Places to Avoid the Crowds

February 8, 2021

If you would prefer to take a walk or explore in places to avoid the crowds how about visiting these 10 rarely visited dales and valleys in the Dales and Lakes.

It is likely to be very busy in the National Parks of Yorkshire and the Lake District this summer. However there is some excellent valleys and dales which I can almost guarantee will be quiet and peaceful. Not only will they provide quiet walks but stunning ones as well.

I have included some walks in each of the 10 selected valleys/dales, the ideal way to enjoy them is of course to walk!

1. Ennerdale, Lake District

A large lake/reservoir and an equally extensive upland valley stretching beyond the water are ripe for the explorer. A choice of low level walks and access to the higher fells are possible, all the more enjoyable due to the lack of cars. Cars are nor allowed in this dead end valley.

East end of Ennerdale

Walks: The best walks in Ennerdale are the Ennerdale Water Circuit, West of Ennerdale and the climb up Steeple and Haycock.

2. Littondale, Yorkshire Dales

A personal favourite. Littondale is a side dale off larger and popular Wharfedale. Most people drive past the unobtrusive entrance, missing out on picture postcard villages, riverside walks and easy walking on the high grassy ridges above.

Litton village

Walks: The best walks in Littondale are The Arncliffe Circular, Riverside walking in Littondale and the Hidden Valleys of Wharfedale.

3. Mallerstang, Northern Dales

Due south of Kirkby Stephen lies the rarely visited Mallerstang valley. The source of the River Eden, ancient castles and 4 of the Dales 30 mountains are all rarely visited or even heard of by visitors. However once you have come you will certainly return.

Walks: The best walks in Mallerstang are the the Ancient Castles of Mallerstang, Wild Boar Fell and the Source of the Eden.

4. Eskdale, Lake District

Eskdale is one of the most attractive valleys in the Lake District and there is an enormous choice of walks. The road through at times may be relatively busy but walk a few hundred yards and you will not see a soul amongst the craggy outcrops, hidden hollows and tumbling streams.

Upper Esk

Walks: The best walks in Eskdale are Discovering the Upper Esk, Craggy Eskdale Walking and the Climb up Scafell.

5. Coverdale, Yorkshire Dales

Moving from popular Wensleydale in to the side valley of Coverdale is like moving in to a different world. In Coverdale farming holds sway as it has done for 100s of years. The walking is between traditional and unspoilt villages, along the River Cover or up in to the wild and barren moors.

Horsehouse in Coverdale

Walks: The best walks in Coverdale are the Moors above Carlton, the Villages of Coverdale and from Coverdale to Colsterdale.

6. Other Borrowdale, Lake District

The Other Borrowdale is in the eastern fringes of the Lake District. It is one of the best places to avoid the crowds, one of a series of quiet valleys that is in fact more graceful Dales than rocky Lakes. The walk along the valley and back over the grassy ridge is enjoyed to the accompaniment of bird song alone.

Looking east down Borrowdale

Walks: the best walk in the Other Borrowdale is here.

7. Fry Up Dales, North York Moors

Many of the dales in the North York Moors become busy in the summer. However the two Fry Up Dales, accessed via the lovely Esk Valley do not. Low grassy ridges, hidden archaeological remains and the tranquil sound of the local famers will be the memories that you will take away.

Duck Bridge

Walks: The best walk in the Fry Up Dales is here

8. Raydale, Yorkshire Dales

Something different for the Yorkshire Dales. Not only is their an attractive patch of water to enjoy but the dale is ringed by some excellent ridges. These ridges offer some lovely walking and excellent views across the central Dales.

Chapel above Semer Water

Walks: The best walks in Raydale are the circuit of Semer Water and climbing Yockenthwaite Moor.

9. Duddon Valley, Lake District

The Duddon Valley is hidden away to the west of popular Coniston. There are few settlements to encourage visitors. However the walking is unsurpassed and on most of the walks you will hardly see a soul. Even the fells are quiet, unexplored and full of interest.

Great Stickle

Walks: The best walks in the Duddon Valley are the Dunnerdale Fells, Harter Fell and Dow Crag via Seathwaite Tarn.

10. Barbondale, Cumbrian Dales

This perfect U shaped valley near Kirby Lonsdale provides a hidden gem. The river meanders down the valley offering easy walking whilst above the ridge of Calf Top is one of the most satisfying walking experience in the Dales.


Walks: The best walk in Barbondale is here

For more information on places to avoid the crowds either refer to my blog on walks which are Hidden Gems or my full list of Away from the Crowds walks in the Lake District.

Enjoy your walking


PS: For full list of all my Best of walks follow this link

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