The Isle of Mull is one of the most picturesque of the inner Hebridean islands of Scotland. It has a bounty of fantastic wildlife, secluded white sand beaches, waterfalls to die for and character filled villages that are welcoming and full of the most amazing people.
Hardcastle Crags & Blake Dean | A beautiful place to visit
Blake Dean a little further up the valley from Hardcastle Crags towards Colne was the site of a narrow gauge railway built to service the building of the reservoirs above the site. A vast wooden trestle bridge used to cross the valley all that remains now though are the stone foundations. The bridge was sold at auction and dismantled for reclamation in 1912. The main reason for visiting this area though is the beauty of the countryside and the network of paths through the valley.
Where to stay
If your planning to make a weekend of it or may be a little longer there are plenty of accommodation options for all budgets. Campsites, B&B’s, Pubs with rooms and the odd luxury Hotel. Click Here for some options
Map of the Hardcastle Crags & Blake Dean route. If the download file for gps option does not work then just right click on the link and choose the save as option.
Park on the road as near to the bridge as you can. It can be quite difficult to get a spot at busy times. Look for the gate just at the side of the bridge. Continue to follow the path you will reach a small wooden bridge cross this then take the steps up the side of the hill. Looking down from here as you gain height you will be able to see the grassy area between the two rivers. This is a great place to sit and relax with a picnic and the kids can paddle if you have any with you.
At the top of the stepped path the ground will level out onto a wide grassy pathway. This is the route the old railway took believe it or not. If you look down into the valley you can see the stone built pillars the wooden bridge was built on. Ignoring the signed path that turns off left continue over the stile and through rough ground until you reach a gap in the wall.
Through the hole in the wall and we enter a wooded area. The path initially goes slightly right and down hill but then turns left a little and uphill. Keep to the left had side of the path and continue slightly upwards until you reach another wall with a gap. Go through this then follow the wall. You will pass by the front of a house.
Just past the house the path turns into a track through the woods. Follow the track. This is a very beautiful part of the walk at any time of year.
You will reach a point on the track where the path passes over a stream on a bridge with wooden sides. We turn off the track here just after the bridge on the right hand side. Follow the path down to another bridge over the river keep left past the stone building. This path follows the river crossing several wooden bridges and after a good walk brings you to the Gibson Mill complex.
Here there are toilets a cafe picnic area and stepping stones over the river. If you follow the road to the back of the mill you can walk round the old mill pond and get some great shots of the mill reflected in the water. There are stepping stones here to get across but they are in poor repair. A better option is to retrace you steps.
We retrace our steps now back down the side of the river past the upper mill pond until we come to a fork in the path with a board explaining why they are removing some of the mature trees. Follow the left hand branch. This path takes you up to the top of the valley and back onto the route of the old railway line. Follow the path through the trees when the trees open up you can see across the valley and below the path we were on earlier.
Eventually you will emerge from the woods back onto open ground. Go straight ahead here onto a newer path that bypasses most of the road walk. The route follows the road but just underneath. We pop out through a stile and walk the road back down to the starting point. Thats us done on this route but hopefully you have your picnic and you can go back down to the stream and enjoy being outdoors.
If you fancy a bite to eat and a drink you can drop into the cafe at Gibson mill. A good option is a picnic. There are plenty of places to sit and relax. My favourite is just at the start of the walk on grassy ground between the two rivers.
There are plenty more walking routes to explore within the Blake Dean & Hardcastle Crags area or take a walk into Hebden Bridge. If you’re staying a little longer Check out our Pendle Hill walk about thirty minutes away. Howarth is quite close by with it’s heritage trains, quaint streets and Bronte connections. As is Wycoller country park.
Walking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk. The information in this post is provided free of charge and is only provided as a guide; it is each walker’s responsibility to check it and navigate using a map.
Booking resources for your trip to Hardcastle Crags
Tours & Tickets
You can book your visits as you go at the entrance to your chosen attraction or site. Or you could use the following links to book in advance or just to find out what your choices are in the area. GetYourGuide and Tiqets are our go to choices you could try Viator to see how they compare.
For a full list check out our resources page. Don’t forget always shop around to find the best deal for you. What works for us should be good for you but it’s always reassuring to check.
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