View of Coledale Beck copyright Charlie Hedley

Miles Without Stiles 30: Braithwaite to Force Crag Mine

Miles Without Stiles

A strenuous route that goes right into the heart of the hills. The gradients are not steep but rise continuously. OS Explorer Map OL4

Route for some. 8km distance.


This old mine track (4km each way) ascends gradually into Coledale, revealing dramatic views of the hills and a high fell experience.

The route goes through a gate at the far end of the small car park and rises at a gradient of around 1:10 for 200 metres. It has a well-drained and smooth surface. Go through another gate and the mountain views really open up with Outerside, Eel Crag and Grisedale Pike dominating. Don’t forget to look back to see Braithwaite village nestling below. Skiddaw, Blencathra and the northern end of the Helvellyn ridge form a stunning backdrop.

The old track undulates gently to imposing Force Crag and the old mine buildings, a scheduled ancient monument. Workings date back to the 1500s, but the mining industry really thrived from the mid 19th century onwards. Mineral deposits of zinc, copper, lead and barite were all mined and processed here for use in the glass, paper and chemical industries. Force Crag was the last working mine in the Lake District and closed in 1991. National Trust information panels outline its history or you can read more on our industrial heritage sites to visit page.

Please note that there are steep gradients in the small car park so park at the furthest (top) end if you can.  Also, there are no benches on this route.


Start point:

Mall Quarry car park above Braithwaite

Postcode: CA12 5SY
Grid reference: NY22727 23781
W3W: ///wallet.bleak.emulating

Turning point:

Grid reference: NY 201217
W3W: ///lookout.wicket.magically


None on the walk but there are pubs in Braithwaite plus the visitor centre, café and toilets at Whinlatter.

Getting there:

Bus: X5 and 77 / 77A run from Keswick to Braithwaite (no bus stop at car park itself but route does pass here)). Car: A66 to Braithwaite. Limited parking at start of route, if full do not park on the road at this point.