Top 5 Walking Routes in the Lake District
The Lake District boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in Britain and the walks are a great way of taking in the picturesque landscape.
Below we have outlined our top 5 favourite walks in the region. These include well-trodden favorites as well as those slightly more off the beaten track. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did!
1. Borger Dalr geology walk, Borrowdale (4 miles)
Borger Dalr was described by the famed fellwalker and writer Alfred Wainwright as the “finest square mile in Lakeland”, and it is not hard to see why! One look at the spectacular views you encounter along the trail and you will be equally inspired by the jaw dropping scenery. The walk takes you around the stunning valley, and leads you to explore the historic origins of Borrowdale as you walk from Grange to Castle Crag, which was the site of a 2,000 year old hill fort and which commands some of the most spectacular views in the region. Take a moment to pause and appreciate Peace How, a small peak, which was bought by the government in 1917 for the benefit of the nation as a place where soldiers returning from the front line in Europe could find some peace and tranquility.
Further along you will also pass Dalt Quarry, a picturesque wetland habitat that has developed out of the abandoned quarry.
2. Buttermere to Rannerdale (3 miles)
The trees at the southern tip of Buttermere, known as The Sentinels, are thought to be some of the most famous and photographed trees in the Lake District. If you are lucky enough to be passing through on a still day, when the sun is low, you will never forget The Sentinels stunning reflection in the lake over which they preside. The route also takes you along past Crummock Water, which is fed by Scale Force, the highest falls in the Lake District. Here you can find a stunning pebbly beach at its northern tip, which is a perfect location for a romantic picnic or a splash about in the warmer months. These walks around Buttermere are relatively straightforward, however, if you are after something a little more challenging that provides you with views that make the hard work worthwhile, head to Rannerdale Knotts. This valley is thought to be where Norman warriors, in their conquest of Britain, were defeated in battle, and the bluebells which bloom there every spring are said to grow from their blood. Its bizarre to think how something so lovely can originate from such a grizzly legend!
3. Greendale and Middle Fell Walk (3.5 miles)
If you prefer to hike routes that are more off the beaten track, then west is the best! This side of the Lake District boasts pristine unspoiled natural beauty, which you don’t have to share with the scores of other hikers thanks to the area’s perceived inaccessibility. The walk guides you to Wasdale Screes and Wastwater – England’s deepest lake, and then along past Greendale Tarn and up to the summit of Middle Fell, which provides the perfect alternative view of Wasdale, with its impressive screes and lake. From this viewpoint, the Scafell range can be seen to the east at the head of the valley. On warm, still days look out for the rare mountain ringlet butterfly along the peak. This walk is a great way of experiencing the quieter side of the Western Fells. If you are fortunate and visibility is good, you can spot the Isle of Man in the distance rising dramatically up out of the Irish Sea.
4. Summer star gazing walk at Friar’s Crag (0.75 miles)
The walk provides a beautiful and varied hike to Friars Crag, a viewpoint described by John Ruskin as one of the three most beautiful scenes in Europe. If you leave just before sunset, you will pass the circular stone memorial for Ruskin and fellow poet Rawnsley, over which you can watch the sun set. As you continue along the trek, you reach the Crag itself, which is a promontory that juts out into Derwentwater, and looks out over Derwent Isle and the surrounding landscape. On a clear still night, it must be one of the most spectacular locations on earth, as the night sky is perfectly clear in the clean Cumbrian air. After hiking up, make sure you gaze across Derwentwater, which if it is a clear night will be brilliantly illuminated by the reflections of thousands of stars dancing off still water. The land in this area was the first piece of the Lake District to be owned by the National Trust, and it is easy to understand why.
5. Corpse Road and Tumuli walk (3.6 miles)
Since these hills were first settled, families have used the corpse trail to carry their dead from their remote communities to their final resting places. There is something eerie, yet stirring about walking the Cumbrian corpse roads. Perhaps it’s the remote connection you feel with those who have passed before, or simply the dwarfing perspective that is conjured when you consider how insignificant the trivialities of your everyday life will seem when someone walks the same path in a few generations time. These paths are a rousing way of getting under the skin of the Cumbrian landscape. The corpse trail itself follows a patchwork of natural and archaeological features, which include a traditional farm, and other evidence of human activity dating from the Bronze Age to the Second World War. However, this walk isn’t all about connecting with enchanting spirits of the past, as the trail passes some equally spellbinding scenery. Loweswater in particular is a really charming lake surrounded by pleasant woodlands, which are home to a thriving population of red squirrels. It is worth embarking on this trek after its been raining – something that seems to occur all too frequently in the lake district – as Holme Force Falls are at their most spectacular after a downpour.