Stanley Ghyll

Eskdale Walk

Stanley Force - Eskdale

Please note there is a closure at Stanley Ghyll until 31 December 2024 for further details see Temporary Closures of Rights of Way.

There are lots of walk options in Eskdale with a bewildering network of paths, bridleways and ancient lanes. This little loop starting at Dalegarth Station makes the perfect introduction to the valley. It takes in some classic sections of woodland and explores a delightful section of the River Esk. Along the way you may spy the busy activity of red squirrel’s, and if you stand quietly by one of the deeper pools on the River Esk you might even catch sight of the shadowy outlines of salmon or sea trout making their way up stream. A bonus with this walk is the chance for an out and back leg to see the impressive waterfall in Stanley Gill - it is particularly dramatic after heavy rain.

Stanley bigGrade

Strenuousness 1

Navigation 1

Technicality 2

Start/finish Dalegarth Station GR NY173007

Distance 4.8km (3 miles)

Time 2 hours

Height gain 150m

Terrain valley road, rough lane, riverside path, old railway bridge, valley bridleway, narrow gill side path, rock steps, and wooded lane.


  • OS Landranger 89 & 96 (1:50 000)
  • OS Explorer OL 6 (1:25 000)
  • Harvey Superwalker XT Lake District West (1:25 000)
  • British Mountain Maps Lake District (1:40 000).
  1. NY173007 Turn left out of Dalegarth Station and follow the valley road 250m to a lane on the right (opposite the Brook House Inn). Join the lane and follow it down to St Catherine’s Church beside the River Esk. There are stepping-stones across the river at this point but they are often under water. The best way to cross the river is to turn left beside the church and follow the riverside path to the old railway bridge (now at footbridge) near Gill Force.
  2. NY178001 Cross the bridge and on the other side turn left and follow the rough path a short distance beside the river until it reaches a wall. At the wall the path turns right and makes a short climb up the bank to join the Eskdale Bridleway. Turn right onto the bridleway and follow it through the woods to a footbridge over Stanley Gill. Cross the footbridge and continue along the bridleway through a field to a junction with a rough lane/bridleway.
  3. NY171000 At the junction turn left and follow the track to the access point for Stanley Force. The footpath up to Stanley force climbs up beside the beck within the narrow confines of Stanley Gill and crosses three footbridges. The upper section beyond the second bridge is up a series of narrow rocky steps, which are often damp and slippery. This section is very impressive and is worth doing but care should be taken particularly with young children. Once you have seen the waterfall retrace your steps down the path to the junction with the lane/bridleway.
  4. NY171000 From the junction ignore the bridleways, instead follow the permissive path along the lane to the car park. Continue along the lane past the car park and follow it across a bridge over the River Esk and round to join the valley road. Turn right and follow the road back to Dalegarth.