The Mite is one of the quiet rivers of West Cumbria, flowing through the grassy fells between Eskdale and Wasdale. On a day when the better known valleys are too crowded, Miterdale can be a welcome refuge.
The Mite falls into three very different sections. In its lower reaches it is a lowland river, winding its way through gentle fields on the way to Ravenglass, overlooked for most of this section by the northern flank of Muncaster Fell. In its middle section, roughly between Eskdale Green and the small parking space at Porterthwaite it is a woodland river, running through a lovely mature forest. In its upper reaches it is a mountain stream, running through an increasingly narrow valley before emerging into a surprising final glen.
The top of the Mite is rather unusual. Looking down on the area from above it looks as if Burnmoor Tarn must drain into the Mite, but a slight rise in ground level means that the tarn actually feeds Whillan Beck instead. Instead the Mite rises in a rocky glen, a wide point in the valley surrounded by low crags on all sides with waterfalls dropping down in several places.
The Mite has fed a number of mills in the past. The first comes just above Eskdale Green, where the river still feeds a mill pond. Muncaster Mill, where the river flows under the main A 595, has only recently stopped working, and is now a private house.
The upper reaches of the Mite are very accessible, with a path following the river from the glen at its head all the way to Porterthwaite. The next stretch can be followed along the road from Eskdale Green Sschool. After that access is limited, and the river is best seen from Lal Ratty, the Eskdale-Ravenglass Railway.
The River Mite rises in a rather lovely rocky glen between Illgill Head and Boat How.
The Mite flows west towards the sea, eventually merging with the Irt and the Esk in the tidal lagoon at Ravenglass.
Little Black Gill
Miterdale and Above the Wasdale Screes