Five Quiet Walks in Cumbria

By Beth Pipe

When Wordsworth wandered lonely as a cloud, it was clearly not a sunny Bank Holiday. You can’t really blame anyone for coming up here to admire the views – and we’d really miss everyone if they didn’t come – but if you’re looking for a bit of peace and quiet on your walk (not to mention parking!) then it can be a bit of a challenge.

To help you seek out the solitude you’re after, I’ve put together 5 walks that will help you escape the crowds and find some space; though I bet you’re thinking that now I’ve written about them, everyone will be there. While I suppose there’s always a chance that may happen, most of them are well off the beaten track, so I think we’ll still be OK.


River Eden at Armathwaite


Armathwaite is a beautiful little village along the Eden Valley. It’s easy to describe the Eden Valley as one of Cumbria’s greatest undiscovered gems, but the truth is it was “discovered” by the Romans and has been pretty busy ever since then. Any walk along the River Eden is a delight – seriously, grab a map, pick a spot and away you go; I promise you won’t be disappointed – but Armathwaite has the benefit of a village, cafe and pub at the end, not to mention plenty of parking around the bridge – and people ask what the Romans ever did for us...


Dungeon Ghyll


I can hear you tutting at your computer screen as you read this and telling me that Dungeon Ghyll isn’t a quiet walk; well you’re half right. Stickle Ghyll is probably one of the busiest walks in the Lake District, but Dungeon Ghyll right next door is usually pretty much ignored. You can either brave the crowds up the Stickle Ghyll route then peel away to descend over Dungeon Ghyll, or head up Dungeon Ghyll and carry on up and around the Langdale Pikes (granted they’re not quiet, but the views are stunning).


The Other Borrowdale


There are several Borrowdales in Cumbria but the one I’m referring to is just north of Kendal, along the A6 on the way to Shap.  There’s a large layby alongside the road, and even on a busy Bank Holiday I can pretty much guarantee you a parking spot. Wainwright himself described the valley as being “...the prettiest outside the National Park”. There’s a beautiful walk along the valley floor or, if you’re feeling a little more ambitious, head up and over Breast High Road and explore the deserted hamlet at Bretherdale Head.




This isn’t so much a walk as a wander, and it doesn’t sound promising to begin with, but trust me on this one. Sandscale is around a 10-minute drive from the centre of Barrow-in-Furness, but it is a world away from the hustle and bustle of the busy town. The enormous dunes form part of the Duddon Estuary and there’s plenty to explore. It’s absolutely perfect for kids to tear around and let off some steam, and for the grown ups there are numerous bird spotting opportunities – and be sure to pack a picnic; the views are stunning and the sunsets spectacular.


Ennerdale Water


Admittedly Ennerdale Water is probably quiet because it’s pretty tricky to get to, but it’s well worth the effort. There’s a very straightforward lap around the lake, which will suit most abilities and if you fancy adding on a few more miles, follow the River Liza along the valley towards Black Sail Hut – the most remote Youth Hostel in England. The highest fells in the Lake District surround you on all sides, but there’s a peace and tranquillity in the valley which is hard to beat.

Originally published 26/06/17

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