Westerdale and Crown End

Westerdale, as the name suggests is the westernmost dale of the valley of the River Esk, although why Westerdale and not just Eskdale is lost to time.

It’s a dale which has escaped the 19th-century mineral extraction of other valleys. There was some jet mining but this was mostly small scale and has not left much of an impact on the landscape. But in the early part of the 20th-century, Westerdale had a narrow miss when its bituminous shales were investigated as a source of oil but were found to be uneconomic.

The ridge of moorland separating the dale with Baysdale, extreme right in the photo, is Crown End, a site that is rich with evidence of prehistoric habitation. A Bronze Age ring cairn, cairnfields, cross ridge dykes, Iron Age enclosures and slag from early iron smelting.

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