Swaledale Museum
Swaledale Walk 1 - Muker to Adelaide Level
Total Distance: 3 miles / 4.7 km
Total Ascent: 490 ft / 150m
Approx Time: 1.5 – 2 hrs
Grade: Easy

A delightful short walk through hay meadows via part of the Swaledale Corpse Road, crossing the River Swale to take a good but little used path through mixed woodland to Adelaide Level lead mine: a great spot for a picnic with lovely views across to Kisdon Hill. Look out for the replica carved keystone for the mine (the original is in Swaledale Museum).

Muker. Council Car Park just across Muker Bridge from the village centre.
Grid Reference: SD 91041 97808
Pub and cafes in Muker


  1. From the car park, cross bridge and walk upstream, along road.
  2. Immediately after Muker Tea Shop turn R and take narrow path leading R from the Farmer’s Arms terrace. Turn R onto lane.
  3. Keeping L, join footpath to Keld then through gate.
  4. Where track bears sharp L keep ahead through second gate alongside wall. Continue along grassy track through four more gates to reach a barn.
  5. Immediately after barn turn sharp R heading for footbridge with wall first on your L and then on your R. Cross bridge, climb steps then follow path signposted Keld for 75m.
  6. Turn sharp R onto Swale Trail, climbing gently.
  7. Soon after track levels out, look for a grassy path, sharp L. Take this path rising gently through Ivelet Wood. After a while, the mixed woodland thins, affording fine views of Kisdon Gorge.
  8. As the path bends R into Arn Gill, pass between stone retaining walls to reach Adelaide Level. After exploring (do not enter the mine), retrace your steps back to Rampsholme footbridge. Cross bridge keeping R.
  9. Take footpath on L for Muker. Continue on flagged path across meadows back to village.

    Points of Interest

  1. You are on the Swaledale Corpse Road, a route from Keld to Grinton along which coffins were taken (on foot) to consecrated ground at Grinton Church. From Keld the route follows the path over Kisdon Hill above you.
  2. At the annual Muker Show, fell runners of all ages ford the river just downstream from here then climb directly up to the limestone scar above you. The winning time for the round trip back to Muker is usually under 12 minutes.
  3. Looking ahead across Kisdon Gorge you can make out Crackpot Hall. Long abandoned, Ella Pontefract wrote in the 1930’s of a ‘wild’ 4 year old girl Alice who lived here. Alice was very much alive when recorded for a BBC Radio 3 documentary in 2015.
  4. The original keystone for Adelaide Level mine was rediscovered in 1998 and is now in Swaledale Museum. The replica here was installed when the entrance was rebuilt in 2008/10. This profitable mine was first cut in 1865 and was still being worked in the early 20th century.
  5. The fields around Muker contain some of the finest hay meadows and ‘barns and walls’ scenery in England.

Lady Adelaide Lamont was born Adelaide Eliza Denys in 1842, daughter to Sir George Denys of Draycott Hall near Reeth, a major landowner and mining entrepreneur in Swaledale. Adelaide married Sir James Lamont in 1868, reluctant MP for Bute, scientist, hunter, writer and arctic explorer who gave his name to an island north of Russia. A forceful character (described by opponents as a ‘Darwinite murderer of seals’), Sir James tried Adelaide’s considerable patience.

The couple had three children, Alexander (who died in the Boer War), Sir Norman (gored by a bull in Trinidad), and Augusta (scientist, writer, painter and GP), none of whom married.

Adelaide died in 1925 in Westminster.


All underground photos, David Harper and Paul Steggles (2010). Many more of their photos can be seen in the museum. Photos have been cropped for presentation.

Further Reading

Clough, Robert , The Lead Smelting Mills of the Yorkshire Dales and Northern Pennines their architectural character, construction and place in the European tradition , first published 1962 1,3 
esp. chapter 5 on Swaledale,

Cooper, Edmund , Muker: The Story of a Yorkshire Parish, Dalesman Publishing Company, 1948 (republished by Hayloft, 2018) 3

Fawcett, Edward. F , Lead Mining in Swaledale, Faust Publications 1985 3
Fawcett (d.1939) formed a partnership to work the mines at Arngill and Ivelet, and this is his manuscript history edited by Brian Lee.

Plowright, Alan , John Henry’s Journeys Two Long Distance Walks in the Yorkshire Dales in 1879 , Moorfield Press, 2009 3
see esp.pp.47-52 for Muker.

Swaledale Museum Newsletter , No.11 on Adelaide Level at: http://swaledalemuseum.org/pdf/newsletter_archive/Summer%202011.pdf

1: available from Museum bookshop. 2: available via our online shop. 3: available in our Library - contact us to arrange viewing.