Grasmere, Loughrigg Tarn and the Coffin Route.

Start. Grasmere (Red Bank Road car park).

Route. Grasmere (Red Bank Road car park) - Red Bank Road - Grasmere - Deerbolts Wood - Red Bank Road - Intake Wood - The How - Loughrigg Tarn - Tarn Foot - Ivy Crag - Deer Hows - Miller Brow - Under Loughrigg - Miller Bridge - Rothay Park - Ambleside - A591 - Rydal Park - Rydal Hall - Coffin Route - Tarn Cottage - How Top - Dove Cottage - Grasmere.

Notes. A real mixed bag of weather today, sunny intervals, a plus, then we have heavy persistent showers, could be prolonged, to spice the mix up a tad a liberal helping of hail, the final nail in the coffin 50 mph winds gusting to 70 possibly 80 mph on the high fells and exposed ridge lines, sod that I'll stick to the house and watch Netflix. After ten minutes watching some crap documentary my walking gear was getting tossed into the boot of the car, I had some kind of valley walk in mind, if the weather was really bad I'd pop into a walking shop and add another gortex jacket to my collection, how sad is that.

The weather wasn't too bad, my credit card stayed firmly in my wallet, I parked in Grasmere, Red Bank Road car park, paid the fee and set out, not knowing what the weather gods had in store. Between the moss coated dry stone walls of Red Bank Road I wandered, easy walking a tarmac surface under foot. After passing The Lea a finger-post invited me to walk Grasmere Shore Path, I obliged, with a good surface under foot and stunning views for company I wandered as far as Deerbolts Wood. In this delightful National Trust owned woodland, that omits a strange aroma, (rotting vegetation) I joined a path that ascended to the top of Red Bank, there I again joined the tarmac surface of Red Bank Road for the short walk to Intake Wood.

Another finger-post greeted me, an invite to Loughrigg Tarn, this path guided me behind farm buildings, through woodland, along what looked like an ancient track before depositing me on the lane that runs above Loughrigg Tarn. From this gravel track you're gifted with some stunning views to the Langdale Pikes, It was until dark rain bearing cloud spilled over the valley head, time to get a move on. With a little haste I wandered on to a path junction next to Tarn Foot, I turned left, this stoney track was to guide me through heavy rain, driving hail and grey vistas as it traversed the shoulder of Loughrigg Fell. On the descent to Ambleside the sun made a brief appearance, this was to be the norm for the rest of this walk, heavy rain, hail and then sparkling sunlight adding a real punch to the landscape.

The track I followed descended passed Miller Brow depositing me on Under Loughrigg, a narrow ribbon of tarmac cutting under Loughrigg. I crossed the single arch of Miller Bridge to access Rothey Park, to avoid walking through the centre of Ambleside I followed the left hand of two paths. This path lined with a slate slab fence, an ancient style of fencing not something you find modern man building deposited me on the main road leaving Ambleside. This busy artery guided me to the entrance of Rydal Park, I entered almost immediately leaving the song of traffic behind. It's a pleasant stroll through this man made landscape, the rain came and went, as did the sunshine, when I reached Rydal Hall it was pouring down, a perfect excuse to pop into the cafe, indulge in a late lunch.

Lunch over I headed for Rydal Mount one of Wordsworth's Lakeland residences, his home from 1813 until his death in 1850, now a museum it gets very busy. Above the house I stepped onto the Old Coffin Route, this road of the dead guided me across the lower slopes of Nab Scar, passed a perfect example of a coffin rest. The views over Rydal Water came and went, curtains of heavy rain washed down the valley, when the drapes opened wonderful light danced across the rippled surface of Rydal Water, no wonder Wordsworth loved this place.

On reaching a small shallow tarn, Old Whitemoss Tarn or if you're a Wordsworth fan Skate Tarn, the poet used to skate on it, I stepped onto tarmac. Still striding out along the Coffin Route, only now I had the grey stuff under foot, the lane descends passed another coffin rest then Dove Cottage, another one of Wordsworth's homes, only a stones throw from Grasmere journeys end, and a fine journey it turned out to be.

view route map.


Seen from Red Bank Road, Loughrigg Fell.

Dropping in from the left Nab Scar.

Seat Sandal rising above Grasmere village seen from the lake shore path.

Looking along the west shore of Grasmere, Loughrigg Fell dips it's toes into the cool dark waters of the lake.

Light and airy with a strange smell in the air, Deerbolts Wood.

Looking back from this wonderful green trod that was ushering me to Loughrigg Tarn, just visible above the tree tops, Huntingstile Crag.

Wetherlam seen over Great Langdale.

Striding out on the stoney track above Loughrigg Tarn, looking to the shadowed bulk of Lingmoor Fell.

Wainwright's sleeping lions, the Langdale Pikes brood over the head of Great Langdale.

Loughrigg Fell in dappled light.

Great Langdale looking very different than it did a second ago, time to get a move on.

The Black Fell skyline over a rain washed Great Langdale.

Grey views to Windermere Lake.

Viewing Low Pike and High Pike from the start of the descent to Ambleside.

Taking in the view from the shoulder of Loughrigg Fell, over the valley of the River Rothay the civilised face of Red Screes.

A stunning view to the arms of the Fairfield Horseshoe, from left to right, Nab Scar leading to Heron Pike, closing the head of the valley the appropriate named Rydal Head with Fairfield under snow to the left, then we have Hart Crag, Dove Crag, High Pike and Low Pike, a peak baggers paradise.

Striding out through Rydal Park in the rain, looking to the rolling skyline above Rydal, Nab Scar, Heron Pike, Great Rigg and Fairfield.

Striding through Rydal Park in sunlight.

Loughrigg Fell across Rydal Water, viewed from the Coffin Route.

Fine example of a coffin rest, this road of the dead was used until 1821.

Rain washes the valley while sunlight dances across Rydal Water.

It's been a day of changing moods, a good day to be out, the rain has passed gifting me with this view to Silver How over sylvan White Moss Common.

What a lovely place, Old Whitemoss Tarn or to give it it's poetic title Skate Tarn.

Dove Cottage, Wordsworth's home from 1799-1808, he then moved to the villa like Allan Bank across the valley where he spent most of his time moaning about the smell from the chimneys, five years later he moved to Rydal Mount.

back to top

back to list