It is that time of year: the bluebells are out! And the best place to see bluebells in the Lake District is at Rannerdale Knotts. This area is one of my favourite places to hike at any time of year and there are some fabulous trails around Buttermere and Crummock Water. However, when the bluebells are out, it is simply breathtaking. The valley is just covered in a vibrant bluey-purple carpet! My photos do not do it justice.
Where is Rannerdale Knotts?
Rannerdale Knotts is one of the smaller fells in the Lake District. It is located above Buttermere and Crummock Water. The narrow road (the B5289) runs alongside both lakes and Rannerdale Knotts is on the other side of the road from the water. It can be approached either from the Buttermere end or the Crummock Water end.
When is the best time to see the bluebells at Rannerdale?
The bluebells usually start flowering late in April and continue through May. It can vary of course from year to year depending on what the weather has been like.
How best to see the bluebells at Rannerdale
We usually choose to park along by Crummock Water and there are a few small carparks as well as some on-road parking (although the road is narrow so these spots have to be carefully selected). There is National Trust Parking in Buttermere village.
Parking near Crummock Water has the advantage that the trail from there leads directly to the bluebell valley. The trail is well marked and the lower part of it, where the bluebells are prolific, is roped to deter people from going into the flowers. The trail at this lower part of Rannerdale is quite easy and the bluebells are spectacular.
If one continues further up the trail, climbing a stile and heading uphill, there are more bluebell fields, but the track becomes steeper and a little more challenging. It is nothing that a reasonably fit person cannot manage, however.
Hiking over Rannerdale Knotts
The bluebells are fairly low on the fell, but leaving them behind, there is the option of a fabulous hiking trail here. Carry on up the trail and on to the ridge, high over Crummock Water. This forms a loop back to the bluebell valley and is well worth doing as the views are magnificent. One can see right down Buttermere to Haystacks and the whole of Crummock Water. Lowes Water is also visible in the distance. Even on the fairly cloudy bluebell day I took these photos, the views are wonderful. On a sunny day, they are superb.
The trail is relatively straightforward with some up and down and several false summits, but eventually, it heads back down to the road. This is the most challenging part of the trail as it is very steep downhill with rough-hewn steps.
I would not like to slip on this rocky downhill slope. It would, of course, be possible to tackle this route in the other direction (anti-clockwise), going up this steep part rather than down. At another time in the year I might prefer to do this, but when the bluebells are out, it is difficult not to go to see them first!
Final thoughts on visiting the Rannerdale Bluebells
Because the bluebells only bloom for a few weeks each year, the area can become quite busy at this time. Who would not want to see this fantastic display? For this reason, a week day is preferable to a weekend or bank holiday and getting there early is best for parking.
And it goes without saying: don’t trample the flowers or be tempted to pick them. Everyone wants to enjoy them!
Other posts about the Lake District
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