Lake District Valley and
More easy walks near Windermere
Crier of Claife and Lake Shore
6 miles [9.5km]
Claife Heights is the fell facing you across the lake from Windermere. It
is densely wooded with mixed woods facing the lake, and above and beyond
are the thick plantings of the Forestry Commission. Crier of Claife is on
the summit track. (The crier was a fearsome ghost who haunted these woods,
making his presence known with a terrible cry.)
walk is a pleasant woodland excursion, returning along the shore of
Windermere, and is highly recommended. The hardest part of the walk is
directly at the beginning when it goes steeply for a section.
walk starts at Station Wood which is on the Hawkshead side of the
From Windermere the car can be parked at one of the Bowness car parks.
Follow the footpath which starts at the end of the promenade past the
boatyards. This goes by Cockshot Point, along the lake shore, then joins
the road down to the ferry. Cross the lake by the ferry. Walk towards
Hawkshead, and just past the first road junction a little way along, there
is a footpath through a wall gap into a wood. Follow this clear track
until you come to a ruined building.
From Hawkshead, take the ferry road to Windermere. At the bottom of the
steep hill leading to the lake, the road nears the lake shore, and
immediately on the left is a car park in a wood. Park here. Walk out by
the footpath towards the ferry, then branch left and climb at the sign
post. Follow the short but very steep path, waymarked white, to the ruin.
The ruin is the 'station'. This is not to be confused with a railway
station. A station, in the Lake District's romantic era, was where the
discerning visitor was expected to stand, or station himself, to view the
classic views. This station belonged to the Ferry Hotel, now no more an
hotel. Windows faced classic views, and were glazed with coloured glass to
give added effect.
The path leads upwards from the station and is way-marked with white spots
of paint. The path goes between crag faces. The path falls a few steps to
a wet area, then climbs through the trees. The climb is steep. The path
wanders a little, and near the head of a gully goes off right on a gentle
slope, then turns left quite clearly, and zig-zags up to a fence. Turn
right and follow fence under mountain ash clump. Go through gap in wall,
and path goes on and is well defined. There is a view of the lake and
Belle Isle. Bowness Bay with its boat yards is to the right. The path
falls and rises, and goes between a fence and a wall, through a wall gap,
then between fences between two plantations. This path ends at a kissing
gate and T junction. Turn left. Go through gateway and the track then goes
between a fence and a wall. Just after this watch for a gateway on the
right to a track going up between two walls. This is the track you want,
and it should be way-marked white.
After a while a pool, or a wet patch, is on the left. You go through a
gateway. After another interval an open area is reached (good view of
Langdale Pikes, left). Track forks. Go right with wall on right, ignoring
tracks through wall. Follow this track right through; it changes to a
pathway then reaches a stile. Go over. The path beyond can be seen
climbing steeply left, but this is a short section. Follow it through. The
path zig-zags near the top. There are two wet sections in the path.
Near the summit of this path there should be a signpost on the left. The
white waymarks should go off to the left. You turn right however, leaving
the waymarks, and onto a rock view-point. The right-of-way is over to your
left but it is very wet going and you are advised to cross the broken
fence and wall at the view-point and pick up a path going left -
meandering, but going roughly parallel with the old wall and forest-edge.
You can take in some pretty views over Windermere. A beck is crossed by
the wall and the path continues on steeply to a very good look-out point.
From here, the path descends to re-join the more clearly-defined
right-of-way where it has left the conifer forest to enter the
broad-leafed wood. The path goes onwards and meanders. Wet sections can be
avoided left or right. Presently the path shows better preservation, the
lower side of it being built up. Here there are good views across the
lake. The path enters mixed woodland again, and you are now in the area of
the Crier of Claife.
path goes along the right of a spruce plantation, then it begins to lose
height. Ignore path joining from right. Go on to a T junction (ignore
track, sharp right). Turn right and go down the track. The track finishes
by the garden wall of Belle Grange and a T junction is reached. Turn
right, walk along the lake shore. The track goes through pleasant
When the walls of a property ahead are seen (Strawberry Gardens), there is
a very fine large sweet chestnut tree on the right. The track passes above
Strawberry Gardens and approaches the lake shore again. These woods were
once great charcoal producers. The charcoal was made by very controlled
burning of wood. The fire was almost smothered by sods and earth, air
being let in very carefully. Earth platforms called 'pitsteads' were dug
out by the charcoal burners for their fires. There are many pitsteads in
this area, now largely lost in the new woods.
There are views across the lake. Watch for a second old sweet chestnut on
the right. The nuts only ripen successfully very occasionally, as they are
natives of Spain. Go by the cattle grid. The track becomes a surfaced
The island on the left between the shore and the large island of Belle
Isle is Thompson Holme (locally 'Tommy Holme'). On the left farther on two
islands are now seen on the left between you and Belle Isle. These are the
Lilies of the Valley islands; so called because the plant grows wild
there. The much overgrown island just before the ferry is Crow Holme. The
tiny one before it is Maiden Holme. Go by the cattle grid. You are soon at
the T junction with the Hawkshead Ferry road, which was your starting
point. The station is above on the right. Walkers bound for the car park
can go through the wall gap which comes after the footpath gap, and walk
parallel to the road, in the wood, by some good viewpoints.
