Rydal Caves

From Ambleside to Grasmere via Rydal Water
This gentle walk takes you from the A591 just north of the town, through Rydal Park and Rydal Hall to the old ‘coffin road’, which runs from the back of Rydal Mount giving good views over Rydal Water, ending at Dove Cottage, thence into Grasmere village. You can take in Dora’s Field at Rydal too, so it’s very Wordsworth. Short of Grasmere, you can drop down to White Moss at the north end of Rydal Water, crossing the footbridge over the Rothay, through the woods to the open fell and return to Ambleside round the far side of the lake, visiting ‘Rydal Cave’, a spectacular old quarry working, and then following the Underloughrigg road. There are no serious uphill pulls on this route.


Troutbeck from Nanny Lane

Troutbeck over Wansfell
This walk is not long but is strenuous for the first half hour or so, involving the steep walk up the side of Wansfell, the fell overlooking Ambleside to the east. You start up the lane behind the Salutation Hotel. A mile or so up the lane, out on to the open meadow, a stile straddles the wall on your right to commence the climb. On reaching the top, it is downhill all the way to Troutbeck village, via Nanny Lane. Turn right on to the road and right again at the Post Office to return to Ambleside through farm land and woods round the southern flank of Wansfell via Jenkyn’s Crag, a fine viewpoint over Windermere. The walk can be done in reverse of course, avoiding the steep uphill to Wansfell top. You get the steep downhill instead.

Windermere from Todd Crag

Loughrigg is a low but delightful fell, stretching all the way from above Ambleside to above Grasmere. From its heights you can choose a variety of routes down – to Loughrigg Tarn, thence to Elterwater, or Skelwith Bridge and waterfall, or to Rydal Water, or Grasmere lake. The southern end of Loughrigg is a fine rocky summit known as Todd Crag with a brilliant view of the town, Waterhead and the whole of Windermere lake. It takes less than half an hour on average from Ambleside to the top, via Vicarage Road, Rothay Park, over the bridge, turn right, over the cattle grid, turn left over another cattle grid, steepish up to the houses, then up the wall steps, through the stile, and take either the path ahead or up to the right. Either will bring you to the top at Todd Crag, the one to the right passing Lily Tarn. Once there, Loughrigg is a good place to just wander.


Mist over Grove Farm

Roundhills and Grove Farms
This is a short afternoon walk into the hills approaching Kirkstone Pass, to which you could continue. Leave Ambleside by North Road, into Kirkstone Road and turn left up Sweden Bridge Lane. Take the second right (Ellerigg Road) and at the top turn right on to the footpath taking you through Thistley Wood. This emerges on to the Kirkstone Road. Turn left, past the cottages on the right, then first right down the track to Roundhills Farm. At the farm go through the stile on the right and follow the zigzag path down into the valley, cross by the bridge and walk towards Grove Farm. When you reach tarmac, turn right to go back to town along the flank of Wansfell. On the way back go through the old turnstile gate on the right into Stock Ghyll Park for a look at the beautiful waterfalls.


Sweden Bridge

High Sweden Bridge

This is a short uphill stroll from Ambleside, less than 2 miles, to a lovely little packhorse type bridge over Scandale Beck. (The path beyond the bridge leads up to Scandale and eventually out on to Red Screes or Dove Crag but these are strenuous walks.) Take the same route out of town as the previous walk, but instead of turning right into Ellerigg Road, go straight on. The road becomes a track. Just keep going till you reach the bridge, which is a restful and picturesque picnic spot. You can come back the same way, but if you cross the bridge and cut up to the left along a wall you will soon find the track which goes up to High Pike and Fairfield (another long high walk). Turn left on this track to return to town via Low Sweden Bridge and Nook Lane.


Stepping Stones

Underloughrigg and Rydal Park
This is a really soft walk with virtually no ascent. It is ideally suited to those recuperating from heart attacks, violent hangovers or loss of a leg. Start down Vicarage Road, go straight through Rothay Park, over the arched Miller Bridge, turn right and carry on walking for a mile and a half. You will pass Fox How, once the home of Matthew Arnold, and the picturesque stepping stones across the River Rothay. Cross Pelter Bridge, where the artist Fred Yates met Woodrow Wilson, and turn left on to the main road. After 200 yards turn right up the road towards Rydal Mount. In springtime it’s worth going through the churchyard to Dora’s Field to see the daffodils Wordsworth planted in memory of his dead daughter. Continue up the road to Rydal Mount where you can stop and visit the house, Wordsworth’s home for many years. Opposite side of the lane is Rydal Hall, now a religious conference centre. Go through the Hall gateway and continue round the building to the bridge which crosses Rydal Beck. Look left and right at the lovely falls, then if you’re there at the right time you can get tea and buns from the Hall café. Keep walking and you will emerge on to the main A591 at Rydal Lodge where you turn left back into town.