Rydal Water lies between Ambleside and Grasmere. Second smallest of the lakes it measures three quarters of a mile long, a quarter mile wide and only 55 feet deep. However, as the saying goes, small is beautiful and it is one of my favorite walks, full of changing views and great with children. As you approach Rydal from the Southern end try parking just over Pelter Bridge, if full go on to White Moss. As you walk up to approach the water, the view is classic, the lake stretching ahead with Loughrigg rising on the west and Rydal Mount and Heron Pike across the water.
When you get to the beginning of the walk, avoid going down to the lake shore but take the higher track above the lake, where you will have some wonderful vistas and, after a short rise, you will come to the two caves. Of the two, the largest is more accessible with a pool at its entrance. You can walk in and test the echo and hop on the stepping stones looking for frog spawn and little fish. From the cave, the track stays above the lake until you come above the northern head of Rydal. You can veer off and explore Loughrigg and its little tarn, then extend the walk down to Grasmere. An easy track goes down to this third water, which makes a perfect stop for a picnic by shallow waters, the weir and river. Return by the river track, through White Moss and pick up the track by the lake shore. Finally it is worth returning to the car park by the Rydal woods track where, at the end, is a little bridge crossing over to the Rothay Manor Hotel and the Badger bar for well earned pint.
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