Just north of Staveley, Kentmere is the source of the River Kent whose fast flowing water was utilised by a number of mills here in the 19th century.

For the first part of the journey from Staveley the narrow road through the four mile (6.4km) long valley is shaded by trees. After a while the views open out and then later you reach a few houses and St Cuthbert’s Church.

The church has a bronze memorial to the preacher Bernard Gilpin, the Apostle of the North. He was born in 1517 at nearby (and privately owned) Kentmere Hall which is easily identified by its 14th century pele tower. There’s very limited parking just beyond the church but nothing for cars after that.

This is the usual starting point for the Kentmere Round, a 12 mile (19.2km) hike that takes in Yoke, Ill Bell, Froswick, Thornthwaite Crag, Mardale Ill Bell, Harter Fell and Kentmere Pike. Some of the fells overlook Kentmere Reservoir, about three miles (4.8km) north of the church.

From Kentmere paths go one way to Troutbeck, via the Garburn Pass, another way to Longsleddale and a third way, via Nan Bield Pass, to Haweswater.

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