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Ennerdale Valley is a remote wild valley on the north western edge of the Lake District National Park. Ennerdale valley offers magnificent wild scenery with a wide range of walking and cycling opportunities. The valley also provides opportuntities for orienteering, biking, climbing, riding, canoeing and visiting historic sites.

You can find more details on the best ways to explore and enjoy this beautiful valley by downloading our visit Ennerdale guide or one of the trail maps.

From the car park at Bowness Knott the valley stretches 7 miles east with mountains on either side rise to nearly 3000ft asl.

Pillar and Ennerdale in the snow

Wild Ennerdale

Wild Ennerdale is a partnership between people and organisations led by The Forestry Commission, National Trust and United Utilities (UU) being the primary land owners in The Ennerdale Valley and Natural England, the Government's advisor on the environment.

Over the last five years the partnership has seen its work develop and broaden as individuals such as farm tenants, local businesses, the YHA, local people and volunteers have caught onto the excitement and vision that the original partners have developed.

Our Vision is "to allow the evolution of Ennerdale as a wild valley for the benefit of people, relying more on natural processes to shape its landscape and ecology".

Pease read our briefing note for more information about the Partnership or visit the Wild Ennerdale Partnership website to download our latest newsletter which is distributed quarterly to around 550 local households with thanks to the local Ecumenical Church Magazine team.

What do other visitors say?

2 Stars 2 Stars

The designated public footpath that runs south of Grike and Crag Fell (east-west direction) is in desperate need of repair after the deforestation work.

It was strewn excessively with debris (stumps, branches etc), badly rutted from heavy plant machinery and deeply unpleasent to try and navigate the route.

The rest of Ennerdale's Valley and surrounding tops are beautiful yet I worry the impact deforestation is having on the Lankrigg Moss directly below the path I mentioned earlier. Naturally wet before the floods, I sincerely hope there're plans to introduce natural woodland and restore the once very acessible path.

David W, 10/Apr/2016

We are sorry you didn’t enjoy your visit to Ennerdale however we are a little unsure as to where you are describing. There is a bridleway which runs past the Radio Mast which our local team checked around a month ago and report that it has suffered some water erosion during the heavy storms of this last winter but is passable. The harvesting work was completed around 3 years ago and did not use the bridleway for extraction other than a few crossing places. There is a gap in the forest that provides a link between the bridleway and the open fell which has always been very wet and which runs through an area of twisted stumps and trees which were badly windblown and could not be recovered during the harvesting. In addition illegal motorbike use has made this worse over recent months. We wonder if this the route you have discovered. Lankrigg is on the other side of the River Calder to the area we have harvested so we don’t believe its hydrology will be affected by tree felling. We agree with you that native woodland planting would be a good idea and are planning to plant the felled area with native broadleaves and Scots pine in the near future once the conifer branches rot down. If you would like to discuss this further please contact the Area Forester Gareth Browning on 07712751060.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars


As the shoreside track is meant to be a little-used accessway, why is it being widened and relaid?

I see a new turning point has bee dug into the hillside beyond the lake at the far side of the river. Are we to expect more heavy vehicles in that area?

Please keep Ennerdale as a quiet zone. No more roadbuilding!

Bryan, 14/Oct/2015

Thank you for your concern. I'm sorry if this work has reduced the enjoyment of your visit but please be assured we are not constructing new roads. We have regraded the existing road between Bowness Knott car park and Gillerthwaite Field Centre/Ennerdale YHA to remove the potholes to make the road safer for customers visiting the YHA and Field Centre. The turning point under Lingmell was improved to support future thinning of the forest as part of the Woundell Beck restoration project where we removed the old forest road bridge to improve the spawning for Arctic Charr, salmon and trout. Ennerdale continues to be a working forest as we remove non-native conifers and thin the forest to encourage a more diverse structure to develop and release native broadleaf natural regeneration. As part of this work we have started harvesting an area of larch trees north of Ennerdale YHA. This work will also protect a number of protected historic features from future risk of damage by trees falling over. The timber produced will be taken by lorry to sawmills over the next few months.

Forestry Commission Response

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Last updated: 29th June 2018

Help us take care of your forest

What's Here?

  • Canoeing
  • Caravan Site
  • Nearest caravan site is the Caravan Clubs site at Dockray Meadow just outside the valley.
  • Cycling
  • Bring your bikes to Bowness Knott and enjoy 14 miles of forest roads.
  • Dogs
  • Please keep your dog under control.
  • Easy Access
  • The walk from Bleach Green car aprk to the lake is easy and flat.
  • Educational
  • The walk from Bleach Green car aprk to the lake is easy and flat.
  • Horse riding
  • Bowness Knott provides the best access for horse riders wanting to enjoy the 14 forest roads and bridleway upt to Blacksail.
  • Information
  • Guide Leaflets can be purchased from local tourist information centres in Egremont, Whitehave and Cockermouth or download free from the Wild Ennerdale webesite
  • Ancient Monuments
  • Ennerdale is the best example of a settled medieval valley left in the lake District. Check out our Historic Features Guide Leaflet
  • Orienteering
  • Orienteering courses start from Bleach Green and Bowness Knott car parks. See for more information.
  • Parking
  • The car parks at Bleach Green and Bownes Knott are free and open all year round.
  • Picnic
  • Bowness Knott has a limited number of picnic tables.
  • Restaurant
  • Check out the community run pub The Fox and Hounds in Ennerdale Bridge
  • Trail (easy)
  • Check out the Smithy Beck Trail
  • Walking
  • From the short family Smithy beck Trail to a full day climbing onto Pillar there is something for everyone.
  • Trail (moderate)
  • Try the Round the lake Walk or Liza Path.
  • Viewpoint
  • The view from Bowness up the valley torwards Pillar with the shimmering Ennerdale Water in the foreground is one of the best views in the western lakes.
More about what's here


OS Grid ref: NY109153

Get directions


Gareth Browning
Beat Forester
017687 76816

Opening & Parking

The car parks at Bleach Green and Bownes Knott are free and open all year round.

Useful sites

Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification certifiedForest Stewardship Council certified

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.