A Round of Rydal Water.

Start. Pelter Bridge car park.

Route. Pelter Bridge car park - Steps End - Dora's Field - St Mary's Church - Rydal Mount - Coffin Route - White Moss - Loughrigg Terrace - Rydal Cave - Pelter Bridge car park.

Notes. A superb low level walk through one of the most picturesque corners of the Lake District, stride out in the foot fall of romantic poets Wordsworth and Coleridge, wander amongst the spirits of the dead on a track that was once the Rydal to Grasmere coffin route, and explore caves honed from the fell side by the hard rock miners of the Vale of Rydal, in a quest to roof the houses of this valley.

It was a bit of a dismal day when I pulled into the small car park at Pelter Bridge, heavy sleet and snow showers sweeping down the valley. By the time I'd togged up they'd passed, I wandered up the narrow tarmac lane to be met by a foot-path sign directing me into Steps End Wood, this path guided me to a splendid foot-bridge over the River Rothay. I crossed then also crossed the busy main road to access Dora's Field. This rough plot of land behind the church in Rydal was owned by William Wordsworth, he planned to build a house on it. After his daughter Dora died in 1847, William went down to the field, together with his wife, sister and gardener and planted hundreds of daffodils as a memorial to Dora. If you visit make it spring time.

For some reason I presumed the path through Dora's Field would guide me to the coffin route, it didn't instead deposited me in the grounds of St Mary's Church, built on solid Lakeland rock, a church with no cemetery, the dead of Rydal still have to make the journey to Grasmere or Ambleside for internment. I wandered through the church grounds then ascended the road to Rydal Mount, next to which the coffin route to Grasmere can be found.

Along this road of the dead I wandered enjoying stunning views over the Vale of Rydal and Rydal Water. Under the steep sylvan slopes of Nab Scar I strolled, above Nab Cottage once home to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, then down hill the tumbling waters of an unnamed gill beckoning me on. I crossed the main road before wandering through the woodland of White Moss, after escaping the tree cover a short ascent deposited me on Loughrigg Terrace, I turned left away from the views over Grasmere, my aiming point was the close head quarry at Rydal, better known as Rydal Cave. I entered, had a quick wander around, took a few snaps before letting the main path I'd been following guide me back to the parked car.

view route map.


Under snow Nab Scar seen from Steps End.

The River Rothay at Rydal.

Doesn't look much this time of year, Dora's Field, visit in spring when the daffodils are out.

Under the steep wooded slopes of Nab Scar, strolling along the coffin route looking across Rydal Water to Loughrigg Fell.

One of two coffin rests along this route, the other's on the hill near Dove Cottage, not so easy to spot as this fine example.

Above Nab Cottage looking to Loughrigg Fell.

Whilst taking this photo an elderly chap (older than me lets say) asked me what this feature was. For anyone who's interested it's a tiny slice of the 96 mile long Thirlmere to Manchester Aqueduct, built between 1890-1925 to slack the thirst of the good citizens of Manchester.

Winter conditions on Silver How, seen over White Moss Common.

Passed on my descent, White Moss Falls.

The River Rothay at White Moss.

Wonderful winter hues, it's a pity the path's so obvious, such is the popularity of this place.

In the distance melting into the haze, Snarker Pike with Sweden Crag in the middle distance, viewed over Rydal Water.

Viewing Silver How and Tarn Crag from the stoney track that's guiding me to Rydal Cave.

Low Pike seen over the slopes of Nab Scar.

Whitewashed Nab Cottage forever in the shadow of Nab Scar.

Approaching Rydal Cave looking to a snow capped Helm Crag.

White against a grey/blue sky Low Pike.

Rydal Cave formally known as Loughrigg Quarry, supplied quality slate to roof the houses of Grasmere, Rydal and Ambleside.

Nab Scar seen from near Rydal Cave.

Typical Lakeland stream and dry stone wall.

Almost back at the car, enjoying views over Rydal Water to High Pike and Low Pike and Sweden Crag.

A final look back to Silver How before stepping into the lane leading away from the views back to the parked car.

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