A guide to walks and days out
During your stay in the Lake District National Park you will find there is much to do, from walking fells and mountains to exploring the towns and villages. If you are visiting the region you probably love the great outdoors and walking. This guide shines a light over a few popular walks and ideas for days out. Despite its length, this article is still a very small sample of the many trails open to walkers in the region. This really is the very best natural landscape England has to offer.
Rydal to Grasmere
This trail takes in two lakes along with some decent, but not too steep fell. Leave Ambleside on the A591 heading towards Grasmere. Parking is available immediately after Pelter Bridge or at White Moss nearby. Take an OS map of the area to take you around the waters’ edge. On the western side, you can take the track above the lake where the views of the mountain range are wonderful. On the way you will discover two caves - the largest of which is accessible with a pool at its entrance. You can walk in, test the echo and hop around on the stepping stones – keep an eye out for frog spawn and small fish. From the caves you will come to the head of Rydal where Grasmere is visible in the near distance. By the weir is a super place to stop for a picnic. Return by the river track, through White Moss and pick up the track by the lake shore. Finally, it is worth returning via the pleasant Rydal Woods where you can find a bridge crossing over to the Rothay Manor Hotel and the Badger Bar for a well-earned pint.
Coniston Church Beck & Levers Water
This four mile walk originates at the centre of Coniston Village. Study your OS map to establish the exact route before departure. The route to the tarn, is all uphill at the start. Begin at the Co-op and find the path that leads up into the old Coppermines Valley, passing waterfalls, crossing old bridges, rising gently to give an increasingly dramatic view of the surrounding fell as you ascend. At the head of the valley, with The Old Man to your left, you can continue up to Levers Water, a boulder strewn reservoir situated at the foot of the rugged slopes of Great How, High Fell and Raven Tor. Then you can return the way you came.
Ullswater East Shore
The author and journalist Hunter Davies wrote, “If you only do one walk in the Lakes, then walk the east shore and fells of Ullswater.” After taking this journey you may well recall these few words of wisdom.
This walk can be done either south to north or the other way around. Explored from the southern end of the lake, dominated by Place Fell, St Sunday Cragg, Fairfield and Helvellyn, you take the path from Glenridding over to the east side of the water. Your easy-to-follow route takes you all the way to Sandwick and on to Howtown. You will be able to ramble all day with magnificent views of landmarks always in sight. For the return journey, climb aboard the steamboat from Howtown to Glenridding.
Arnside to Morecambe Bay Shore Walk
The view over Morecambe Bay to Arnside, from Woodside, is an everchanging one, a vista to rival that of any lake or tarn. For those that like a level walk, this will do nicely, for those that like a bit of drama, well there is plenty of that too. Drive around the head of the bay, via Milnthorpe, to Arnside village. Park up and simply follow the shore line leading from the village. You will pass woodland, walk under and over craggy cliffs and discover rock pools with crabs and fish. If the tide is out, there stretches before you, miles of shimmering sand. If it is coming in, or on the ebb, it is a stirring sight, as the water swirls and gurgles, mixing with the ever-present rivers that run through the bay. Tide times can be obtained from the Grange Tourist Information Centre.
Set near Hawkshead, this is possibly the easiest walk in the lakes, and one of the most picturesque. The route is a round lake circuit and easy to follow. Most visitors complete the loop in under an hour, but it’s not a sprint and there are plenty of places to stop and take in the views. Enjoy a homemade picnic for your lunch.
Grizedale Forest Park
The Grizedale Forest lies between Coniston Water and Windermere. It is a huge area of ancient woodland. At the heart is the visitor centre. This is the best place to start, picking up maps and information to get the most from your day in the forest. There is an information desk, shop, cafe, exhibition rooms, galleries, bike hire and a children’s play area. A well-defined map will show the many trails for both walking and mountain bikes. Part of the forest's diversity is its involvement with the arts. As you walk the trails you will discover a host of sculptures by such artists as Richard Harris and David Nash, both former resident artists. The big hike is to follow the Silurian Way. Nine and a half miles long, the walk takes you through both sides of the valley, taking in deep forest glades and climbing to higher viewpoints. Along the path you will see most of the sculptures and it’s estimated to take about five hours, so a packed lunch is a good idea. Many trails are open to mountain bikes so bring your own or hire cycles from Grizedale Mountain Bikes.
For more information about the National Park go to the Cumbria National Park's website, also the National Trust website for free downloads of maps and routes.
We have some lovely holiday cottages throughout the Lake District. Please visit our collection to feel inspired.