Eskdale at the heart of the Lakes
Eskdale is a wonderful part of the Lake District much praised by Wainwright and still safe from the madding crowds. The Esk Valley abounds with wildlife, from tiny tree creepers, badgers and foxes to majestic buzzards. Red squirrels are often seen in the trees around Stanley Ghyll falls and roe deer have even been spotted from the Hotel! A glimpse of a barn owl at dusk, the sound of evening bird song, the glory of the stars on a clear night are all part of the magic of Eskdale.
The area offers a plethora of walks, gentle strolls along one of England's most enchanting rivers or through the old oak forests and up to the impressive waterfall at Stanley Ghyll. There are many opportunities for the energetic to scale the heights of Scafell and Scafell Pike or quieter fells like Illgill Head or Harter Fell.
Whillan beck is a small river running down through the village of Boot, joining the Esk just below the vicarage. Above Boot the Whillan cascades down from Burnmoor Tarn past pretty waterfalls to the working watermill in Boot Village.
Eel Tarn is a 45 min walk from Brook House Inn, and affords great views of Harter fell across the valley. Eskdale is a wonderful area for walking with something to suit all abilities. In winter the high fells can be challenging, but the valley is usually clear of snow with its position to the west of the higher fells. Eskdale also gets less rain than other areas of the Lakes and is usually the first place to brighten up on dull days.
Wasdale which was voted the "best view in England" is just a 20 minute drive from Boot. For lakes with water sports Windermere and Coniston are about 45 mins away and provide a great variety of boats for hire and training so you can gain some new skills whilst on holiday!
There are lots of things to see such as Castles, Roman Forts, Narrow Guage Railway, Owl Centre, and many activities such as Walking, Climbing, Canoeing, Biking etc. There is even a working watermill just a few minutes walk from Brook House.
Three major attractions in the valley are the Art Festival which takes place over the second May Bank Holiday, the Boot Beer Festival on the second Thursday after the bank holiday and the Eskdale Show on the last Saturday in September - this is a traditional Lakeland shepherds show with fell racing and hound trailing and where among other things you can see the prime of Herdwick sheep being exhibited and judged.
Just a short walk through the through the old oak woodlands of Eskdale and you will find the stunning Dalegarth Falls ( also referred to as Stanley Ghyll falls). This is one of the most impressive waterfalls in all of the Lake District and on a spring day when the sunlight dapples the thick carpet of moss and ferns and the green leaves are most vibrant, it is a walk not to be missed.
. In Autumn the colours are glorious when the sun is low in the sky and dark clouds hang over the fell tops.
The Ravenglass to Eskdale railway affectionately known as La'al Ratty terminates at Dalegarth station which is just a short walk from Brook House Inn. The train steams down to Ravenglass and the trip takes about 45 minutes, It is a great way to view the valley and its wildlife which does not seem to be disturbed by the passing train. From Ravenglass you can visit the historic Muncaster Castle and its owl centre. To get the adrenalin flowing mountain bikes can be hired from Dalegarth station. Eskdale has some great off road biking routes and you can even cycle down to Ravenglass and bring the bikes back on the train!