Windermere Shore Footpath, South to
7.5 miles [12 km]
A circular route of Windermere would be a
marathon, so take the return journey to the starting point by steamer.
Park in one of the Bowness car parks. From
Bowness Pier follow the promenade round past the boathouses and the car
park. At the end of the promenade the pavement curves left but a public
path turns off right between a hedge and fence. This leads onto Cockshot
Point. Follow the path round. At first sight here the lake looks very
narrow but in fact there is a large island in mid-lake, Belle Isle. The
path eventually brings us past the police and lake warden's boat house,
and onto a road. Turn right. This leads to Windermere Ferry. Cross and
disembark on the far shore and walk up the road. Pass the buildings on the
left, and avoid the road with its blind bend, by going through a wall gap
on the right into the wood. Ash Landing Wood (National Trust.) Follow the
road side, climbing through the silver birches, to the top of the small
crag. Here there is a lovely view down the lake. The odd looking structure
on the jetty end on the left of the downward view is Storrs Temple, a
folly built in 1804.
Continue on across the informal car park then across the road. Quit the
road almost immediately by going along the lane left. The wooded fringe of
the lake is on the left, a nursery on the right. The trees thin out to
allow lake access, then the lane bends right to avoid properties, and we
join a surfaced road. Turn left and walk with care. Presently the wood
thins out on the left and there is a stile onto a lake-side field
(signposted). Follow the path to the shore, and walk again by the edge of
the lake. After crossing a footbridge and a stile, after 120 yards there
is a fenced area. Do not be put off by this - the right of way is through
the gap and close to the lake shore. Pass the concrete jetties, but before
going over the stile look back up the lake: there is a good view of the
mountains beyond to the north-east - Yoke, the hump of Ill Bell, then
Froswick and Thomthwaite Crag (2,569 feet) on the High Street range.
The path follows a wooded promontory. Just off shore is an attractive
little wooded island - Ling Holme. There is next a damp section through
reeds, then there is another 'nab' or promontory Rawlinson Nab. The view
up-lake is cut short by Belle Isle. The prominent fell feature in this
direction is Red Screes (2,547 feet) above Kirkstone Pass. Down the lake
on the other hand the prospect is softer and quite beautiful. Following
the track on, there is a reedy island left - Grass Holme - the haunt of
swans. Then the path turns off the road, and you are faced with a twenty
to thirty minute walk on the road after turning left.
If the road is not too busy the walk is enjoyable. There are conifer woods
left and hardwoods right, but there is no grass verge offering security
against traffic until you being to ascend a hill. Ignore the road's
hairpins and take to the path up the grass to the left. At the top of the
hill the road levels before a descent. Watch for the gap in the fence,
left, which should be signposted. Go through the gap and down between the
fences. The path steepens under yew trees then turns right, goes behind
some property, and eventually reaches the lake again. There is another
attractive little island - Silver Holme - before you. Local tradition has
it that there is a hoard of silver hidden under the water at this point. A
small 'nab' after it gives excellent views up and down the lake. The shore
becomes a rock slab known as Long Tongue, and there are more good views. A
little further on, the lake must be left again for ahead is private
property, in the ownership of the YMCA.
The path leaves the lake shore between a high deer fence on the right and
a barbed wire fence, left. The road is then reached. Although only a
secondary road it can be busy. Turn left. Go carefully and after a few
minutes watch for a gap in the wall into the wood right. Follow the
roadside in the wood.
After about ten minutes one is again forced onto the road by swamp and
steep ground opposite the entrance to the YMCA South Camp. Less than
fifteen minutes later you should be at a group of buildings - Stock Park.
You must now look at your watch and make a decision. The Lakeside Pier for
the steamer is twenty minutes - allow thirty - along the road, which needs
even more care after you have turned left at the first junction as there
are blind bends. If you have an hour left before steamer time a
comfortable and pleasant diversion can be made across the fields to avoid
the road hazards.
The detour starts directly after the buildings along a lane on the right,
bending sharply. On reaching the fork in it bear left. Go on through the
gate and across the field. Bear right, keeping the grass hump just to the
left, and then go through the gateway in the wall. Then make for the point
ahead where the walls on the wood boundaries on the left and right appear
to converge. Go through the gate, and along a track to a quiet road. Turn
right and make for the village church at Finsthwaite. In the churchyard is
an interesting grave, that of 'Clementina Johannes Sobiesky Douglass, of
Waterside' (1771). The presence of a 'Polish princess' here was once
something of a mystery but it is now assumed that the lady, who lived
quietly near here, was the illegitimate daughter of 'Bonnie Prince
Charlie' by his mistress Clementina Walkenshaw, god-daughter of his
mother, Clementina Sobiesky.
Take the road past the village school nearby. The road quickly changes to
a footpath at an odd stile. Make for the gateway in the field ahead and on
to the wicket gate. Follow the track then through the wood and downhill.
This brings us onto the road again, but the more hazardous sections have
been avoided. Turn right and Lakeside steamer pier is soon reached.