Easy Lake District Valley
and Low-level Walks
More easy walks around Grasmere
Click here for the first page of walks around Grasmere and Rydal
The Rydal Round
3.5 miles [5.5 km]
William Wordsworth was a resident of Rydal
for 37 years. He must have spent much of his later years just looking at
Rydal Water. It is a gem best viewed in
the quiet solitude of the breaking dawn.
The walk described must have been done by Wordsworth
hundreds of times. It goes along the lake shore, by the old track below
Nab Scar, and passes Rydal Mount, his home. The walk starts at White Moss
Common. This is about two miles from Ambleside towards Grasmere on the Keswick
road, the A591. Shortly after passing alongside the shore of Rydal Water,
which is on the left, there are reedbeds, then very shortly afterwards the
open area of White Moss Common comes into view. The main car park is on
the left. From
Grasmere towards Ambleside,
White Moss Common is reached after one and a half miles. When the shore of
Grasmere is left, the road swings sharply through woodlands to the left.
Where the wood ends the common begins. Look for the main car park on the
On leaving the car walk towards Ambleside, and before reaching the bridge,
turn left up the stony track. As this climbs it becomes a
green track, and at the top joins a well-defined track at a T junction.
There is a little pool to the left of this point. Wordsworth used to
swim here. A walk up the hillside to the
left offers some pleasant views.
At this T junction turn right. The track, changing to a footpath,
is clear all the way, between walls. After a while there are open fields
to the right, then open woodland containing trees which must have been old
when Wordsworth walked this way. The track ends at Hart Head, the top of
the hamlet of Rydal. Rydal Mount, Wordsworth's home until his death in 1850, is seen below on the right.
Turn right and descend. The entrance to Rydal Mount will be seen, right. Descend down the hard road. The
entrance to Rydal Hall will then be seen on the left. This was the seat
of the Le Flemings, one of the Lake District's largest landowners at
one time. Rydal Hall is now a conference centre, and not open to the
Continue down, past the church. If the daffodils are in bloom, go through
the churchyard, and into the little wood beyond-Dora's Field. The flowers
here were planted for his daughter, Dora, by Wordsworth. The site of the
church was also chosen by the bard. He occupied a front pew, but voiced
his dissatisfaction at some of the interior detail which was unrectified
for a long time. Continue down to the main road. Cross the road and
turn right. In a short distance, looking left you will see a footbridge.
Cross this to the far side into the wood, and turn right. The path wanders
through a wood, with the river Rothay coming out of Rydal Water, on the
right. It ends at a kissing-gate, and the lake is in front.
Follow the path which goes along the lake shore. Continuing on the lake shore path, a wall is reached
and you must leave the lake, go through the gateway and follow the track
on. After about half a mile there is woodland over the wall on the right,
and the path climbs steeply ahead. Look for a kissing-gate through the
wall on the right. However, before going through it, if your energy is up
to it, a climb to the brow of the hill ahead gives a grand view back
across Rydal Water. There is a seat on this high point.
Go through the kissing-gate and descend through the wood. Ignore path
right (not a right of way) but continue down. The path at the bottom goes
through a wettish section, and soon there is a footbridge. Cross it and
you are on the lower portion of White Moss Common. Follow the path round
right to the car parks.
Grasmere to Allcock Tarn
3 miles [5 km]
A popular walk from Grasmere is to Allcock Tarn.
At over 1,000 feet above sea level, Allcock Tarn can be reached with
care by the ordinary walker not equipped for the high fells, provided that
there is no mist and no ice and snow. It is, however, a testing climb and
it is not a good idea to attempt it on the first day of a holiday. The
not-so young should take a great deal of time over the ascent.
The beauty of the walk is really in the descent.
Park your car in Grasmere village. Broadgate Meadow car park is the best
position. It is the first car park one sees on approaching the village
centre from Keswick; it is through the village centre, and just on the way
out towards Keswick, from the Ambleside side. Leave the car park and turn
towards Keswick. Before joining the Ambleside to Keswick road, the road
from the village forks. Take the right fork which joins the road opposite
the Swan Hotel. Cross the road and go up the road to the right of the Swan. Bend left with this road
and ignore the junction right. Shortly after this junction a narrow lane
will be seen on the right going up between stone walls.
