Lake District Valley and
Walks around Elterwater
Other walks around
A series of walks specially
commissioned by the Langdale Estate, written by Tom Lawton.
The walks are divided equally
between undemanding, leisurely strolls along the valley floors, to more
adventurous explorations into the flanking fells. They all start and
finish at the Langdale Estate.
The routes should be suitable for anyone who is
reasonably fit. However, even experienced walkers call get into trouble
when the weather turns nasty. Please take the following precautions when
walking, especially when heading for the high fells, and take
detailed maps of the area with you. Ordnance
Survey Outdoor Leisure Series Maps numbers
7 cover all the
- Have a reliable compass with you.
- Take adequate food and drink.
- Wear comfortable boots and carry waterproofs and
warm clothing in your rucksack.
- Take a basic first aid kit, a torch and whistle
in case of emergency.
- Always obtain a weather forecast (available at
Langdale Estate Reception) before you venture high up onto the fells and
be prepared to curtail your route if really bad weather looks likely to
- In cold and windy weather take warm headgear and
- Always leave a note of your planned route and
your estimated time of arrival with the Reception desk. If for any
reason your return is going to be significantly delayed try to get a
message back to Reception.
Langdale Valley and Elterwater Village
The perfect introduction to walking around Langdale: a short route
which will introduce you to some of the wonderful scenery of the valley,
including the Langdale Pikes.
Distance: 7 km / 4.5 miles
Ascent: 60 m / 200 ft
Time : 2 - 3hrs
Leave Langdale Estate by the south-eastern exit and
walk into Elterwater Village. Turn right and cross over Great Langdale
Beck, then turn immediately right again along the surfaced road which
leads north west, uphill towards the slate quarry. Turn right along a signed footpath (part of
the Cumbria Way) and follow this downhill and along the stream to reach a
sturdy footbridge spanning the beck. Cross the
stream, turn left and make your way to Wainwright's
Just beyond the inn, turn left along
the path and follow this as it winds up the valley, passing around the
rear of the school and by Thrang Farm. The way bends sharply left to
cross the river again, on
this occasion by the arched pack-horse bridge which provides access
to the campsite at Baysbrown Farm. Then turn right to continue along the
valley, following the path which hugs the bank of the stream. There are superb views from here towards the famed Langdale Pikes - with the
peak of Harrison Stickle dominating the horizon.
An obvious way Ieads through gates
and over stiles to reach Oak
Howe, the westerly extremity of the route. Just beyond the farm buildings
be careful to keep left where the paths divide in order to cross over the
valley floor, walking south west over rough stony ground (which olds
surface water in wet weather conditions). Follow the path around to the
left to enter the deciduous woodlands (Hag Wood and Baysbrown
Wood) which line the southern flank of the valley. From here a clear, wide
path leads south-east through Baysbrown Farm and then along the edge of
Sawrey's Wood to connect with the bridleway linking Elterwater with Little
Langdale. Turn left here to pass by the entrance to Elterwater Hall and
then veer left along the minor road to return to
The attractive village is well worth
looking around before you return to Langdale.
Walk 3: Skelwith Force, Colwith Force and
A longer valley walk with great views and
many attractions along the way, including two contrasting waterfalls and a
venerable bridge constructed from slate slabs.
Distance: 10 km/6 miles
Start in Elterwater. Walk through the car park to access the Cumbria Way footpath,
then follow this southeastwards down the valley. Initially the path tracks
the river, but just over 0.5km further on it kinks to the left and then
enters a strip of mixed deciduous woodland which lines the northern shore
of Elterwater. Continue down the valley, crossing meadowland to reach Skelwith
After all inspection of the impressive falls, continue between the slate
workshops to reach the Kirkstone Galleries, where you can get delicious
Afterwards, walk the short distance down to the A593 Ambleside to Coniston
road and turn right to use Skelwith Bridge to cross above the River
Brathay. Follow the road around to the right - taking care to look for
approaching traffic on the dangerous bend - and then bear right along the
second footpath. This is signed to Colwith Force.
The way leads uphill, winding through deciduous woodlands, before reaching
more open countryside. Bear right at the junction of paths and continue
westwards along the valley, using part of the well-signed Cumbria Way to
pass through Park Farm. Stiles and gates have to be negotiated before the
narrowing path descends steeply through trees to the valley floor.
