This walk starts from one of the Lake District's quieter valleys. Miterdale sits between Wasdale and Eskdale (the River Mite rises on the slopes of Illgill Head) but despite being between two of the most popular areas in the Western Lakes Miterdale is rarely visited (probably because of the limited access).
Our walk goes on to visit three stone circles on low hill between Illgill Head and Eskdale, then reaches Blea Tarn, before finally giving us a great view towards Muncaster Fell and the sea.
Length: 5.5 miles
We start from the Forestry Commission car park in Miterdale. This car park is at the end of a lane that leaves the main road at the western end of Eskdale Green, running past the school. This brings us to a gate that leads us onto the Forestry Commission land. The car park itself is a short distance beyond this gate, and is on a short section of road that looks to have become a dead-end when a newer bridge was built over the Mite.
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Cross the bridge next to the car park, and then turn right and follow the track that heads up the valley.
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This track soon brings us to Low Place farm. Follow the right of way through the farm buildings. The Just past the farm the track splits, with branches on both sides of the River Mite. Follow the left hand branch for a short distance until we reach a footbridge over the river. Cross the bridge and then continue along on the right hand side of the river.
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This track runs through an open area, then alongside a forest. At the first side of the forest turn right onto a faint path that climbs up the hillside, running close to the edge of the trees. Eventually the path levels out and crosses a wall, emerging on the edge of a wide grassy expanse - White Moss
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Our path is forced to make a detour away from the wall to get around the swampy top of Black Gill. It then heads north through the grass, before reaching a junction. Take the right-hand branch, which curves around to the right, passing around the edge of White Moss and heads towards Eskdale.
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Our path eventually brings us into the first of three stone circles. It then runs on to the second stone circle, before turning right to cross a slight dip before reaching the third and biggest of the circles. From here turn right again onto a very clear path that runs just to the left of an isolated craggy outcropping. Follow this path as it runs south, with Eskdale to the left.
Eventually this path merges with the main path coming up to Blea Tarn from Eskdale. The combined paths then run past Bleatarn Hill before dropping down to the tarn itself. We recommend taking the time to make a quick diversion to the top of Bleatarn Hill (clearly visible from the path) before continuing on.
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Once at the tarn follow the path as it runs along its south-eastern side, then turn right and follow it past the south-western side. Just past the tarn the path splits, with the left-hand branch running alongside a stone wall and the right-hand branch crossing the wall and climbing up a small slope. Take this right-hand branch, and follow it to Siney Tarn. The path then curves around the right-hand side of this tarn (a most unusual piece of water for the area, with a mix of open water and thick vegetation).
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At the far side of the tarn the path splits it two - take the right hand branch, which soon brings us to back to the edge of Miterdale, at the top of a grass covered gap between two plantations. (if you wish to cut the walk short this is the best time to do so - take the path that runs down the grassy gap to return to the valley bottom).
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To continue with our walk turn left onto the path that runs along the upper side of the woods, and follow this path as it runs between some low crags to the left and the trees to the right.
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After just over a third of a mile we approach a fence. Here one path swings away to the left, while another crosses a stile and continues to run alongside the fence. Take this second path, which once again runs between crags to the left and the trees to the right. After about half a mile the trees end, but our path continues on.
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Eventually the path reaches the western end of the open ground, passes through a gate and runs along a short narrow lane, before reaching a T-junction with another lane. Turn right and follow this lane back to the main road into Miterdale, then turn right to return to the car park.