The Lake District Guide

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Lake District Valley and Low-level Walks

Ullswater Walks

Seldom Seen - 3 miles

Seldom Seen is a row of cottages in secluded Glencoynedale on the western side of the head of Ullswater. A walk up this dale is highly recommended. The return journey is through farm land through which dogs must be on leash.

Park at Stybarrow Crag. This is half a mile north of Glenridding. Cross the road to the lake shore - which is owned by. the National Trust and is open to the public - and walk on northwards, away from Glenridding. After half a mile the steepness down to the Lake will force you along a path close to the road. Look for a stone track opposite, cross carefully and go onto it. There are two private drives leading from it; one left and one right. Go right on. You are walking on a rough track with Glencoyne Woods towering up the hillside above you. There are some fine old trees hereabouts. Most of them near the track are sycamores. This is not a native tree, but is very common and seeds readily. There are some fine views down Ullswater, particularly about the two seats. Glencoyne farm, which is crowned by the old cylindrical type Lakeland chimney stacks, is below on the right.

At the row of cottages of Seldom Seen turn left up the old path under the pine trees. The crag ahead is Black Crag, the northern will of Sheffield Pike. When you reach a point where the path comes close to the wall near a group of oak trees, look down Ullswater again. Continue on along the path following the wall. You must presently duck below the boughs of a thick-trunked sweet chestnut. Go over the stile, then immediately afterwards turn right and go through the gate. Pick your way carefully among the loose stones beyond, then follow the wall on your right, round the corner onto a grassy path. There is now an open view down Ullswater. The wall is on the right for a time then the path goes downhill away from it towards the cottages of Seldom Seen. The grass is rather steep in places and care should be taken.

Do not go right on to Seldom Seen but head to the front (left) of it, and pick up the path between the property and Glencoyne Beck. The beck is the boundary between the old Cumberland and Westmorland counties. You are of course on the Westmorland side. The trees thriving around here are mainly alders, which prefer wet ground. You. go through a gate onto farmland. The path is not all that clear on the grass but it follows an obvious natural line. It goes by a lone ash tree growing by what was a gap in a wall. The wall is tumbledown. Another broken wall is passed through by another ash tree, and then the path goes left towards the chimneys of Glencoyne Farm. The sheep pens below look a little complicated in design. In fact they have been carefully designed for sheep handling with the least effort. The path goes towards the gable end of the farmhouse, then left through a gate. Go through the farmyard and on down the track to the main road. Cross the road and walk along the lake shore. A raised path is then reached which follows the road and the lake shore. You soon reach your car again.


Ullswater Shore

Ullswater Shore - 6.5 miles

There are several walks in the National Park which have to be done because they typify the unique beauty of the Lake District. One is the walk from Howtown, along the lake side to Patterdale. The views almost all the way are excellent, and there are rocky bays to linger by, and grassy glades to picnic in. With a stop of half an hour for lunch, and an occasional stop to, photograph or just look, one can do the walk in four hours. Having set off on the excursion you could well be tempted to stretch it longer. The walk offers no difficulty to anyone. The only difficulty is offered by a short stretch of busy road at the end.

A trip on the lake "steamer" is necessary. The Ullswater Navigation Company run a regular service on the lake. Park your car in Glenridding, at the head of Ullswater and board the steamer at the public pier. Take a packed lunch (and an emergency ration of chocolate) and you could be back at your car for tea, having seen some superb scenery.

Howtown is the boat's first call. Disembark, leave the pier, and turn right, cross the footbridge and continue to follow the lake shore. A wall and a fence are crossed by stiles. Continue to follow the lake shore by the track. At the gate go through stile and go left up the hillside (signposted). Go through the wicket gate at the top and turn right. Although you have left the lake at this stage you are compensated by excellent views right. The path rejoins the take-side down a steep way through an oak wood, and the shore-line is broken by rocks. You pass through a lovely broad-leafed wood largely of beeches, oaks and elms. One awkward point on the path is a slippery rock, but there are several choices of routes up or around this. Two walls are crossed by stiles and you walk along the shore side of a meadow.

The path bends left to go through a gate, then goes slightly left again to go through the next gate, and on to a stile alongside another. There is a track joined here, look left at the magnificent sycamore tree here. You pass under larch trees, there is a fine farmhouse on the right. Cross the bridge, pass through gate, and turn left along macadam road, and just after the cottages, turn right again to follow footpath - a broad one alongside a wall all the way. After a beck is crossed the path becomes a green one, and at the next bridge cross a bridge to follow the wall up. (There is a waterfall up the fell to the left.) There is a steep section and then when the wall corner is reached at the top the path forks. Take the one falling to the right. The path is now delightful, with good views of the lake again. The path then begins to climb as the surroundings become craggy. The heights above seem. to lean over towards you, and are clothed with dark green junipers broken up by graceful silver birch. At the highest point on the path there is a grassy viewpoint offering a pleasant resting place. The path descends through woods of silver birch, at their best in autumn colours. The woods end in an open area and there is another fork. Continue down the right hand one parallel with the lake shore. A bay is reached and the path rises again to the upper corner of a conifer wood. A wall is followed and the path becomes a track. Where this is joined by another track from the left carry on. The track goes through a gate into a farm yard. Turn right between the buildings to follow the track towards the village of Patterdale.

