10 Best Walks In the Lake District
Posted: Jul 28 2016
The Lake District is arguably the UK’s finest destination for outdoor lovers, offering the best of all worlds and catering to all abilities and tastes. With the infamous lakes, breathtaking surrounding mountains and accompanying forests, woodlands, fields and fells, walkers are spoilt for choice when visiting the Lake District. Below are 10 of the best walks in the Lake District.
For walkers who enjoy remote routes and occasionally challenging fells, Wasdale is the perfect option. With superb views of the Western lakes, the rough terrain in this area makes for an ideal choice for walkers and climbers alike. There is an excitement about the seclusion of this area and the raw beauty of the landscape means that Wasdale is one of the most enticing walks in the Lake District.
The route of Pillar and Steeple is one of the most famous and loved walks in the lake District, not least because of the remoteness and mystery of the Wasdale Valley. The terrain can be challenging in this area, with loose stones, but for a moderate level of fitness and ability, this is a walk that guarantees to provide memories and thrills.
The National Trust has a campsite in Wasdale and is happy to promote some of the most suitable routes for walkers in the area. With views of Scafell Pike and the somewhat secluded hamlet campsite, mingling with likeminded people in Wasdale will be a highlight of any trip.
The pretty hamlet of Buttermere makes for one of the most scenic and tranquil walking routes in the Lake District. The trees at the southern end of Buttermere are known as The Sentinels and are believed to be the most photographed in the country. Taking a stroll around the lake with the dramatic and inspiring backdrop promises to reinvigorate even the most weary walker. Buttermere is one of the most beautiful areas and is a key destination for those who want to appreciate the seasons in full. In Autumn, Buttermere is a stage for stunning colours, crisp underfoot terrain and an enticing stillness whereas Spring sees regrowth at its finest, with the wilderness beckoning walkers to absorb its newness and fresh offerings.
There are also two traditional pubs in Buttermere, the Bridge Hotel and the Fish Inn, both of which welcome walkers and allow for a friendly and engaging atmosphere to rest tired feet. Walks in Buttermere are notoriously easy and can be enjoyed by those with mobility restrictions. The quiet hamlet makes for a safe setting for children and despite its popularity, Buttermere is rarely overwhelmingly busy.
Borger Dalr, Borrowdale
The Borger Dalr 4 mile walk is one that is supported by a National Trust map and is recognised as being one of the finest parts of the Lake District. Slightly more challenging than some of the local walks due to inclines and terrain, the Borger Dalr route offers walkers exceptional views and stunning scenery. Walkers will enjoy the opportunity to climb Castle Crag, a 2,000 year old hill fort which despite being small in size offers some of the most wonderful views in the area. Those who enjoy history are sure to be fascinated by this location and absorb the heritage of the area, for example you'll see Peace How; a small summit which served for the benefit of the nation in 1917 and acted as an area where soldiers returning from the front line could find some peace and tranquility.
The Borger Dalr walk is an ideal choice for those who enjoy a mild to moderate undertaking with exceptional opportunities to rest in a sublime natural setting before heading home.
Grasmere is the epitome of wilderness walking in that the scenery and remoteness allows a walker to fully escape and absorb the nature and splendour of the Lake District in all her beauty. For walkers who are keen to engage with nature, escape the crowds and embrace some space to clear the mind, there are arguably few finer destinations than Grasmere.
Walkers begin their route from the National Trust property, Allen bank and follow the path that winds around the side of the building. The route follows some ridges and although the path is not clearly defined, walkers will remain on course and safe by staying to high ground. This walk can be steep in parts on Ferngill Crag and challenging for some walkers, with loose ground sometimes a problem. The latter half of the walk benefits from a more clearly defined path and leads walkers back into the pretty town of Grasmere. This is an 8.5 mile walk that takes in some of the finest wilderness and escapism opportunities available in the area. Only walkers with a decent level of fitness should consider this route because of the moderate challenges it poses.
Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England and stands at an elevation of 978 metres above sea level. For this reason, this area is one of the most visited and popular walking routes for visitors to the Lake District. However, it is not just the title of the highest mountain that makes Scafell Pike such a wonderful choice. The views at the summit of the mountain are exceptional and offer walkers the opportunity to see for miles on a clear day. Of course, this can be a challenging walk and does require a reliable level of fitness and mobility, but Scafell Pike is enjoyed by thousands of walkers of all ages each year.
