Grasmere and Rydal Water.

Start. Grasmere (lay-by just north of the mini roundabout).

Route. Grasmere - Red Bank Road - The Lea - Grasmere - Deer Bolts Wood - Loughrigg Terrace - Rydal Cave - Steps End - Rydal - Rydal Mount - Coffin Route - Hawe Head - Town End - Grasmere.

Notes. There is no way you can ramble around this picturesque vale and not get caught up in it's Wordsworth connection, well today I thought I'd try just that, with as fewer mentions of poets passed, present and future as possible. I'm here through default, with storm Brendan forecast to hit later in the day, heavy rain backed by 60 to 70 mph winds, being blowing from the hill didn't appeal to me, so I decided on a early start and valley walk.

Car headlights cut through the murk on the drive north, my head torch then carved a path through the same murk on field paths leading into Grasmere, once in the village I made my way passed the world famous Gingerbread Shop to access the tarmac of Red Bank Road. With woodland rising to my left and Grasmere opening out to my right I rambled south, after passing The Lea a footpath descended to the lake shore, I descended with it. This is a lovely stretch of path gifting the lucky rambler with some splendid views over the lake, I took my time, soaked them up, just enjoyed life.

The path soon entered Deer Bolts Wood, after a couple of hundred yards a wide path greeted me descending from the right, you may continue along the lake shore if you wish, I opted to climb through the woodland to access Loughrigg Terrace, which is almost as famous as the Gingerbread Shop. The ramble over Loughrigg Terrace gifted me with grey vistas over the Vale of Grasmere, mountains shrouded in dark rain bearing cloud, a strong cool wind cut up the valley, a pretty miserable scene, how can it be miserable a place like this, snap out of it, I did whilst following the terrace path to Rydal Cave.

I ducked inside for a quick wander around before descending the main trod to the shore of Rydal Water. Next to a small shingle beach a kissing gate allowed access to Steps End Wood, I passed through said gate then continued rambling along the lake shore. Gnarled oaks lined the waters edge, spooky, twisted limbs kissing the dark water. The River Rothay marked the end of lake shore rambling, I crossed a footbridge then ascended into the normal world, onto the busy main road.

Just to my right an access road ascended to Rydal Hall, I ascended with it passed St Mary's Church then on to a house much loved and much visited by tourists and scholars. Next to the house a track cuts across the lower slopes of Nab Scar, this is the coffin route to Grasmere, a corps road of old, my return route.

With the corps road under foot I rambled north, easy walking most of the way. Under the woodland and cliffs of Nab Scar, above Nab Cottage, after passing the second of two paths descending to White Moss I stepped onto tarmac. Still on the corps road I rambled on through tall trees, passed picturesque tarns, through a man made landscape. At Hawe Head, I started the short descent passed a stone coffin rest and another house much visited by tourists and scholers, back into the sleepy hamlet of Grasmere.

view route map.


Sarah Nelson's Gingerbread Shop, for 220 years the village school, not mentioning a certain poet but he, his wife and sister all were taught there, through the gate is the cemetery of St Oswald's Church, tucked away in a quiet corner next to the river is one of the most visited literary shrines in the world.

Loughrigg Fell seen from Red bank Road.

Grasmere with the steep slopes of Nab Scar to the left.

Views along the west shore of Grasmere, rising to the right Loughrigg Fell, to the left dark against a bright sky the woodland of White Moss.

Viewing Seat Sandal it's head well and truly in cloud, to the right ducking under the cloud base Stone Arthur.

Other worldly light over Dunmail Raise.

En route through Deer Bolts Wood.

Grasmere as seen from Loughrigg Terrace.

Loughrigg Terrace with views to Nab Scar.

Silver How kissed by cloud.

Looking down on Rydal Water from the Loughrigg Terrace path.

Grey today, head in cloud Helm Crag seen over White Moss Common.

Nab Scar as seen from the mouth of Rydal Cave.

Views the length of Rydal Water, on the horizon Silver How.

From the Coffin Route views to the Ewe Crag face of Loughrigg Fell.

A number of these small rivulets pass under the Coffin Route.

Silver How seen over White Moss.

View taken from William Hills Field, on the far horizon Wansfell Pike.

Helm Crag, or if you're a tourist screeching to a halt on the A591, the Lion and the Lamb, clearly visible in this shot from the parked car.

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