Forestry Commission logo

Discovery Pass

Discover the
freedom of
the forest…
every day of the year…

Get free parking, discounts on events and much more with an annual Discovery Pass


The ultimate free guide to our forests

Forest Xplorer running on iPhone and Android devices
Colour rating today: still green still green

Ennerdale Valley is a remote wild valley on the north western edge of the Lake District National Park. Ennerdale valley offers magnificent wild scenery with a wide range of walking and cycling opportunities. Have a look at our Visitor Guide for an over view of what Ennerdale has to offer you or enjoy our waymarked Smithy Beck trail. The valley also provides opportuntities for orienteering, biking, climbing, riding, canoeing and visiting historic sites. Find out more at Wild Ennerdale.

From the car park at Bowness Knott the valley stretches 7 miles east with mountains on either side rise to nearly 3000ft asl.

Pillar and Ennerdale in the snow

Wild Ennerdale

Wild Ennerdale is a partnership between people and organisations led by The Forestry Commission, National Trust and United Utilities (UU) being the primary land owners in The Ennerdale Valley and Natural England, the Government's advisor on the environment.

Over the last five years the partnership has seen its work develop and broaden as individuals such as farm tenants, local businesses, the YHA, local people and volunteers have caught onto the excitement and vision that the original partners have developed.

Our Vision is "to allow the evolution of Ennerdale as a wild valley for the benefit of people, relying more on natural processes to shape its landscape and ecology".

Pease read our briefing note for more information about the Partnership or visit the Wild Ennerdale Partnership website to download our latest newsletter which is distributed quarterly to around 550 local households with thanks to the local Ecumenical Church Magazine team.

What do other visitors say?

Hi. Are there any restrictions on access to and in Ennerdale currently? I know there were due to P.Ramorum when I last visited ( Sep 2013 ).

Rick Morgan, 12/Jun/2015

There are no closures or diversion in the valley currently. We are planning some work later this year, which will close parts of the forest but no rights of way will be closed. Enjoy your visit.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

Please, please,please! no signs in Ennerdale, thats the whole point of wild Ennerdale.

M G Bowles, 3/Aug/2014
3 Stars 3 Stars

I was disappointed at the number of cars that were ignoring the private road signs at Bowness Knott and continuing to drive down the forestry road. There was a continuous haze of road dust from cars driving to various swimming and picnic spots along the northern side of the lake. it gives a whole new meaning to the phrase WILD ENNERDALE. I believe that there needs to be a stronger warning notice, possibly with some teeth behind it

Anonymous, 23/Jul/2014

Thanks for taking the time to get in touch about your experience at Ennerdale. There are a number of vehicles that do have right of way along the forest road, including vehicles associated with the field centre and youth hostel, delivery vehicles, post van, landowners etc. There is a 15mph speed limit which we will reiterate with those concerned following your feedback. At that speed they shouldn’t create any dust. We will also look into your suggestion of producing some signs to reinforce to visitors the status of the road and limit the road use to those with legitimate access.

Forestry Commission Response
More user comments

Please tell us about your visit

Please email us at if you have an enquiry or would like a reply to your comments.

Email addresses will not be shown
Please help us reduce the amount of spam we receive by entering the following characters in upper or lower case without the quotes into the box below: "5LS"

Be a forest hero

Get the latest news, information & offers

Sign up for our emails

What's Here?

  • Canoeing
  • Caravan Site
  • Nearest caravan site is the Caravan Clubs site at Dockray Meadow just outside the valley.
  • Cycling
  • Bring your bikes to Bowness Knott and enjoy 14 miles of forest roads.
  • Dogs
  • Please keep your dog under control.
  • Easy Access
  • The walk from Bleach Green car aprk to the lake is easy and flat.
  • Educational
  • The walk from Bleach Green car aprk to the lake is easy and flat.
  • Horse riding
  • Bowness Knott provides the best access for horse riders wanting to enjoy the 14 forest roads and bridleway upt to Blacksail.
  • Information
  • Guide Leaflets can be purchased from local tourist information centres in Egremont, Whitehave and Cockermouth or download free from the Wild Ennerdale webesite
  • Ancient Monuments
  • Ennerdale is the best example of a settled medieval valley left in the lake District. Check out our Historic Features Guide Leaflet
  • Orienteering
  • Orienteering courses start from Bleach Green and Bowness Knott car parks. See for more information.
  • Parking
  • The car parks at Bleach Green and Bownes Knott are free and open all year round.
  • Picnic
  • Bowness Knott has a limited number of picnic tables.
  • Restaurant
  • Check out the community run pub The Fox and Hounds in Ennerdale Bridge
  • Trail (easy)
  • Check out the Smithy Beck Trail
  • Walking
  • From the short family Smithy beck Trail to a full day climbing onto Pillar there is something for everyone.
  • Trail (moderate)
  • Try the Round the lake Walk or Liza Path.
  • Viewpoint
  • The view from Bowness up the valley torwards Pillar with the shimmering Ennerdale Water in the foreground is one of the best views in the western lakes.
More about what's here


OS Grid ref: NY109153

Get directions


Gareth Browning
Beat Forester
017687 76816

Opening & Parking

The car parks at Bleach Green and Bownes Knott are free and open all year round.

Useful sites

Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification certifiedForest Stewardship Council certified