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Eight of the best Lake District walks

Posted by Luci Ackers on Mar 01, 2019

With its stunning landscape, interesting market towns and huge variety of walks, it’s easy to see why 15.8 million people visit the Lake District every year. The national park is the largest in England, so there’s a lot to see and do whether you’re enjoying a couple’s escape, a dog-friendly getaway or a family holiday. To ensure you visit the very best bits, we’ve collated a list of eight of the finest walks for you and your family to try next time you’re staying in the Lake District.


Borger Dalr geology walk

Rating: Medium

British fellwalker Alfred Wainwright once called this four-mile circular walk the “finest square mile in Lakeland” – you can’t get a much better recommendation than that. It starts and ends at Grange Village and should take you around three hours to complete.

During the walk, you’ll climb Castle Crag and enjoy the amazing views on offer at the top. This small hill was home to a fort around 2,000 years ago. You must also look out for Dalt Quarry – the rock walls here are wonderfully colourful and should not be missed. 

At the start of your walk, you may want to take a moment to stop at Peace How, which was used as a resting spot for soldiers who had returned from combat during World War I. It’s a solemn and beautiful spot and one of the Lake District’s hidden gems.

View the trail here


Broughton Railway

Rating: Easy

This easy walk will take you along a disused railway line to Woodland Valley, a peaceful corner of the Lake district. It is around 3 miles, with an additional section if you decide to go through the park.

The start point of this walk is in the Market Square of Broughton-in-Furness. This small market town dates back to the Saxons, and the pretty little market square is its focal point. The old railway originally went to Coniston but closed in 1958.

The first mile of this walk has been improved, and the track has a compacted stone surface, perfect to walk along! You can reach the track from Wilson park, which is wheelchair accessible, or from Mireside, which is the very start of the railway line.

View the trail here


Windermere west shore walk

Rating: Medium

On a warm, sunny day, this lakeshore walk, which takes you through parks and woodland, is an absolute pleasure. A particular highlight of the trail is Wray Castle, which is a rather peculiar National Trust building. Most castles or grand homes are filled with paintings and antiques, but not this one. Instead, it’s a great place for kids to play dress up and have fun building their own castles. In fact, it’s not even a castle. It’s a folly surrounded by mock ruins.

If the weather is nice, take some time to check out the informal gardens and parkland surrounding the building. See if you can find the Mulberry tree in the garden – it was planted by famous poet, William Wordsworth.

When you reach the end of this walk, you can choose to retrace your steps along the lakeshore or catch the bus back. It’s a four-mile walk each way, and should only take around three hours to walk the route and back (not accounting for any picnics along the way, of course).

View the trail here


Wordsworth House countryside walk

Rating: hard

If you’re a fan of the late, great poet, then this walk is a must. However, you will also need to be quite fit to complete this eight-mile stroll, so bear this in mind. The route begins at Wordsworth’s childhood home in Cockermouth. He and his sister, Dorothy, were born here, and the home is open to the public between mid-March and the end of October. During your visit, you’ll be able to meet their servants and get a real feel for what life was like back in the 1770s.

Once you’ve explored the house, it’s time for the walk to really begin. Most of this route follows the Allerdale Ramble, but we recommend making a small detour at the start to walk through the graveyard of the All Saints Church, where Wordsworth was baptised.  Along the rest of the walk you’ll enjoy incredible views of the fells and will visit the charming hamlet of Isel, which has a beautiful 12th Century church. The trip ends with a stroll across the fields which will lead you back to the Georgian village of Cockermouth. 

View the trail here


Latrigg Summit

Rating: Easy/Medium

This is an easy route up and down from Keswick, with a circular path around the summit of Latrigg, where you can enjoy spectacular views!

The shortest version of the Latrigg walk is approximately 3 miles long, and should take between 2 to 2.5 hours, but there are a few variations, reaching up to 6.5 miles. All are ideal for a quick walk with great views, and a great way to spend a sunny afternoon.

For those who would rather not walk the entire route, there’s a small car park above Applethwaite, with a limited mobility path to the viewpoint. This car park does tend to get quite busy with dog walkers and those heading for nearby Skiddaw.

