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This guidebook describes 30 of the best low-level walks in the Lake District. From delightful wooded glades and sparkling tarns, to waterfalls and glacier-carved valleys towered over by craggy mountains. The walks described aim to seek out the best walking that the lower areas of the Lake District have to offer.
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|Buy your choice of routes or chapters to read online, on your mobile device or to download as a PDF to print or read.||Browse Routes|
The Lake District offers some of the best walking in the British Isles, and contained within this book are 30 of the best low-level walks within the Lake District. This is an area that is justly famed for its magnificent scenery: from serene lakes and wooded valleys to spectacular hills and hidden tarns. But you don’t have to climb its highest mountains to appreciate this beauty; some of the region’s best walking can be enjoyed in the valleys and on the low fells.
Those who are new to walking in this much beloved corner of England will find gentle strolls, such as the circuit of Buttermere, as well as walks that provide a straight forward introduction to the low fells, such as High Rigg.
With her intimate knowledge of the National Park, Vivienne Crow knows just where to go to experience the best of the Lake District. In this book, she guides walkers to well-known beauty spots as well as some hidden gems – with background information on both the human and natural history adding to the experience.
We are always grateful to readers for information about any discrepancies between a guidebook and the facts on the ground. If you would like to send some information to us then please use our Feedback form. They will be published here following review by the author(s).
|Wildlife and habitats|
|Where to stay|
|Waymarking and access|
|Clothing, equipment and safety|
|Using this guide|
|South Lakes: Windermere, Coniston, Duddon and the south|
|Walk 1 Tarn Hows and the Monk Coniston estate|
|Walk 2 Kelly Hall Tarn and Coniston Water|
|Walk 3 Swinside Stone Circle|
|Walk 4 Claife Heights, Windermere and Latterbarrow|
|Walk 5 Hampsfell|
|Walk 6 Seathwaite Tarn|
|Central Lakes: Ambleside, Langdale, Grasmere and Thirlmere|
|Walk 7 Elterwater, Little Langdale and the waterfalls|
|Walk 8 Great Langdale|
|Walk 9 Circuit of Loughrigg Fell|
|Walk 10 Orrest Head and Wansfell Pike|
|Walk 11 Grasmere and Rydal Water|
|Walk 12 Easedale Tarn and Tarn Crag|
|Walk 13 Thirlmere circuit|
|Western Valleys: Eskdale, Wasdale and Buttermere area|
|Walk 14 Stanley Ghyll Force and River Esk|
|Walk 15 Upper Eskdale|
|Walk 16 Hardknott Fort and Harter Fell|
|Walk 17 Loweswater Corpse Road|
|Walk 18 Buttermere|
|Walk 19 Crummock Water and Rannerdale Knotts|
|North Lakes: Keswick, Borrowdale and Derwentwater|
|Walk 20 Walla Crag and Great Wood|
|Walk 21 Derwentwater circuit|
|Walk 22 A Borrowdale ramble|
|Walk 23 Castlerigg Stone Circle and High Rigg|
|Walk 24 Outerside and Barrow|
|Walk 25 Wythop’s Fells|
|Eastern Lakes: Ullswater and Patterdale|
|Walk 26 Grisedale and Lanty’s Tarn|
|Walk 27 Aira Force and Gowbarrow|
|Walk 28 Steel Knotts and Hallin Fell|
|Walk 29 Ullswater shore|
|Walk 30 Ullswater and The Cockpit|
|Appendix A Useful contacts|
|Start/finish||National Trust pay-and-display car park in Elterwater (NY 328 047)|
|Distance||11.4km (7 miles)|
|Total ascent||365m (1190ft)|
|Terrain||Good tracks; rough path along base of fells; quiet lanes; woodland trails|
|Maps||OS Explorer OL7; or OS Landranger 90|
|Refreshments||Britannia Inn, Elterwater|
This walk starts in Great Langdale but quickly crosses to the gorgeous neighbouring valley of Little Langdale, where it picks up a little-used path along the base of Lingmoor Fell. With several ups and downs and some rough ground underfoot, this is the only part of the whole route that could be classed as anything but ‘easy’. With stunning views across Little Langdale Tarn towards Wetherlam and Swirl How, the bit of extra effort is amply rewarded. Stony tracks and quiet lanes then lead east towards the woods surrounding Colwith Force and Skelwith Force, two impressive waterfalls. The easy stroll back into Elterwater, with its excellent views of the Langdale Pikes, is a perfect way to end a perfect day.
