A quintessentially Lake District landscape of rolling fells, a lake and fantastic views. This place is worth a visit for anyone who loves the Lakes but doesn't love the crowds. You can spend a day walking here, even in Summer without ever seeing more than a handful of people.
Those that do venture out to this South Eastern edge of the Lake District, will be rewarded with some great walking where all sides of the Valley are waiting to be explored. You can park at the top of the valley to explore the more well known fells, Tarn Crag on Sleddale fell and Buckbarrow Crag below, (a favourite with local climbers) or head North towards Harter fell and Mardale. The Bridleways over to the neighbouring Kentmere valley are popular with Mountain Bikers.
We decided to explore the western side of the Valley. There is a quaint little church about half way down the valley, opposite this there is a large car park, the parking fees are more than reasonable at just £2 per day, so it makes a pretty good starting point.
From here we crossed a small bridge and tracked the river Sprint for a mile or so along the valley floor. There are several farmsteads along this stretch and although there are some modern buildings around, they generally have a very traditional look and feel.
When we reached the farm named Tills Hole we headed up the hill side. Very quickly the landscape changes from farm land to open fell, turn back and there's some beautiful views both up and down the valley. Look out for the Rough Fell Sheep that roam the area.
Continuing on, Cocklaw Fell levels out and the vast expanse of cotton grass, heather and rushes seems to go on forever. From here, you could continue on this path over into the Kentmere Valley and down in to the popular village of Staveley. We turned off at this point, but we did see the famous Kentmere fell ponies grazing the hill side which was a real treat.
We looped back to walk past the beautiful Skeggles Water (What Lake District walk would be complete without a body of water?!) A great place to sit and take in the sights and sounds including the elusive Cuckoo and the over friendly highland cattle that graze the fell.
We were planning on completing our loop and following the footpath back down the hillside but instead we chose to retrace our steps so we could walk up valley floor to see the beautiful Longsleddale bridge in the tiny hamlet of Sadgill at the top of the valley.
It was worth the walk, the bridge was beautiful and even the walk back along the winding narrow road to the church was lovely, as there's so few cars. It's easy to see why John Cunliffe took his inspiration from here when he wrote Postman Pat. You can certainly see the resemblance to Greendale!