Rosthwaite Circular Walk and Millican Dalton's Cave

A lovely circular walk from Rosthwaite, to the base of Castle Crag (with the option of climbing to the summit), onto Millican Dalton's Cave and then returns along the riverside path through the beautiful Borrowdale Valley, one of the loveliest in the Lake District.

  • Distance - 3.5 miles
  • Time 2.5 - 3 hours
  • Parking - National Trust car park in Rosthwaite (NT members free) or adjacent Borrowdale Institute car park
  • Public transport - Parking is limited so a good option is to take bus 78 from Keswick to Rosthwaite.
  • Notes -  some loose slate/boulders on uphill/downhill sections
  • Feedback - Please contact Keswick Tourism Association email [email protected]

1. Turn right out of the car park entrance. Shortly leave the metalled road and bear right between Yew Tree Farm and the Flock Inn Tea Room onto a walled track. The path bends to the right as it reaches the river. The track becomes cobbled and follows the river side. Cross over New Bridge and turn right. 

2. The path comes to 2 gates. Take the right hand gate (or stile). Continue on the path close to the river bank. The path then bends to the left away from the river. Follow the path through a gate into a woodland area. Continue through the wood. After some time the path gently rises and passes 3 heaps of slate.

3. After a gap in the wall climb a narrow path on your left to visit Millican Dalton’s cave. Go up to two inter-connected caves above a lower cave. You will know if you are in the right place when you find the words ‘Don’t waste Words, Jump to Conclusions’ inscribed on the wall. These words have been attributed to Millican Dalton.

4. Retrace your steps to the main path. Shortly the path forks, keep to the right and right again signposted Grange. Follow the rocky path downwards to a gap in the wall and follow it to the right downhill to the river. The riverside is a lovely place for a picnic.

5. The path goes back uphill and along to a gate with a stile. Pass through and drop down turning left just before the footbridge signposted Seatoller and Honister. Follow the path upstream. Cross the stream via rocks and a footbridge and continue on the path uphill. The route climbs steadily up a rocky path. When the path forks take the right hand path. If you are still feeling fit at this point a path to the left gives you the option to climb to the summit of Castle Crag. The route up to Castle Crag is short but quite steep. It is composed of loose slate which is slippery in wet conditions.

6. Back on the original path continue to the top of the hill. Shortly after the fence corner turn left off the path to a small gate. Follow the path downhill. When the path forks take the right hand path down to a stile and down again to a gate to re-join the path you walked on earlier. Cross New Bridge. Alternatively carry on a little further on the same side of the river to the stepping stones. Best on the way back just in case... there's no fun in walking with wet feet.

7. Once safely over the river retrace your steps back to the car park

Download pdf - Rosthwaite Circular walking route

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Did You Know?

Millican Dalton lived in the cave in summer on the side of Castle Crag for nearly 50 years. He spent his life outdoors and was self sufficient . Although a cave dweller he was not a hermit. He spent his days taking paying guests on rock climbing & mountaineering expeditions around the Lake District. Click here to read more information about Millican Dalton and his lifestyle.