Leave the car park, turn left and walk along the road for about 300m. Then, as you draw level with the Eltermere Inn on the left, take the lane on the right – a cycle route to Coniston. Keep left at a fork – signposted Little Langdale.
The track rises gradually as it crosses into Little Langdale. Emerging from the trees and with the Coniston Fells providing a spectacular prospect ahead, you’ll pass a path to Wilson Place on the left. About 200m after this, go through a small gate next to a larger gate on the right – set back slightly from the track.
A trail heads uphill, passing through two small gates as it does so. A few strides beyond the second of these, the path swings right and begins climbing more steeply. Leave it here by taking the less well-walked trail on the left. This soon follows the intake wall, which is your companion for the next 1.1km.
The vista across Little Langdale Tarn with the craggy slopes of Wetherlam and Swirl How rising dramatically behind it is captivating. There are many ups and downs as the path skirts the base of Lingmoor Fell. The top of one such rise affords the first uninterrupted view of the head of this beautiful valley.
Almost 1.1km beyond the last gate, the path drops into a small, wooded ravine. Don’t be tempted by a faint path on the right; keep close to the wall. After negotiating a rock step, ford the small beck and go through the gate above. A narrow path runs beside the wall on the left for a while, but dissolves into the mire after about 200m. Now, simply keep to the high ground, staying reasonably close to the wall on the right and the way ahead will become clearer again.
Turn left when you reach the road and then go right at the T-junction. (A track on the right just before the junction cuts the corner.) About 300m after the junction, cross a bridge on your left and go through the gate to gain a track – signposted Tilberthwaite. After the cottage at Bridge End, the track climbs gently. Keep left at any forks and you’ll eventually pass through a gate to find yourself on a walled route close to the old quarries.
Watch for Slater Bridge, a popular beauty spot, down to the left after passing two sets of buildings. It is also possible to explore the disused quarry workings by crossing a stile beside a locked gate to the right of the main track about 150m beyond Slater Bridge. The stile provides access to a track that climbs to a short tunnel leading into the impressive cavern known as Cathedral Quarry.
Back on the main track, you reach a wooden footbridge across the River Brathay. Don’t cross it; instead, turn right and then keep left as the track splits. Pass some buildings at Stang End and then reach a whitewashed farmhouse at High Park. Immediately after this, go through the kissing-gate next to the cattle grid on the left. Walk down the track towards the farmhouse, but then go through another kissing-gate on the right to pick up a clear path across two fields.
On entering the woods, bear left at a fork. The path descends through the trees to the banks of the River Brathay. Two trails on the left provide views of Colwith Force: the first takes you to the top of the falls; the second, at the bottom of a pitched path, provides a more interesting perspective near the base of the white-water drop.
Beyond the falls, continue with the beck on your left. As you near a road bridge, descend a rocky section and cross the stile to reach a minor road. Turn right and, in about 100m, go through a tiny gated stile on the left – signposted Skelwith Bridge. Follow the clear path over a couple of stiles and up to some buildings. Cross the track here and continue on the path. At the next track, cross diagonally left to pass beside the guesthouse. Go through the large wooden gate to access a rough track between two walls. Follow this to the right at a fingerpost.
On nearing the next set of buildings, including Park Cottage and Tiplog, go through a pair of metal kissing-gates to join a track. About 130m beyond the cottages, take the surfaced path on the left. After entering the woods, ignore a path to Skelwith Bridge on the right and continue downhill to cross a bridge over the River Brathay. To visit the second waterfall on this route, Skelwith Force, turn right and continue along the beck for about 80m. The main route, however, goes left after the bridge.
A well-constructed path now heads across riverside meadows, alongside the lake – Elter Water – and in and out of woodland, with some great views of the distinctive Langdale Pikes. It eventually follows Great Langdale Beck back to the Elterwater car park.