Lake District
Circular Walk
Eskdale to Hard Knott Fort

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I often wonder if the Romans who manned the fort at Hard Nott walked Eskdale and the surrounding fells, enjoying them as much as we do today.

Start at Dalegarth Station car park, the end of ‘old ratties’ run from Ravensglass.

The line was built in 1875 to serve the mine, but it’s a tourist service now.

It got its name ‘old ratty’ from its designer/builder a Mr Ratcliffe.

Take the road towards Boot, after 200 yard turn right to Eskdale church.

Established in the 12th century and rebuilt in 1881, It gained parish status after a 15th century petition to the Pope, prior to that baptisms and burials had to be held a St Bees.

Take the riverside path behind the church and follow it to Gyhll force, then on to the arched stone Doctors bridge.

Follow the path under Kepple Crag to rejoin the road again at Jubilee Bridge, a little further on another path to the left leads up to Hard Knott fort. Hard Nott forts roman name medio bogdum means ‘middle of the bend’. It was first excavated in 1889 and more recently in 1964 when a plaque was unearthed which dates its origin to Hadrian about 120 AD. And the garrison as the 4th cohort of Dalmatians, Yugoslavian recruits.

After the Romans left the Vikings came, and then the Normans under whose charge the monks of Furness abbey lay claim to Eskdale for flocks of sheep.

As you return by the same path to Doctors Bridge the views open up behind to Eskdale’s crags and fells.

Cross the bridge over Stanley Ghyll, named after the Stanley family who were Lords of the manor in the 14th century, and follow the path upstream criss-crossing the stream until you reach the final viewing bridge.

Climb if you wish to higher views but the surface can be slippery.

Return to the bridge and follow the beck downstream, keep on to the river and cross by the stepping-stones, take the path to the church then on to the ‘Old Ratty’ car park.

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