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Easy walks in the Lake District

by | Destinations | 16 comments

The Lake District is hiking country! There are some absolutely fabulous trails stretching for miles across this beautiful landscape, taking in steep mountains, high ridges, rocky scrambles……But what if you are not looking for anything quite so adventurous or challenging just now? Perhaps today you just want an easy, low level walk in beautiful countryside where no compass is required, civilisation is not far away and walking boots are optional? You just want to enjoy a walk without worrying about having to call out mountain rescue?  If that is the case, here are three easy walks in the Lake District to enjoy.

View over Grasmere

Easy walks in the Lake District #1: Rydal Water and the Coffin Route

The Coffin Route walk above Rydal Water is one of my favourite walks. The views are wonderful at all times of the year and the trail is interesting with lots of variety. This walk is a loop and is just under 6km

Rydal is between Ambleside and Grasmere, a tiny hamlet set on the beautiful Rydal Water. It is also the location of Rydal Mount, home of poet William Wordsworth. The trail runs along the edge of Rydal Water on one side and then back along the Coffin Route on the other side (or vice versa). The Coffin Route is the trail along which the coffins were carried from Rydal to the church in Grasmere in days gone by.

The Route

 

Map of Coffin Route

Click on map to open Google Maps (This map is copyright Google, Map data 2020)

 

The route is largely flat with a few undulations and one short steep section. Most of the path is very even and could be managed with a buggy, but there is a significant section on the Coffin Route itself which is rocky and not suitable for pushchairs.  There are also a couple of streams with stepping stones along the side of Rydal Water.

Along the side Rydal water an easy walk in the Lake District

The loop can be undertaken in either a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction and can be started from several different points. I would suggest parking at Pelter Bridge car park and from there taking the narrow road/path up towards the lake. Pass through the gate and continue along the trail. The trail splits and there is the option of taking the low trail along by the lake or the higher trail which goes to the slate mine caves. I have marked the lower trail on the map above, but you can see where the trial forks to head up to the caves.

Looking out from the slate mine at Rydal

Stepping stones into the slate mine at Rydal

On a clear day there are fine views of the Langdales. Both trails end up at the same place at the end of Rydal Water. From there, follow the path towards the road and cross over the foot bridge. Cross the road look for the sign post:

Sign post

This path leads up to the Coffin Route and is the steepest part of the hike, but it is not long. When you reach the intersection of trails, turn right, back towards Rydal. (If you turned left along the Coffin Route at this point, you would end up in Grasmere.) The first part of this trail is a little rocky and up and down, but it does level out and become much easier. There are some wooded sections along the trail and also some wonderful views across Rydal Water.

View from the Coffin Route, one of the easy walks in the Lake Distrcit

In the woods on the Coffin Route

Eventually you arrive at a drive way and will see St Mary’s Church off to the right. Adjacent to this is Dora’s field, named for Wordsworth’s daughter. This is full of daffodils and bluebells in the spring and is very beautiful.

Daffodils in Dora's Field

As you come to the main drive, Rydal Mount, Wordsworth’s home is slightly up the hill to the left.

Turn right down the hill towards the main road. Cross the road and head up to the left a little way. It will take you back to the bridge you crossed to reach the carpark at the start.

Easy Walks in the Lake District #2: Orrest Head

The Orrest Head walk is a out and back walk near Lake Windermere and the views from the top are among the finest in the Lake District. The whole walk takes about an hour and in dry weather trainers or flat shoes are sufficient. The first part of the route is on a clearly marked uphill trail, but it is not particularly steep or long.  I have also suggested this short walk as part of an itinerary for a one day visit to the Lake District. From the top of Orrest Head, it is possible to take an alternative route down the back of the hill to make this walk into a loop. This would take a little longer than the out and back route  and if it has been raining, it can be quite boggy on the way down, so boots would be required.

The Route

Orrest Head Walk route map

Click on map to open Google Maps (This map is copyright Google, Map data 2020)

 

 The starting point is just across the road from the Railway Station in the village of Windermere. Cross the road and the path is marked. Follow the trail up. Most of the main trail is broken tarmac, but the last 100 metres is a bit steeper and rockier. There are one or two options as the trail winds its way up the hill, but they all end up at the top. Watch out for the Gruffalo!

Sculpture of the Gruffalo on the Orrest Head walk

At the top, admire the view! On a clear day from Orrest Head you can see right across to the Langdales and it is beautiful. Unfortunately it was a little hazy when I took these photos, but still impressive.

