The Lake District: A Walker’s Haven
Posted: Aug 01 2016
The Lake District is one of the UK’s most adored and prized destinations, offering visitors ample opportunity to enjoy British landscapes at their finest. With lakes, mountains, quaint villages and multitudes of walkways, this is an area that proudly offers walkers a host of inspiring trails and varied routes - suitable for all abilities. Whether indulging in forest exploration, meandering through some of the country’s most famous towns or fell-walking, the Lake District guarantees to offer terrain, atmosphere and a welcome like no other.
The Lake District is so attractive, fascinating and beguiling that many of the nation’s favourite authors and writers have taken inspiration from their surroundings here. Some literary giants including the Romantic Poets of the 18th and 19th centuries such as William Wordsworth, John Ruskin and Samuel Coleridge were besotted with the Lake District and the setting impacted on some of their finest works. What is more, the unaging adoration for the children’s author, Beatrix Potter, can give thanks to the Lake District for inspiring some of her most well-loved characters and scenes in books that have captivated the hearts and minds of children for several decades.
Even the shortest of visits to the area leave tourists in no surprise as to what affected these writers so much as the mystery, beauty, drama and tranquility of the Lake District is apparent at every turn. This year, Beatrix Potter’s 150th anniversary is celebrated with a multitude of literary events throughout the Lake District. One of the most anticipated inclusions is that organised by the specialist walking and cycling tour operator, Headwater. The company has designed a bespoke package to celebrate the author and the area in a six night, self-guided walk which follows in the footsteps of Potter and other literary legends, whilst allowing walkers to absorb some of the South Lakes National Park’s most stunning sights.
The walk begins in the beautiful Grasmere, the centre of Wordsworth country, which is home to Wordsworth’s final resting place, St Oswald’s Church. Walkers may also choose to visit the poet’s family home of Rydal Hall, a breathtakingly grand home that is open to the public. The gentle route then meanders from the shores of the Lake to the sublime area of Great Langdale Valley where the journey picks up the famous Cumbria Way walking trail to tiny Elterwater. Elterwater is the smallest lake of the Park’s 16 offerings and is recognised as being the home of the Whooper Swans from Scandinavia, who are a marvel to watch and make for excellent photographic opportunities.
The route, which is considered as easy and can be enjoyed by walkers of all abilities, continues beneath the imposing Old Man of Coniston, which is the highest fell in the local area and on to the shores of Coniston Water. Coniston is rich in history and attracts hoards of tourists so this part of the walk makes for an excellent opportunity to engage with visitors from across the globe or enjoy a range of locally produced and award-winning produce in one of the most stunning settings of the Lake District. Walkers, at this stage, will also visit the quaint and picturesque Brantwood which is the former lakeside residence of Victorian writer and philosopher, John Ruskin. The home is open to the public and home to a superb collection of fine art and stunning furniture as well as a collection of the writer’s personal possessions.
The final leg of the walk leads into the magical and serene Grizedale Forest which is located between Coniston and Windermere. This area is one of the Lake District’s most prized secrets and allows for some of the most memorable experiences and breathtaking lake and mountain views. The forest is home to several hidden sculptures, tucked away into the trees, making for a wonderful adventure of stumbling across hidden surprises along the walk.
The walk ends in Hawkshead village, former home of Beatrix Potter. Walkers and visitors are able to enjoy a visit to the writer's home and gallery which are both National Trust properties. The visit is a must-do for any Potter enthusiast and will quickly uncover why she found this part of the country to be so inspiring and tranquil.
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You may also be interested in our blog on the 10 best walks in the Lake District