The Lake District Guide

Lake District Valley and Low-level Walks

Wasdale walks

Nether Wasdale - 4.5 miles

Most of the walkers in Wasdale make for the head of the valley or the lake shore. The lower valley - Nether Wasdale - is largely unwalked, yet it has a lot to offer. This walk described goes through the valley fields from the hamlet of Strands before climbing the slopes of Nether Wasdale common which offers pleasant views. Some of the walk can be wet after rain.

Park in the hamlet of Strands. This is four miles to the east of Gosforth, turning right, as signposted, after three. Approaching from Eskdale Green, and turning right as signposted for Wasdale at Santon Bridge, you go for two, miles up this road and the hamlet is along the road to the left.

There is a small church in the hamlet, worth a visit as it is a typical dale church - built like a barn. The walk starts here. Walk past the church towards the farm, but before entering the farmyard turn left through the gate. Go down the track beyond to the fork, and go right to follow the wall on the right, and to the right of the wood.

Go through a wall gap and forward on the track. Go on to the next fork and bear left there. The path is obscure through scrub. Go ahead keeping to the right of the wood. You see a wall ahead. Seventy yards from the wall corner there is a stone step-stile. Go over this. Go forward on wettish ground towards the crags of Buckbarrow in the distance. As the ground rises there is a good view of the valley head, with the famous screes on the right.

By a wall corner ahead there is a gate. Go through this. Follow the wall on your left, go through the gap and continue following the wall. You go through a gate and then follow a track between walls. Go through a gate and on beyond the farmyard. You pass a cottage and then cross a cattle grid. Go on with the wall to join the road and turn left. There is a wood right, and Tosh Tarn can be seen below on the left. Shortly there is a track going up from the road on the right. Take this.

Cross the bridge, go through the gate and continue up. As you rise, look back and rest to enjoy one of the best views of Wastwater Screes. Forward on the left is a view out to sea across the Ravenglass estuary. As you get higher the views are more extensive. If the day is clear you should see the Isle of Man.

Before reaching the farm (Windsor) go right, up the bank, with the wall. You should find a faint track. As you round the corner you have a view over the plains of Nether Wasdale to the sea. Cross a beck, the track levels off and you pass a sheep pen. After this follow the wall round to the left, but keep fairly well out from the wall to avoid the wetness. As the wall bends left further, go ahead towards the corner of the spruce wood in front.

This area is now rather trackless and you can avoid the boggy areas with care. Before reaching the wood go round left by a little beck. You are then walking down a pleasant grassed area between walled enclosures, the wood on the right. You eventually cross the beck by the right-hand wall. Go on where the track reaches a ford, go left over it and then down between walls on a sloping track.

When the track emerges from the walls turn right and follow the wall down on the right by a green track. Go through the gate at the bottom of the hill, join the road and turn right. There is a group of yew trees on the right. Presently a branch road can be seen on the left. Go down this past a farm. This by-road is quite narrow. Keep a look out for traffic on blind bends. At road junction turn left. Go past Low Wood Hall you are back at your starting point at Strands.

Wastwater Foot - 4.5 miles

Scenically this is the best walk in this book. Your first view of Wasdale is across the lake to Wast Water Screes - a great crumbling wall of the fell slipping slowly into the lake. The screes steal the scene, like a menacing giant. But stand at the lake foot, under the screes, looking on up it to the fells of the head, magnificent and remote, and here is something quite beautiful. Comparatively few visitors see this view because you have to walk to it. But this is one of the finest scenes in Britain.

The walk starts east of Strands village. This starting point is reached by driving down from Gosforth on the Wasdale road, and taking a right fork after three miles. Drive through the tiny village of Strands, past the maypole erected for Victoria's jubilee by the little dale church, and soon you cross a little bridge over a beck (Cinderdale). Bear right and park.

To reach this point from Eskdale Green, take the Santon Bridge road and turn right there for Wasdale. After four and a half miles you cross a little hump bridge (Forest Bridge), and you are at the triangle of land in the centre of road junctions. Park on the grass.

Walk south as if you are going to Santon Bridge and Eskdale, and in a few yards after the hump bridge there is a lane on the left between walls with a gate. Go through here, and follow the lane. There are Scots pines on the right and a good view of Wast Water Screes in front. As you walk further on the view over the valley, left, is good. Great Gable occupies the central position of the fells at the head. Follow the track through the farmyard (Easthwaite Farm). Go past the farmhouse, go through the gate or over the stile and continue on down the track. Now you are walking towards the valley head, go through another gate, and on through another. Over on the left the harsh-looking crag is Buckbarrow. Go through another gate, and on towards the screes now towering above you. Go through another gate and cross a beck and you reach a bridge and stile. From this point the way doubles back; but it is worth going on a little further to enjoy a view. Follow the river which is on your left. There is a good view up the lake now. From this viewpoint Yewbarrow dominates the valley head. Enjoy the view, with the screes towering steeply above, and turn back.

Go back over the stile and almost immediately bear right. Go over a footbridge and stile and continue to follow the river, under some birch and ash trees. You go alongside a meadow. Go over another stile and there is an arch-bridge on the right Cross this bridge and go through the gate. Go immediately right through a kissing-gate. You are walking alongside the river again, but on the other side. You come to a boathouse and the path goes left.

You have now reached the classic view to the valley head, walking on the lake shore. Gable is again the dominant hulk at the valley head. Linger here and enjoy it.

Across to the left is Wasdale Hall, now a youth hostel. Continue on this dry and well-made track. When the path forks go right and along the lake shore (the left-hand way is kept private). Go under a yew tree. From this point there is another excellent and quite different view across the lake to the screes. Go through the kissing-gate and continue on, on the terraced path by the lake shore. Go over a stile and you are walking alongside a meadow on the lake shore. You now see a view of the screes and the head. Boggy ground can be avoided by keeping close to the lake. You presently come to a rough section of path, some steps, and a ladder stile. Go over this stile. Climb up the bank opposite for another view up the lake, then go left and join the road.

Turn left down the road, over the grid. Continue on with Wasdale Hall wood now on your left, and another on the right, and presently there is a lane on the right between old walls and dikes. Go up here. The wall on the right here is still in good condition. This was once the hall's kitchen garden. This is passed, and you continue on the track between walls. Buckbarrow Crag is over on the right. Go through the gate and follow the wall on the right by a path which runs parallel to the wall. This path is only sketchy but it can be seen. You come to a T junction with a path which comes from a gate on the right and passes alongside a ditch and dike. Turn left here. This is a moss you now walk over and there is a good panorama in view. Go through a rickety gate.

You reach a little house on the left (Shepherd's House). Go through a gate and the track bends left between walls. join the road and turn right. The dikes here are quite high. After a short while you reach the triangle of land where you started.

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