One of the few upsides about the crisis caused by Covid 19 is that people in lockdown have been allowed to take exercise on a daily basis. Having discovered the joys of walking many families may now want to go further afield and in the north west of England there is a cornucopia of beautiful countryside to be enjoyed. The walk described below has much to commend it. Firstly it is relatively easy in terms of navigation consisting of a circuit around two of the Lake District’s most attractive lakes – Grasmere and Rydal Water. Secondly for those readers still engaged in home schooling there is much to point out educationally as it passes the homes of one of England’s most celebrated poets. Finally in whatever season the walk is undertaken it is it is breath-takingly beautiful.
One note of caution. Cumbria is a coronavirus hotspot with a higher rate of infection than the rest of the country outside of London so that local restrictions may be in force here longer than other areas. Please check Cumbria County Council and Lake District National Park websites before setting out to do the walk.

Fact file:

Start/finish: Grasmere village centre close to St Oswald's church LA22 9SW


Distance: 7 miles including a visit to Loughrigg Fell summit (recommended but avoidable if time and energy levels allow- see below)

Time: Make a day of it! But if you were to arrive in the village at 10.00am you should be able to complete the walk between 3.00 and 4.00pm walking at a leisurely pace.

Grade: Mainly easy with slopes but the ascent to the top of Loughrigg Fell is strenuous.

Map: OS OL7 The English Lakes: South eastern area.


 Map by kind permission of Johnston Press

Directions: The section of the walk from Grasmere Village to Rydal follows in the footsteps of England's most famous poet - William Wordsworth (1770 - 1850). Given that, it would be almost rude not to pay one's respect to him in person so to speak - his grave, along with those of other members of his family,


can be viewed to the rear of the churchyard. Duty done back on Stock Lane cross the River Rothay and follow the road up to the intersection with the A591. Cross the roundabout onto the lane taking you past The Wordsworth Museum and Dove Cottage.


Dove Cottage was Wordsworth's home from December 1799 until May 1808 and some of his best poetry was inspired by what he observed on his daily walks.

Keep in the lane as it climbs away from the museum and after 250yds keep left at a junction in the direction of Alcock Tarn. Still climbing a little more steeply continue for 150yds and then bear right onto a public bridleway in the direction of Rydal. After passing a reedy pond on the left the track reaches a junction. Right leads down to White Moss Common but your way is straight ahead. After passing a property the track adopts a very different character becoming rougher than the manicured drive that led you to this point.


For the next mile as the track undulates along the slopes of the high fells to the left you are treated with sublime views of Rydal Water down to your right. As you near Rydal a high wall on the right signals the edge of settlement. At the end of the track turn right passing in front of Rydal Mount


where Wordsworth lived from 1813 until his death in April 1850. As with Dove Cottage it is open to the public. Walk down the lane passing the entrance to Rydal Hall on the left and further along St Mary's church on the right close to Dora's Field a National Trust property.


Dora was Wordsworth's daughter and after she died he and his wife dedicated the field to her memory planting it with hundreds of daffodil bulbs. At the A591 turn left.

Walk along the road in the direction of Ambleside then turn right crossing the Rothay on a narrow road bridge and then almost immediately turn right again onto a track leading past a car park. Keep on the track as it leads past properties into woodland. As you break out into open ground you are rewarded with another lovely view of Rydal Water.

left rather than descend to the water's edge. The track leads to old quarry workings that have created a large cave - Rydal Cave in fact.


In all likelihood your kids (grandkids) may have not been over impressed with Wordsworth's grave but any loss of cred will be more than made up by checking out this feature. From the cave keep on the terrace path


that contours above Rydal Water for another ½ mile until you are overlooking woodland and the spit of land between Grasmere and Rydal Water. Keeping to the upper path soon you are enjoying more sublime views - this time of Grasmere and the wide sweep of fells that form its backdrop.


When you arrive on the edge of woodland you have a decision to make - whether or not to climb to the top of Loughrigg Fell the slopes of which you have been hugging since crossing the Rothay. On the downside it is a steep ascent. On the upside it is not a high fell being a little under 1100ft. And on the up upside the views are…well exceptional.


After bagging the summit return to the point you left the path and then continue into woods until you meet the lane leading down from High Close. Turn right. From here you have a little over a mile of (quiet) road walking back to the village.