A series of paths between these two villages in Upper Eskdale offer a variety of walks on gently rolling paths, with stunning views across the dale and the moors beyond.
• A wheelchair-friendly linear route between Commondale and Castleton (or vice versa) approx 2 miles.
• A less frequented route on the west side of the valley between the 2 villages. Approx 2.5 miles with lots of stiles and muddy in wet weather
• A short 2 mile circular route from Castleton
• A short 2.5 mile circular route from Commondale
• A 5 mile figure of eight, or circular route starting at either village.
The following description is for the figure of eight route and therefore takes in the entire route.
Starting at Castleton Station (point A on the map), head out onto the main road and turn left up the hill. Follow the road past 2 private drives on the left and tennis courts on the right. This is a steep hill on a fairly busy road, so take care. You’d also be forgiven for thinking it’s not desperately wheelchair friendly, but this is the hardest bit, so just keep pushing until the road bears sharp right across the moors. You should head straight on down a wide signposted track and if you’re going straight to Commondale, you need no further directions – just follow the track.
Alternatively, after less than a mile, 200 yards before Box Hall farm (B), a path heads left down through a gate to a clearly marked railway crossing. Cross carefully then go over the footbridge, through a gate, then uphill (pass the next gate on it’s left) until you reach a cross track left and right (D). Go left if you are heading back to Castleton. Heading right for Commondale, you are soon directed (by a waymark on an old gatepost) down to a wall next to a stand of trees and you need to follow the path next to this wall until a clear left-right dogleg on a track takes you towards Thorn Hill Farm. The path goes straight through the farmyard, with a customary yapping (but friendly) dog. This is a working farm, so expect plenty of mud as you pass through 2 metal gates and out into a field on the other side.
A ladder stile takes you over the wall ahead of the sadly derelict Westgate Farm, then diagonally down through 2 gates. Hug the wall on the right and head for another ladder stile in the wall ahead. Once over this, initially keep right through the gorse until a clear path heads down and left to a footbridge over Commondale Beck, then it’s over the railway line and left for 100 yards to the gate leading on to Commondale Station platform (C)
Commondale village is up the path, through the gates and left for half a mile along the road. To head back to Castleton (now on the wheelchair friendly path again, turn right and don’t deviate from it until you reach that steep hill above Castleton Station.
To complete the figure of eight route, repeat the walk over the railway and river at (B) but this time turn left at the top. After 50 yards climb the stile to the right, then head left through the middle of Scale Foot farm and through a kissing gate. (Have a mild panic at the “Warning – bull in field” notice, but rest assured that I didn’t see one). Head downhill through 2 fields before turning left through a gate, then right over a stile and a footbridge over the Esk. Clamber over 2 final stiles then uphill away from the river to a road. Turn left and head down the road for Castleton Station (and the Eskdale Inn) or straight on up a path to the main part of the village for it’s shops, cafe and the Downe arms.