On joining the main road turn right. There is a short section here on the bend where there is no footpath. There is a quiet pleasant walk then on footpaths which end by a gateway on the left. Make your way over to the lake shore. The footpath proper starts at the boat landing again and you are soon in Glenridding.


Gowbarrow Park from Aira Force Falls - 2.75 miles

This walk leads from Aira Force, Ullswater's well-known waterfall, two and a half miles north of Glenridding, and goes through old park land with good views, returning at a lower level.

Park in Aira Green car park. Leave by the kissing-gate at the far end of the car park as if you are going to the falls. Go across the field. Join the track at the far end of the field, following it through the kissing-gate on the right into the Aira Force wood. Cross the footbridge, bearing round right, on well defined path. Through another kissing-gate and over a wooden footbridge. Then up the steps to the right. Go up the path to a higher level. The path undulates by the river side. Take the left fork to stand on the pretty stone bridge. This is a good viewpoint, but from the far side of the bridge there is a better one. Rejoin the path and take the left fork up the stone steps. Go up to the right, then left up some more steps. Continue on better path. Turn left onto the bridge. This is a good view down the falls. Do not cross the bridge but go back onto the path and continue climbing. Go forward on green footpath. Very shortly the path reaches a T-junction with another green foot path. Turn right and continue down it until you meet a path turning left at the bottom. Follow this path which runs parallel to a fence then take the fork left and climb up the hill side. This is fairly steep but is not too far. When you reach the top of the first rise there is a big boulder. Stop here and admire the view. Looking right back the way you have come the first fell is Sheffield Pike, behind that is the summit of Raise where the skiers find sport in winter. Helvellyn is behind and to the left of Sheffield Pike. In the foreground to the left is Birkhouse Moor. The fell across the lake is Place Fell, and there is a beautiful view of the higher reaches of the lake.

Continue on. Keep on following the path, ignore the sheep trods which leave it. The true track is the better defined one. The higher the climb, the better the view. The beautiful airy path turns left slightly round a corner, and there is a crag on the right with a cairn on it. There is an excellent viewpoint by the cairn, right down the middle section of the lake. The path which we want to reach eventually is directly below this crag, and there is a path to it; but this is a path used by climbers and cannot be generally recommended. Retrace your steps, from this cairn, and follow the footpath on uphill for another section. The path continues very attractively, with good views down the lake. Opposite can be seen the beacon on Hallin Fell and the High Street range is behind. The path goes right round the corner until you are walking with your back towards the lake. Continue on until you go so far round a corner that you seem to be doubling back on yourself. Then the footpath goes round to the right and starts to climb. But down to the right there is a tongue of land, standing higher between two hollows. This is where you should turn and descend.

The descent is rather steep at first. Take it slowly, keeping to the right to avoid dampness. The line of an old broken wall is crossed. Go down towards the little beck with the alder trees. Choose the easiest way down. Keep to the right of the beck and go alongside the plantation. At the far side of the plantation turn right to follow its bottom edge. The lake will come into view again. Walk just inside the wood to avoid the wet sections. As you proceed the planting is of larch. There are red squirrels in this wood. Presently as you go along the edge of the wood a path becomes apparent, striking into the wood a little way. This continues on a contour, the wood falling of to the left. You now leave the wood, crossing over a broken wall under a crag face. For a way the path is fairly rough, and needs care. It rises a little over loose stones, then goes along more easily on grass. A large old ash tree is reached just to side of the path. The crags above may have climbers on them. Continue on path which is more or less on the level. Ignore the path zig-zagging up on the right. There is an old hollow ash tree with a big boulder alongside it with a cairn crowning it. Continue on, on built up path. This is quiet clear and easy. The path runs alongside a larch plantation.

Another path joins from the left. The path progresses between a plantation right and an alder swamp on the left. The plantation is left and the built-up path continues through the alders until an open area is reached, and the path goes alongside a fence. The building left goes under the strange name of Lyulph's Tower. At the path junction turn left into the Aira Force woodland again, rejoining the path by which you left.


Keswick walks - Dowthwaitehead and Thirlmere

Tarn Hows walk

Buttermere walks

Ullswater walks

Borrowdale and Seatoller, Watendlath and Rosthwaite walks


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