The Lake District Guide

Lake District Valley and Low-level Walks



Start/finish Small parking area by Maggie’s Bridge, Loweswater, grid ref 135211
Distance 6 1/2 miles/10.5km
Time 3-4 hours
Height gained 560ft/170m
Terrain Good tracks and paths.
Refreshments Kirkstyle Inn, Loweswater
Toilets None on walk
Map OS Explorer OL4
Transport Telephone Traveline 0-871 200 2233

Loweswater turns to the north-west and is the smallest of three lovely lakes often grouped together, the others being Buttermere and Crummock Water. This route enables walkers to use good bridleways to enjoy the delightful setting. The first part takes you high above the lake on easy graded paths, with magnificent views for much of the way. The return route leads you beside the charming lake through pleasing deciduous woodland and makes a short detour to see a series of delectable falls, known as Holme Force.

The Walk

1 From the small parking area turn left for a couple of steps and then right to cross Dubb’s Beck by Maggie’s Bridge. Stride on across the flat lush pastures of the valley on Maggie Lonnin, with fine views ahead of Carling Knott and Black Crag, the latter a spur of Gavel Fell, which lies behind. To your left looms the large bulk of Mellbreak. Remain on the track as it begins to rise towards High Nook Farm, built in the sixteenth century, and set among Scots pine. It is near here that an old coffin track once crossed above the farm and continued along the lower slopes of Carling Knott. The coffins, carried on horseback, were taken this way for the dead to be buried at St Bees Abbey.

2 A quarter-of-a-mile beyond the farm, at a junction of tracks take the right branch. At the next Y-junction, a short way along, walk the left branch leading to little High Nook Tarn, a quiet sheet of water lying in a hollow between Carling Knott and Black Crag. After your visit return to the Y-junction and turn left on an indistinct path. Step across two little streams, negotiate small patches of bog and then follow a grassy swathe that leads down to a footbridge over Highnook Beck, which remains hidden almost to the last step.

3 Beyond, wind a little left and then take the pleasing grassy bridleway that ascends, easily, the southern slopes of Carling Knott to the top corner of Holme Wood. Here the way winds round along the side of the stiled walled plantation of Scots pine, with the dour north slopes of Carling Knott now to your left. The bridleway then moves away from the wall and descends to a wide tractor bridge over Holme Beck. Walk on along the continuing wide bridleway, which rises quickly and curves round high on the steep rocky side of Burnbank Fell. Pause here on the open fell, to look over the forest and across the lake for splendid views of Grasmoor and Whiteside.

4 Carry on for nearly a mile along the excellent roller-coaster grassy way, with more fine views across West Cumbria and of Darling Fell on the other side of the Loweswater, the latter still only glimpsed far below. This delectable high-level way brings you to a ladderstile and a gate. Beyond, pause again as you turn right beside the wall, to see all of Loweswater and the tip of Crummock Water. Follow the track downhill and where it wends left to pass through another gate or stile. Stroll on, bearing right to pass twin hillocks on your right. Just where the track bends left and continues to the road, turn right through two gates, onto a pasture and walk ahead beside the wall on the right. Then descend a pleasing grassy path towards Iredale Place, with more good views of Loweswater ahead. Go through two gates and continue on, ignoring a track off to the left. Walk the roughly reinforced gated way, to pass right of Jenkinson Place. Head on to the next gate to stroll beside a row of hawthorns to your left.

5 Just before Hudson Place, look for a stile, on your left, tucked into the hedge and beyond, follow the wall of the garden round right to join the access track to the farm. Bear right, signed for Holme Wood, to pass the dwelling and then go left through a gate to walk a walled track heading towards the lake. Dawdle on through scattered oaks and look on the lake for pochard, coot and goldeneye. Then go through a gate into the glorious deciduous woodland, which at first stretches gently upward and then very steeply to the pines walked above, much earlier. When you near the footbridge over Holme Beck, turn right before it along a wide track and then ascend a little to stand on another footbridge to see Holme Force plummeting white-topped from high above.

6 Return to the main track, turn right, cross the footbridge and follow the excellent way to emerge from the trees by a gate. Follow the bridleway round, left, to pass Watergate Farm and then carry on to curve right along the delightful way, with Mellbreak immediately ahead. A short way along, on the left, you reach the car park.

