Walk: Redbrow Bank, Eskdale

This short walk visits a quiet lower summit at the western end of Eskdale, Redbrow Bank, familiar to many who drive over the fell road to Ulpha, but from the lack of clear paths rarely visited on foot. This low summit sits just to the north of the main valley wall on the south side of Eskdale, and so offers unexpectedly good views up the valley, as well as a glimpse of the quieter lower reaches of the river.

Ascent: 350ft
Length: 2.25 miles
Map: Lakes South West
Last Walked: Winter 2011-12

We start from the small parking area just south of Forge Bridge, on the road that runs south from Eskdale Green towards Birker Fell and the Duddon Valley.

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Woods near Forge Bridge River Esk from Forge BridgeTurn right onto the road and follow it as it curves around to the left, heading from the Esk valley into a small side valley, passing one side road and some kennels.
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Soon after passing the kennels the road drops down a short steep slope. Just after this look for a footpath that branches off to the left, climbing up across the fell side. Take this path.
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Redbrow Bank from RiggThe OS map shows this path passing over the top of Rigg, the first rocky summit on this ridge, but on the ground the path actually passes to the right of Rigg, into the col between Rigg and Redbrow Bank. To visit Rigg look out for a suitable route up the slope to the left of the path. From the top of Rigg return to the path and continue on to the col.
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The Redbrow Bank ColRedbrow Bank forms something of a horseshoe, with the main summit at the far end and two ridges coming towards the col. The area is crisscrossed with minor paths and sheep trails, and any number of possible routes up to the top. I'll describe my route here, but there is no need to stick to it.

Eskdale from Redbrow BankAt the col turn right off the path and head up the grassy slopes in the centre of the horseshoe, heading towards the right when easiest. This will eventually bring the right-hand spur of the horseshoe into sight - head for this ridge, which offers the best views west down the Esk, then turn right and head along the ridge to the main summit - this has the best views up into the heart of Eskdale. From the summit continue on along the other spur of the horseshoe (this one is rather less distinct), then make your way back to the col.

At the col turn right onto the path, which runs past a wet area surrounded by a broken down stone wall and begins to drop down towards Milkingstead Wood on the northern slope of the hills.

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Milkingstead WoodInside the wood the path first heads left then turns sharply right. This brings us to a stone wall - the path crosses this and then runs alongside another wall through the next section of woodland and through the next field. This brings us to another rather broken down wall. The correct route runs close to this wall, passing an open but rather swampy field to the right to reach a patch of higher, drier and shrub filled land. The path runs into the shrubs, where it becomes much clearer. Follow this path until it reaches a much larger path that runs alongside the River Esk.
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Forge Bridge, EskdaleTurn left onto this path and follow it as it runs alongside the Esk, emerging on the road right by our parting place.