At first glance it could be mistaken for a private drive but although it
is surfaced it has no gate. The lane goes up alongside a
tumbling beck in a gully pleasantly green with mosses and ferns.
There is a gate at the top. Go through this, and immediately turn
right over the footbridge. Follow the footpath, which goes up with
the ghyll on the left and the wall on the right. The path turns right to
follow the wall and an ascent is made of some neat stone steps. Path
eventually turns left still following the wall but after following it
round to a gateway, it-leaves the wall and ascends by a grassy path.
The stone bridge that you can see below houses the Manchester water pipeline from ThirImere. After a few minutes, look back.
The nearest fell across the valley is Helm Crag. On the craggy
summit, on the left, you might make out the shape of the Lion and the
The path runs upwards, still between the ghyll left, and the wall
out on the right. The ghyll is Greenhead Ghyll, and the valley is the
scene of Wordsworth's 'Michael'. The way is steep and you are advised to
take the path steadily. When the wall bends off farther to the right, take
the branch path to the right to follow the wall direction. This is
important. Allcock Tarn is above and to the right. The path that ascends
all the way with the ghyll goes on to the Fairfield ridge - over two miles
off course and 1,500 feet higher. You presently leave the wall with a
slight turn left to ascend stone steps, but still leaving the ghyll at an
angle and still climbing. The path then zig-zags, and in places divides as
panting walkers have tried variations, but it re-joins further on. The
important thing is to keep on climbing. There are occasional rock steps,
and the path turns between crags. The path eventually levels out a
little. A wall can again be seen in front running parallel with the path,
which bears left a little on grass. This point, if you look towards Helm
Crag, looks level with that crag's summit. You are in fact only a little
lower. To its left you can see up Easedale. The waterfall is Sourmilk
As the path levels, the beck from Allcock Tarn falls to its left. The wall is
again near to the path at the other side of an outcrop, and there is a
cairn at the path side. Round the outcrop an iron gate will be seen in a
wall ahead and a National Trust sign. Keep to right to
avoid a bog. Go through the iron wicket gate and you are at the tarn.
Continue on the path to the right of the tarn. At the far end just above the dam there are some fine views.
Ahead Windermere can be seen and, if conditions are clear, right beyond
to Morecambe Bay. The mountains from left to right are the Coniston Old
Man range, with Wetherlam on its right; Pike o'Blisco and the nobbly
summits of Crinkle Crags; Bowfell; The Langdale Pikes; High Raise;
Nearer and to the right of Helm is Steel Fell. The Helvellyn range is to
the right of this.
The main path continues past the dam to an iron gate but your
path branches right off it to a wall gap with iron bar across it. Climb
over this iron hurdle with care. At the other side bear left a little
round a crag and then bear right, and go between crags. There is an
eagle's-eye view of Grasmere village. A grass track descends towards
the village but there is a branch, left, to a crag viewpoint which is
worth taking. This commands the best view of the village and Grasmere Lake
with its attractive island. From the crag the path goes off right then
zig-zags left, and meanders pleasantly on grass. In
places the path is built up on terraces and there are fine views across
Grasmere. It crosses a small bridge over a waterfall, follows the beck
down, and enters among some weather-beaten larches. Eventually you reach
an iron wicket gate which bears the notice 'Brackenfell'. The terraced path eventually reaches a point near a yew tree.
Ignore gate in wall but continue on our pleasant grassy zig-zags. Looking
right from about here over
Dunmail Raise, if conditions are clear, there will be a view of Skiddaw to
the north of Keswick.
The path passes a little fish pond overhung by larch trees, takes a
dive under a spruce tree, presently turns left, and there is a little crag
on the right which gives another good view over Grasmere. You then
go through an iron gate and into a wood and between a fence and a
wall. Go through the wooden gate, into the open and along a hard
track. When this joins the macadam lane by an iron seat, turn right
and descend, to cut the corner, by the narrow path. The lane is
joined to the right of the duck pond. Turn right . At the foot of this
hill, behind the two yew trees on the right is Dove Cottage, the home
of William Wordsworth in his most productive period . Continue to
main road. Cross with care and go down the road opposite into
Grasmere village and the car park.