There are a number of routes up to the top of Scafell Pike and this makes it an ideal destination for walkers of mixed abilities. One of the favourite walks is from Upper Eskdale to the summit and this is an achievable route for youngsters. One drawback of this walk is that it can become busy - particularly with those undertaking the Three Peaks challenge. With that in mind, it is wise to arrive early so as to secure a car parking space and be prepared for the occasional busy path. None of this should take away from the enjoyment of Scafell Pike and you are sure to meet like minded walkers who can offer plenty of suggestions for other local routes to try.
The Hallin Fell walk is short walk above Howtown that leads along the eastern edge of stunning Ullswater. Walkers on this route can enjoy spectacular views of mountains and valleys. Parking can be tricky in this area as it is a highly popular route. Those arriving early should be able to park at the high start point of St Peter's Church and this makes for a much less challenging trek. Those who cannot park here can usually find space by the steamers that ply along the length of Ullswater and although this adds to the length of the walk, it’s not overly challenging and many enjoy the excuse for some additional exploration.
The views seen on the Hallin Fell walk are acknowledged as some of the most favoured in the country.
Corpse Road, Loweswater
Despite the name, there is nothing morbid about this Lake District walk - in fact, it is one of the most stunning and fascinating routes available in the area. The name was given to this route, and others like it because historically these were the walkways taken by people who were carrying their dead from remote hamlets to their final resting place. It’s fair to say that there is an eerie quality about this walkway but there is nothing uncomfortable about recognising the significance of this route. In fact, many walkers favour Corpse Road for its tranquility and reflective atmosphere.
Loweswater is a quaint and pretty little lake that is home to stunning wildlife. There is nothing too taxing about this walk and no matter what the weather, Corpse Road in Loweswater is sure to be one of the favoured highlights of a trip to the Lake District - a prime example of remote and peaceful living in North England’s finest area.
Ash Landing and Claife Heights, Windermere
Windermere is the heart of the Lake District and one of the most popular tourist spots of the area. With a host of shops, eateries and traditional pubs, Windermere makes for the perfect place to stay and revolve your break around. Walkers won’t need to travel too far to find excellent walkways either. The area is one of the most stunningly breathtaking in the Lake District and offers magnificent views in all areas. The Victorians were particularly fond of this area and worked hard to benefit from the natural beauty here. On the lake’s western shore sits Claife Heights, which was referenced in one of the first guidebooks that was published to the Lake District, written in 1778. A viewing station was built here and was designed to maximise the effect of the stunning scenery, with the addition of coloured glass to enhance the features of the landscape. The coloured glass in the windows mean that visitors could appreciate the views of Windermere throughout the seasons, irrespective of when they visited.
The elevated walk which runs alongside Lake Windermere's western side is a dramatic one, with excellent viewing point at Low Blind How. Here, a gap in the wall leads to a crag that proudly displays exceptional views of the lake, islands and the Troutbeck fells. This is a moderate walk which can be completed at pace or leisurely and guarantees to be one of the most invigorating and memorable strolls of any walker’s experience.
Haycock and Caw Fell
Haycock and Caw Fell are both in very remote locations, making for a peaceful walk in this area. The length of a walk here, irrespective of the directional approach taken, is significant and not to be underestimated. Due to the distance and the remoteness, inexperienced or weak walkers are not well suited for this route.
Nestled away in the secluded and beautiful valley of Ennerdale, the Haycock and Caw Fell walks take in woodland, fell walking and some moderate inclines. Descend into the valley towards the end of the walk for sublime views and memorable experiences. Haycock stands at 782m/2,618ft so is not considered to be a low fell but the climb is not excessive and feels gentle. The most challenging and adventurous part of the walk is around Little Gowder Crag, where the terrain is more rugged. Many walkers will immerse themselves in reflection and thought on this walk as more often than not, they walk without passing another person, making this one of the best routes for those seeking escapism.
Ambleside to Troutbeck via Wansfell
The tallest tree in Cumbria was discovered by National Trust ramblers recently in this area. The same tree also claims the title of the tallest grand fir in England as it towers above its neighbours in Skelghyll Woods near Ambleside. At 57.8 metres, the top branches of the tree are higher even than Nelson's Column. Walkers are sure to be impressed as they pass the tree when they stroll the woods towards the beginning of this route. The gravel path that leads its way along this walk makes for a comfortable stroll, which is simple to follow and not overly challenging. The route winds through the Skelghyll woods and ends at Troutbeck village, a quaint little area that is rich in local culture and tradition.
The town of Ambleside is a traditional little area, with welcoming eateries, enticing independent shops and lovely places to stay. This area is rich in history and explorers will uncover ancient forest land, historical houses and National Trust gems.
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