Loughrigg Terrace and the Coffin Route.

Start. Rydal.

Route. Rydal - Steps End - Rydal Cave - Loughrigg Terrace - Deerbolts Wood - Grasmere - Red Bank Road - Grasmere Village - Town End - Coffin Route - Rydal.

Notes. Ease of access, stunning scenery, two lakes, the Wordsworth connection all topped off with fine vistas, that’s what makes this one of the most popular low level walks in the Lake District. Me well I was here through default, it was absolutely bucketing down when I arrived at Ambleside, another plan was needed, this was it.

After parking at Rydal and dragging some waterproofs on I then made my way to the Badger Bar, not for a drink or shelter, directly across the road a path descends to a footbridge allowing access to Steps End Wood and the Rydal Water shore, this path I followed. Through dripping woodland I wandered, ancient oaks low-hanging, heavy with water hung over the waters edge, cloud drifted over the hills, pretty dejected I wandered on. On leaving the woods I ascended to the higher of two paths, this possibly an old quarryman's track ushered me to Rydal Cave, formally Loughrigg Quarry. Two hundred years ago this was a busy working quarry supplying roofing slate for the houses of Grasmere, Rydal and growing Ambleside.

After a quick look into the cave I continued, the well used path that guided me lead onto Loughrigg Terrace, even on a grey day the views although misty were stunning, I stopped many times to drink them in before stepping into Deerbolts Wood. A good path descends through mature woodland, I descended with it to access Grasmere lake shore. With a good path under foot and the shoreline for company I slowly wandered north, the path soon swung left depositing me on Red Bank Road, I continued walking north but now tarmac guided me.

This ribbon of the grey stuff ushered me into Grasmere village, passed the Garden Centre depositing me in Church Stile, the road passes St Oswald’s Church, the Wordsworth graves are in the cemetery next to the river if you wish to pay them a visit, many do. I continued through the village to the main road, crossed to access Town End and the start of the Rydal to Grasmere Coffin Route. This corpse road was used in medieval times to carry the dead to consecrated ground at St Oswald's in Grasmere, today it makes for a stunning woodland walk, with good views thrown in.

Tarmac guided me through Town End passed Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum, at the corner of a dry stone wall a coffin rest proves this was definitely a corpse road. Tarmac walking continued, a friendly finger-post promised passage to Rydal via said Coffin Route. As the tarmac narrowed it guided me over White Moss Common, to the left, hard to define it's edges softened by vegetation Whitemoss Tarn, here the tarmac ended to be replaced by a stoney track. This track shepherded me along the edge of mature woodland under the steep slopes and scree of Nab Scar, every so often stolen views across Rydal Water warned me the weather was closing in, passed another coffin rest I walked eventually stepping from the path above Rydal Mount another one of Wordsworth’s Lakeland homes, just down the road Rydal Church and the patiently waiting car.

view route map.


Rydal Water with mist rolling down the lower slopes of Nab Scar.

View from Steps End taken along the south shore of Rydal Water.

Even on an overcast dank day the views over Rydal Water are lovely.

Taking shelter in Rydal Cave.

Low cloud over the Vale of Grasmere as seen from Rydal Cave.

To the left rising through the finger of cloud the slopes of Nab Scar, with Low Pike and Sweden Crag across the skyline.

Murky Helm Crag seen over the tree tops of White Moss.

One of many stops on Loughrigg Terrace to soak up the views over Grasmere.

En route through Deerbolts Wood.

From Grasmere Lake shore views to sylvan White Moss with Nab Scar rising behind.

Grasmere Lake shore on the edge of Deerbolts Wood.

Grey over Grasmere, cradled in cloud Helm Crag.

Looking towards the woodland of White Moss with cloud washing the lower slopes of Nab Scar.

Stone Arthur looms above the Vale of Grasmere.

Viewed from Red Bank Road, Silver How rising through the murk.

Just up the road from Dove Cottage, tucked under a dry stone wall a coffin rest, we're now treading the surface of the Coffin Route.

It may of been your last journey but what a journey, Rydal Water backed by Loughrigg Fell.

Coffin Rest No2 which I took the view above from.

Looking back across the wooded slopes of Nab Scar.

A final look over Rydal Water tells me the weather's closing in.

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