View from the top of Orrest Head

View from Orrest Head, an easy walk in the Lake District

 

 

Easy Walks in the Lake District #3: Gummer’s How

The walk up Gummer’s How is a little more challenging in that there is a bit of a scramble at the top. However, the views from the top make the climb well worth it and there is a slightly easier route if you go round the side of the hill near the top. The whole walk there and back takes less than an hour, depending how long you spend admiring the view and taking photographs! The uphill trail is well marked and at first is very even, but it becomes rockier towards the top and there are steps cut into the rock in places. The route is an out and back, apart from the very top where it is better to take a slightly different way to avoid descending the steep scramble.

The Route

Gummers How Map

Click on map to open Google Maps (This map is Copyright Google, Map data 2020)

 

Gummer’s How is at the Lakeside end of Lake Windermere . It is signposted off to the left on the A 592 as you approach Lakeside from Bowness. The drive up is quite steep, but not single track. There is a small car park area off to the right near the trail head, and a few spaces on the road too.

The trail starts on the opposite side to the car park about 100 meters further up the hill. There are likely to be cattle roaming around. This special Scottish breed were introduced as a conservation measure, as a notice explains at the start of the trail.

Cow on path at Gummer's How

The first part of the path is easy, but it does become a little more challenging as you climb and there is section with rocky, uneven steps.

Stepped area on Gummer's How

The trail wends its way upwards and, as indicated above, the last section is a bit of a scramble but not too difficult.

Scramble at the top of Gummer's How

There is a track off to the right instead if you would like to avoid this. This track takes you round the back of the hill where there is an easier climb to the top. I would recommend coming down this way, regardless of which way you went up.

Track off to the right on Gummer's How

Track off to the right to avoid the scramble

There are fantastic views over the lake and towards the fells. Enjoy!

View from the top of Gummer's How on easy walks in the Lake Distrcit

Peter and Beth looking out from Gummer's How on easy walks in the Lake Distrcit

View over Windermere from Gummer's How

 

Please note that in the maps above where I have drawn in the walking trail, this is an approximation to give a rough idea of the direction. 

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16 Comments

  1. Love a post with lots of gorgeous pics! Feel like i have been there in a way. And these easy walks are just about the type of walk we like.

    Reply
  2. Thanks for all the great pictures. This place reminds of going hiking anywhere in the Appalachian Mountains here. Lots of rolling hills and lakes. It looks like a great place to go hiking.

    Reply
  3. I spent my childhood getting lost in the Lake District. I’m lucky enough to be from the area and still can’t get enough every time I visit the UK now. Ambleside will always be my favorite town in the Lakes so most of my walks centre around or through there

    Reply
    • Ambleside is my favourite village. My husband grew up here too.

      Reply
  4. All three have such a wonderful view on offer. But you never told us the gruffalo lives there. Not worth the risk of meeting him.

    Reply
  5. Great options for easy walks, Jane! You know I’m dying to get to the Lake District. 🙂 I’ll keep your blog handy (and let you know) when I actually make it there!! The views look so wonderful.

    The gruffalo and the Scottish cow made me smile 🙂

    Reply
    • That would be great Lannie. We can check out the caves too. I know you like caves!

      Reply
  6. What a beautiful area for hikes! I’ve never been in this area but it looks incredibly beautiful and calm, a great place to hit the trails! Thanks for sharing this with us!

    Reply
  7. This looks like a place I could enjoy a gorgeous hike indeed! I love the scenic landscape there! Oh how I love to explore caves too! And the Scottish cattle… looks interesting, 🙂

    Reply
  8. The Lakes District looks perfect for a relaxing drive and an easy walk, my favourite ways of exploring… Great photos too!

    Reply
  9. I would pick Gummer’s How. I would love to see the cows and a view is definitely worth a scramble.

    Reply
  10. The Lake District is a place I’ve longed to visit. I’m a hiker and walker and really appreciate the details for these walks and that there is a mix of easy and harder choices. Love that Dora has a field named after her. I would love to know the story behind that.

    Reply
  11. We would probably choose the first hiking trail as we like to walk without having to call out for help. And also because it’s flat but has interesting caves to explore!

    Reply
  12. Great article. I look forward to enjoying these walks. My husband and I were scheduled to do The Dales Way this past May, but the pandemic put that on hold. Still planned for next year. Thanks for the great information on some other walks we can do.

    Reply
    • The Dales Way is wonderful. We often do bits of it from where we live, but have never attempted the whole way. Hope you enjoy these somewhat easier and shorter walks when circumstances allow!

      Reply

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Hello

Hello!  I’m Jane. I live in the Lake District in the north of England with my husband, Peter. We love to travel, but this is a great place to call home.

We gave up work in order to travel and do all the things we were not able to do in our careers. We know we are incredibly lucky to be able to do this.

We are quite active and love skiing, hiking, biking, exploring etc, but we also enjoy history, art, music, science…..and good food and wine! In this blog, you will find articles on all of these subjects as we discover them on our travels.

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Jane

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