and go through a metal gate on the left. There is a zig-zag path to bypass the steps but be aware that this is steep (1:8) and has a cross slope. The path then 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.


Start point:

Small informal car park near the church at Calder Bridge

Postcode: CA20 1DH
Grid reference: NY 042061
W3W: ///again.dweller.blacken

Turning point:

Grid reference: NY 051063
W3W: ///solution.reworked.tables


None on route, but there is a pub in Calder Bridge and (with Changing Places facilities, radar key required) at Ravenglass Station a few miles away..

Getting there:

No public transport to route start point. Car: A5086 and A595 from Cockermouth, or A5092 and A595 beyond Broughton in Furness.