View the trail here


Aira Force and Gowbarrow trail

A stunning 65ft waterfall and 481m fell are the focus of this particular walk, during which you’ll pass through thick woodland and climb up to the summit of Gowbarrow to see spectacular views of Ullswater and its surroundings.

The trail is 4.5 miles long in total and can take anywhere between 1.5 and three hours to complete. If it’s Aira Force that you’re most interested in, the waterfall looks most impressive during rainy days. However, on sunny mornings, you may be lucky enough to see a rainbow – bring your camera just in case!

When you reach Gowbarrow Trig Point, look on the west side of the fell. It is here that Wordsworth’s sister spotted that wild daffodils were growing – these same flowers, and Dorothy’s journal entry about them, became the inspiration for one of Wordsworth’s most famous poems: ‘Daffodils’. 

After leaving the summit, you’ll stumble upon an old shooting lodge, which was once used to hunt deer. Whilst there are no longer any deer at Gowbarrow Park, you may spot the odd sheep. Continue your walk around the park, and before long you’ll be back at the Aira Force National Trust car park, where the trail began.

View the trail here


Coniston To Torver Jetty

Rating: Easy

This is a nice lengthy, leisurely walk along the beautiful shoreline of Coniston Water, with the option of returning via boat from Torver jetty.

It’s a 4.3 mile linear route and starts at the Coniston Boating Centre. From here you walk up Lake Road along the stone footpath. Continue along the track until you get to Coniston Hall Farm, you'll see the chimneys – they're huge! Then keep going until you find a gate giving you access to the shore.

The lake has some spectacular views of Grizedale Forest and Brantwood house, which was home to John Ruskin. Once you’ve had your fill, follow the path to Torver Common Wood. This takes you through the trees and across the footbridge to the jetty, where you have the choice to retrace your steps or catch a boat back to Coniston.

View the trail here


Derwentwater Lakeshore

Rating: Easy

This is a beautiful woodland walk along the western shore of Derwentwater. At 5 miles this walk is not too difficult, however can be shortened at any point.

The route starts on the Hawse End access road and after a while you are taken off the road through a wide gate, and along to the lake shore at Victoria Bay. You are then led through some beautiful oak woodland and will have some spectacular views of the lake, framed by mountains including Catbells ad Walla Crag. There are tables and benches here, in case you want a chance to sit and drink in the view.

A short stretch of road leads to the woodland of Manesty Park and on to the Great Bay. Finally, you will travel over a route of recycled plastic boardwalk and to the finish at the Borrowdale Road.

View the trail here


These walks are great starting points for exploring the beauty of this popular National Park.  But if you’re new to the Lake District, or maybe walking in general, you might have some questions before you get started. No need to panic… we’ve done a best to answer some of the more common queries in this FAQ section below!


What kind of clothing do I need for walking?

Due to the steep slopes and varied terrain, walking boots with ankle suppoer and good tread are essential when walking in the Lake District. We also all know that it’s unwise to rely on the Great British weather, so waterproof trousers and jackets are strongly recommended. Layers are your friend while walking, as you can add and remove them as you please, so we’d recommend a warm top, hat, gloves and even sun protection!

What else should I bring?

Of course, you’ll want to stop for a picnic during your walk, so food and water is a must! There’s very little shelter at the tops of the fells, so make sure you have everything you need to keep you well-fuelled – an emergency snack is a good idea! Make sure your phone is charged, and you’ve packed a map and compass, should your mobile GPS stop working. A whistle and a torch are also recommended for catching attention. Pack it all in a rucksack which you can carry comfortably.

Can I bring my dog on walks?

Many of the walks in the Lake District are suitable for dogs, assuming your four-legged friend is in good health and can manage the hills! However, dogs must be kept on a short lead at certain times of year, in order to protect ground nesting birds. There is also a lot of farmland in the Lakes, so you’ll need to keep your dog on the lead around farm animals.

Do I need to pay for parking in the Lake District?

Yes, most car parks in the Lake District are Pay and Display. You can find more information here. There are also car parks run by organisations such as the National Trust, who have their own charges.

As we’ve already mentioned, the Lake District offers a vast variety of walks to its visitors - this is just a sample of the ones you can try on your next holiday

Alternatively, take a look at our entire portfolio of properties here.

Do you have a favourite walk we didn’t mention in this list? If so, let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear about your experiences.


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Luci Ackers
Author: Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.

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