Carling Knott from start of walk 5391
Loweswater and Mellbreak 5418
Bridge over Holme Force 5430


There are so many good walks that start from the pleasing village of Staveley. This one takes you up through the magnificent deciduous woodland of Craggy Plantation. It continues over the fine grassy ridge above and then on until you can start your descent through Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s three separate areas of woodland, collectively known as Dorothy Farrer’s Spring Wood, where bluebells carpet the woodland floor and make it a paradise.


Start/finish Park in Mill Yard, Staveley, grid ref 471983. If approaching from Kendal, leave the bypass and drive through the village to turn sharp right beyond the Spar shop. If using the TransPennine line, turn left after descending the steps from the station and walk into the village. Then right along the main street for St Margaret’s Tower.

Distance 4 miles/6.5km
Time 2-3 hours
Height gained 393ft/119m
Terrain Long steady climb through Craggy Plantation and then on up the ridge. Pleasing path across pastures and fairly easy descent through the reserve
Refreshments Wilf’s Café, Mill Yard – where you have parked.
Toilets In the village
Map OS Explorer OL 7
Public transport TransPennine line, Oxenholme to Windermere. Make sure the train stops at Staveley. Well supplied with buses, Tel Traveline 0871 200 2233

The Walk

1 Return to the main road from the parking area and turn left. A short way along you reach the Tower, once a 4th century chapel, built by William de Thweng who obtained a market charter for Staveley. Just before it, turn left and walk beside the cemetery and then continue along a walled track to reach the high-level footbridge over the surging River Kent. Beyond, go right along the riverside and then follow the track, left, to pass through an ancient iron kissing gate on the left side of a collection of buildings. Cross a track and go ahead through a signed gate to walk up a path beside a grassy hillock, topped with a seat. Carry on to go through a kissing gate onto a minor road.

2 Stroll right along the quiet hedged way to take an even narrower lane going off left. Carry on until you can enter Craggy Plantation by a gate on your left, with a board welcoming walkers into the wood. It certainly is craggy but has no sense of a plantation about it – it is a vast wonderland of fine deciduous trees. Follow the path leading off right, climbing steadily uphill, much of which has been stepped. As you go look up to see several of the huge crags that give the wood its name. The path then begins to wind left and comes to another seat close to the top boundary. From here you can look up into Kentmere. Carry on where the path becomes a little indistinct and passes below and then above various crags. Keep ahead at this point and look for the narrow wooden edging on the left side of the path to keep you on your way. Pass under a huge tree obviously used as a meeting place for adventurous youngsters.

3 The path brings you to a step stile by which you emerge from the woodland. Turn right and go through a farm gate and continue parallel with the wall on your left as you climb a pleasing pasture. Go through the next two pastures by ladderstiles. Then begin a steady descent to the next ladderstile and on towards Littlewood farm, keeping by the boundary on your right as asked. Just before the farm and its beautiful holly tree, go through the waymarked gate on your right. Take the next gate just along on your right and stroll the fine pastures with high slopes away to your left. Carry on to join a farm track and walk left to the fell road and a signpost.

4 Turn right and stroll the glorious winding way over the peaceful slopes until you can pass through a gate across the road. Beyond, turn left immediately to walk a walled bridleway that can be muddy. Follow it until you reach a tall, solid wooden gate, on the right, which gives entrance to a planting of young ash. A narrow path, excellently arrowed, leads you through the trees of High Wood gently descending until you reach a wall gap through which you pass. Beyond a winding path, arrowed on the trees, drops down through mature woodland of Grubbing Spring. At the foot of the path, turn left and continue parallel with the tumbling beck. The path eventually brings you to another tall wooden gate, the entrance to Dorothy Farrer’s Spring Wood.

5 Beyond, follow the path for a few steps and leave it, right, to come close to the beck again rushing through its deep narrow gill. Go on down the stepped way, past a plummeting waterfall and on down until you can cross the beck by a plank footbridge to go through a gate. Press on along a track at the side of a pasture, which winds right, away from Beddard Wood, and comes to a step stile and a gate to a narrow road. Walk right soon to pass the turn to Craggy Wood taken earlier and then, a short way along, take the kissing gate beside the farm gate on the left. Descend the path and walk ahead to go through the ancient kissing gate. At the riverside, turn right to cross the footbridge and then stride the walled way. Turn right to walk the little high street to return to Mill Yard, or go on to turn left for the station.

Path through Craggy Plantation 5358
Above Staveley 5361
Signpost high on the hills 5369

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