Walks

Alcock Tarn near Grasmere. Until a Mr Alcock came along in the 19th century and dammed the tarn so he could stock it with trout, this was called Butter Crags Tarn. Cradled in a hollow on the western slope of Heron Pike, it makes for a circular walk of about four miles (6.4km), starting at either Greenhead Gill behind the Macdonald Swan Hotel on the A591 or from behind Dove Cottage. Expect very good views of Grasmere, Helm Crag and Windermere along the way. 

Blea Tarn, Little Langdale. This is tranquillity, beauty and sense of the wild rolled into one. Blea Tarn is a small piece of water on the west side of Lingmoor Fell, just off the narrow road between Great and Little Langdale. Pull up in the National Trust car park, cross the road and follow the path to the wooden bridge over the tarn’s outflow. Turn right after the bridge and head north, initially through a wooded area and then out into the open fell. You’ll have wonderful views of the Langdale Pikes and all that for a reasonably easy walk. Retrace your steps when you reach the road or come back along the road. 

Coast to Coast walk: www.wainwright.org.uk Devised by Alfred Wainwright, this 192 mile (307km) walk links St Bees Head near Whitehaven and Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire. It goes through three national parks. 

Coniston Water. One of the good things about walking around Windermere, Derwentwater, Ullswater and Coniston Water is that you can incorporate a ‘ferry’ trip into your hike. For this one, take the Coniston Launch ferry south to Torver jetty or Sunny Bank jetty and then walk back along the lake’s western shore. For most of the journey the path stays fairly close to the water. Sunny Bank is the furthest away from Coniston village at about three and a half miles (5.6km). 

The Cumbria Way: www.ldwa.org.uk / www.cumbriaway.org This 70 mile (112km) route takes you through Coniston, the Langdales, Borrowdale and Keswick as you head from Ulverston to Carlisle. 

Easedale Tarn near Grasmere. A two mile (3.2km) walk to the north west takes you from the centre of Grasmere to more desolate countryside around Easedale Tarn, following in William and Dorothy Wordsworth’s footsteps for much of the way. Head out along Easedale Road, opposite Sam Read’s bookshop, and where the road bends round to the right cross Easedale Beck and follow the path signposted Easedale Tarn. You pass the waterfall of Sourmilk Ghyll on the way. Such was the popularity of the tarn in Victorian times that there used to be a refreshment hut here. Return by the same route or head north east from the tarn into Far Easedale and come back that way.

Elterwater to Skelwith Bridge. It’s not easy to find a flat walk in the Langdale Valleys but the four mile (6.4km) round trip between Elterwater and Skelwith Bridge is certainly that. The route takes you beside Langdale Beck for much of the way and, for a short stretch, along the side of Elterwater (lake). You’ll pass Skelwith Force waterfalls and on your return have a great view of the Langdale Pikes. 

Grasmere (lake). Fed by the River Rothay, Grasmere is roughly one mile (1.6km) long and half that distance wide, with a private island in the middle. It takes about an hour to walk around the water, without diversion. Part of the route is along the A591 and that road can be pretty busy sometimes. 

Many people favour the anti-clockwise way, heading out of the village along Red Bank Road, past the Grand at Grasmere Hotel and Faeryland Café (which hires out rowing boats Mar–Nov). After 15-20 minutes look for a red post box in the wall because shortly afterwards there’s a path down to the lake shore. A short detour at its south eastern edge goes up to Loughrigg Terrace from where there are smashing views across the lake to Helm Crag. 

Helm Crag near Grasmere A well trodden path from Easedale Road in Grasmere brings you to one of Lakeland’s most recognisable fells, commonly known as the Lion and the Lamb although its true summit is often called The Howitzer. It’s a steepish climb but in return you get fine views across Grasmere (village and lake) and towards the Helvellyn Range. 

Latterbarrow near Hawkshead. About one and a half miles (2.4km) north east of Hawkshead is Latterbarrow, another one of those modest fells with fantastic views, in this case of Windermere, Ambleside, the Langdale Pikes and Coniston Old Man. Leave the centre of Hawkshead and aim for Loanthwaite Lane from where a steepish little climb takes you to the monument on top of Latterbarrow. You’ve got the option of returning by the same way or exploring a bit of Claife Heights. 

Rydal Water and Grasmere. You can walk around these two lakes quite separately but this five/six mile walk (8.7km) embraces both of them, plus the two main homes of William Wordsworth - Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount. You can start at a number of places along the route but Grasmere is often favoured because of the parking. 

Head out along the B5287 towards the A591 at Town End, cross the road, go past the Jerwood Centre and Dove Cottage and pick up the lane towards How Top Farm. After the farm follow the signs for Rydal which will take you on the old coffin path and past a property called Beckstones. 

Rydal Water is across to the south, Nab Scar above you. When you arrive at Rydal Mount go down the little lane to the A591, cross the road with care, turn left and walk a short distance until you come to Pelter Bridge. Cross the bridge, turn right and you’re heading back along the south side of Rydal Water. After Loughrigg Terrace you drop down to the Grasmere lake shore and then not long afterwards pick up Red Bank Road for the walk back to the village. 

Tilberthwaite to Little Langdale. Once you’ve parked at Low Tilberthwaite - off the A593 not far north of Coniston village - you’ll quickly realise that this is a former slate quarrying area. Evidence is all around but so too is glorious countryside as you make your way along the lane to High Tilberthwaite Farm. You can take the left or the right hand path. They both head towards Little Langdale, but end up at different spots. 

Walking trails in Grizedale Forest near Hawkshead.

Stay connected

Keep up to date with all the latest news from the LAKE DISTRICT travel guide.