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Middle and upper Martindale from Steel Knotts

Martindale is a valley and civil parish in Westmorland, within the Lake District National Park. It lies amongst the fells between two large lakes, Ullswater and Haweswater. The valley is served by a narrow minor road which runs up to the farm at Dale Head.


Martindale runs for approximately five and a half miles in a north to south direction, it is a remote and thinly populated valley which has a permanent population of only about 50 residents.[1] The foot of the valley is located at the small hamlet, Sandwick, on the western shore of Ullswater, while its head is situated on the slopes of Rampsgill Head where the headwaters of Howegrain Beck rise at a height of around 2,300 feet above sea level. The upper part of the valley is divided into two branches by the fell of The Nab, these two branching valleys named Bannerdale and Rampsgill contain the streams of Bannerdale Beck and Rampsgill Beck which meet at a point midway down Martindale to form Howegrain Beck which then becomes the main watercourse for the lower part of Martindale and which enters Ullswater at Sandwick.[2][3] Just before reaching Sandwick, Martindale is joined by the side valley of Boredale, which enters from the south.

Deer reserve

The upper part of Martindale around The Nab is a deer reserve which is not open to the public and contains no rights of way. The reserve is home to the oldest native red deer herd in Britain. Hill walkers are requested by the Dalemain Estate, which owns the reserve, to keep to preferred routes which avoid the herds when climbing The Nab, which is now open access land.[4]

At the foot of The Nab is “The Bungalow”, a former shooting lodge which was built in 1910 by Hugh Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale for a deer shooting visit by the German Emperor Wilhelm II in 1910. Today The Bungalow is used as self-catering accommodation which houses 12 people.[5]


The Bungalow in the deer reserve

The main area of habitation in the valley is situated in its lower area where the road comes over the hause from Howtown. Here there is Hause Farm, The Old Reading Room and a few self-catering holiday homes. At the top of the hause is St Peter’s Church, often referred to as the New Church, it dates from 1880. Five hundred yards further up the valley is the restored St Martin’s Church: the present building dates from the end of the 16th century. Other farm buildings in the mid and upper parts of Martindale are Winter Crag, Knicklethorns, Henhow, Thrang Crag and Dale Head.

Martindale is surrounded by the Far Eastern Fells and is a popular starting point for hillwalking. One of the most popular walks is the Martindale Skyline, a 10-mile walk with just over 3000 feet of ascent which takes in many of the peaks around the valley including Beda Fell and Steel Knotts.[6]

Outside links


  1. English Lakes: Martindale
  2. Landscape Heritage: Martindale
  3. Wainwright, Alfred: A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book Two — The Far Eastern Fells (1957)
  4. Dalemain Estate
  5. Dalemain Estate - Accommodation
  6. BBC: Park and Stride article on the Martindale Skyline walk
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