The Lake District Guide

Lake District Valley and Low-level Walks

Walks around Ullswater and the Eastern area of the Lakes

Wet Sleddale

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 climbed: 250ft/70m.

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.

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