A quiet corner of the Lake District, just half an hour from the historic market town of Penrith in the Northern Lake District. Not only do the peaks surrounding the valley of Martindale provide some excellent walking routes with stunning views of Ullswater, it’s also home to Cumbria’s largest herd of wild red deer.
It’s likely you will see some deer whatever time of year you visit but the best time to go is Autumn. During the rutting season, the stags are at their most impressive, sporting huge antlers and easily make themselves known as they bellow to each other while guarding groups of females up to 30 strong. This sound in itself is an amazing experience, it echoes round the valley, creating an atmosphere that feels very much like a valley of the dinosaurs.
The Old Church of Saint Martin is the starting point and from here you can choose a flat walk along the valley bottom or head up either side of the valley and be rewarded with some fantastic Lakeland views. Either decision will give you great access to views of the deer, especially in the colder months when they are more likely to be lower on the hill side.
If you head right from the church up Raven Crag, then follow the ridge towards the head of the valley you’ll also take in Winter Crag and Beda Fell, from here you will be rewarded with fantastic views back over Ullswater, Martindale Common down to your left, Patterdale to your right and Rest Dodd and The Nab to the Front.
It’s isn’t necessary to walk as far as The Nab for great encounters with the deer however, as the path down the side of Beda fell back towards Martindale common provide plenty of chances for spotting the deer.
The minor road that tracks back up the valley from Dale Head Farm is a great way to finish your walk in Martindale, there’s plenty of places to stop and watch the deer grazing on the hill sides as you make your way back towards the church.
Distance from Langdale -
Approx. 33 miles
Approx. 1 hour drive
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