Classic Rydal Water.

Start. Rydal.

Route. Rydal - Rydal Mount - Coffin Route - White Moss - Rydal Water - Steps End - Rydal.

Notes. This short excursion must be one of the Lake Districts most popular low-level walks, and rightly so, you find yourself walking with the ghosts of literary giants, Wordsworth, De Quincey and Coleridge, all lived in and walked this small vale at some point in their lives. As I'm not a literary giant and never will be I'm here through default, the bad weather of the last two days is still hanging over Cumbria, wind and rain forecast for the high fells, grey and miserable under the cloud base, I opted for grey and miserable, just a couple of hours but it got me out.

After parking opposite Rydal Church I wandered up the road to Rydal Mount, one of Wordsworth's Lakeland homes, he lived here with his family from 1813 to his death in 1850, which is rather appropriate because next to the house the old coffin road runs to Grasmere where he is interned, it wasn't possible to lay him to rest at Rydal, the church is built on solid rock, you can't dig holes.

I stepped onto the old coffin road, if it's your last journey it's a bloody good one, under the cliffs of Nab Scar it guided me, above Rydal Water, just as a reminder the route passes a perfect example of a coffin rest. Somebody once said “adapt the pace of the mountain”, well the pace today was slow, I eventually reached a sign promising passage to White Moss, said path deposited me on the edge of the main road, I crossed to access White Moss. This is a busy place, I'd seen ten people since setting out, White Moss was a people magnet, I cringed, on a poor day like today I didn't expect it to be this busy.

Through the trees I wandered, well trod paths under foot, a fine foot-bridge guided me across the River Rothay, I continued through woodland before passing through the final intake onto the lower slopes of Loughrigg Fell. Bloody hell it was packed on this side of the valley, every path lined with brightly coloured walkers, like ants in gortex, haven't people got anything better to do on a Sunday, sorry I'm being a hypocrite.

This hypocrite opted for the path along the lake shore, which was unusually quieter than the rest. I continued until reaching a kissing gate allowing access to Steps End, after passing through the gate I continued along the lake shore to access a fine foot-bridge, I crossed before stepping back onto the main road, the car was parked just around the corner, it had stayed fine unfortunately the only splash of colour in the Lake District was fabric worn by the many ramblers that frequent this picturesque vale.

view route map.


Rydal Mount home to William Wordsworth from 1813 to his death in 1850.

Rambling through a grey Lakeland day.

Rydal Water seen from the Coffin Route.

Just to prove this is a corpse road, a perfect example of a coffin rest.

Passed en route, this dry stone wall marks the line of the Thirlmere Aqueduct.

View taken over sylvan White Moss, on the horizon grey today Silver How.

This low mound is a fine viewpoint, or it would be on a clear day, seen from William Hills Field the steep slopes of Nab Scar.

Foot-bridge over the River Rothay.

The River Rothay as it flows towards Rydal Water, and cloud drifts across the slopes of Loughrigg Fell.

Rydal Water as seen from the busy path along the south shore.

On a moody day Heron Island and Little Isle cast an almost perfect reflection.

Nab Scar seen across Rydal Water, my route, the coffin route followed the tree line.

From Steps End views the length of Rydal Water.

Grey melting into the horizon Silver How seen from Steps End.

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