Exercise caution during wet weather as the route becomes slippery. The
route then leads to the lane connecting Elterwater with the main Ambleside
to Coniston road. Turn right along the road but within about 100 paces
leave it by the narrow public footpath on your left. Then turn sharp right
to follow path signed to Colwith Force - a very impressive cascade.
After visiting the waterfalls, continue up the steep, in places slippery,
path being ever mindful of the steep fall-away to your right. The way then
tracks south-west beneath trees to bring you to a bridleway along which
you veer right to progress further down Little Langdale Valley.
Walk down to High Park Farm and leave this along the tarmac lane to then
pass by Stang End, avoiding all side paths to both left and right. Walk
downhill to cross over a small beck by means of a bridge, then turn sharp
right to follow a grassy path that threads around the grassy hillock
ahead. This leads to a wider track.
Avoid the first footbridge and continue along the left bank of the stream,
passing by quarry spoils, until you reach a kissing gate on your right
which you pass through to reach and cross Slater Bridge. The crossing,
constructed of slabs of slate, is particularly photogenic.
On the far side of the bridge the route continues uphill over an outcrop
of rocks to reach the higher ground of Birk Howe Farm. Turn left and use
the approach track to the farm to arrive at the minor road through Little
Langdale. Cross diagonally to your left and then turn right along the side
lane signed "Unsuitable for vehicles".
The return leg of the way then passes by Dale End Far and from here a
rough, wide track leads north-east back into Elterwater. Before reaching
the village, this track connects with a surfaced lane which will guide you
down to the Coniston road.
Turn left along this and follow it into the
village, passing by the Youth Hostel on your left.
Walk 4: Silver Howe and Grasmere
An energetic climb out of Great Langdale is
rewarded by the most magnificent panoramic views from the top of Silver
How. After a leisurely descent into Wordsworth's Grasmere, there is a
significantly less demanding return by way of Hunting Stile.
Distance: 8km/5miles Ascent: 450m/ 1480 ft Time: 3-4hrs
Walk along the B5343 road, walking towards the Wainwright's Inn from the
Langdale Estate. Turn right up the signed public footpath just beyond the
bungalow named "Beckfoot".
Follow the path by veering left beside the stream to reach the minor lane
above Chapel Stile. Turn left along the lane, but within 100 yards turn
abruptly right by the side of a stone boundary wall to commence a steep
climb up the craggy fellside. The rough path, somewhat obscure in places,
zigzags through boulders and bracken gaining height very rapidly - climb
this demanding section at a pace which is comfortable for you as the main
objective of the walk is enjoyment!
Higher up, as you track around and above
the boundary wall on your right, the path bcomes better defined as it
leads above a steep gully on the right to reach the watercourse of Meg's
Gill ahead. Cross the rocky bed of the stream by veering around tot he
left, away from the severe drop on the right. On the far side of the gill
be vigilant to treat carefully along the narrow fairly exposed path which
tracks to the right as it leads further up the fellside on a more
The way continues up a grassy bank to
reach, in quick succession, two cairns: the second of these is quite large
and marks an important intersection of ways.
Continue straight ahead past the second
cairn and then veer left (north-north-west) to follow the stone path up a
rock chute to reach another prominent marker cairn positioned above. From
here, continue north along the undulating, grassy way to reach the summit
of Silver How, a short distance further on. The all-round panoramic views
from this lofty viewing platform are quite superb in fine weather.
The descent into Grasmere is initially to the north, then veers northeast
along a path defined by cairns. There is one relatively tricky section
crossing the craggy gully of Wray Gill, down to your left, before the way
threads through juniper thickets to lead you steeply downhill and along an
enclosed section of boulders and stones to reach two delightfully situated
From here, obvious surfaced tracks and lanes lead you further downhill,
around the woodlands of Allen Bank and into the village of Grasmere,
conveniently passing several cafes.
Exit the village along the road over Red Bank signed to Langdale and
Coniston and follow this uphill until you reach Lea Cottage (red postbox
in wall). Fork right opposite this cottage along the drive signed to "Huntignstile"
which is also a public footpath leading to Loughrigg Terrace and Great
Continue climbing up the lane which deteriorates into a rough, enclosed
track that narrows appreciably. Higher up, keep right following the path
signed to "Elterwater and Langdale" but then be careful to use the gate on
the left to continue along the correct route.
The way then passes over a low hause to reach the final descent back into