Lake District Valley and
Walks around Ullswater and
the Eastern area of the Lakes
A short loop on the rough paths surrounding a small
reservoir, passing through grazing land and scattered woodland. The dale
is surrounded by low, round-topped hills. Length: 3.5 miles/5.5km; Height
Wet Sleddale is a small, shallow dale on the far eastern edge of the Lake
District. To reach it, drive a mile south from Shap on the A6 then turn
right onto a minor road signposted for Wet Sleddale. Follow this road for
a little over a mile, ignoring two roads cutting off to the right, to
reach the small car park by the end of the dam.
Follow the clear path beyond the car park, with a fence to the right and
the water beyond that. Not far from the start a stone wall crosses the way
with a stile over it, just beyond which a clear track swings left towards
a barn. Ignore this and continue along a rough, clear path to a ruin neat.
the west end of the reservoir.
Cross the footbridge over Poorhag Gill, just beyond, then continue along
the top of a field (the path is unclear at this point); swinging right and
dropping down towards Sleddale Beck. As you near the beck there is a large
wooden stile over the wall to the left. Cross this and follow the beck up
to a fine stone bridge.
Cross the bridge and climb straight uphill beyond to a stile over a fence,
visible ahead. Cross this and turn right along the clear track on the far
side; climbing through sparse woodland with a wall to the right.
This leads to a junction by a barn, with the derelict Sleddale Hall
directly uphill. Turn right, through a gate by the barn, and follow a
clear track to Sleddale Grange, where a tarmac road begins. Follow this
down to the side of the river below the dam and watch for a footbridge to
the right. Cross this, join the public road on the far side, and turn
right to return to the start.
The eastern side of Ullswater is quieter. The road is narrow and winding,
and runs south from Pooley Bridge only as far as the scattered collection
of houses at Sandwick, a little over half way down the lake. Beyond
Howtown (along with Glenridding and Pooley Bridge one of the stops for the
lake steamers which operate during the summer) it is better to continue on
foot. The shore linking Howtown and Patterdale is one of the best
low-level routes in the district - though the path is a little rougher
than such a description might suggest.
Between Howtown and Sandwick is the free-standing Hallin Fell. This low
fell provides a short, stiff climb to one of the best viewpoints in the
district. Alternatively, there is a pleasant walk through the woods and
fields at its foot, including a fine stretch by the lakeside.
The other significant lake in the area is Haweswater. Before the 1930s
there was no lake here at all, but now there is a kidney-shaped reservoir
some four miles (6.5kin) long, with its head in the midst of some of the
highest hills in the district. This is principally a centre for high-level
hill walking, but there are shorter climbs and a permitted footpath along
the water's edge.
For those who wish to visit the smaller lakes and tarns in the area, there
are pleasant low-level circuits of the little lake of Brothers Water, in
the valley south of Ullswater, and the small reservoir in Sleddale, as
well as climbs to the hill tarns of Grisedale Tarn and Angle Tarn.