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Local Walks from Stickle Tarn Lodge, White Cross Bay, Lake Windermere:
a luxury, self-catering, dog-friendly, family-owned, pine cabin holiday lodge. Sleeps six.

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Local Walks in the Windermere and Ambleside Area

Overview of local walks from Stickle Tarn Lodge pine cabin at White Cross Bay

This map is only intended as guide. It should be used in conjunction with a more detailed map, such as an Ordnance Survey one (a full set is provided in the lodge).
To open the above map as a full size document which can be printed off:
click here

  1. Walk 1. From White Cross Bay to Robin Lane and back.click here
  2. Walk 2. From White Cross Bay to Robin Lane (and a bit further) and back. click here
  3. Walk 3. From White Cross Bay to Robin Lane, Skelghyll Wood/Ambleside and back. click here
  4. Walk 4. Robin Lane from Troutbeck. click here
  5. Walk 5. Overlooking Windermere from Ambleside. click here
  6. Walk 6. Loughrigg Fell. click here
  7. Walk 7. Stockghyll Force and Wansfell Pike. click here
  8. Walk 8. Simple walk to Orrest Head. click here
  9. Other recently added and recommended walks. click here
Walk 1. From White Cross Bay to Robin Lane and back.
No need to drive anywhere for this one! It's an ideal one if you're just starting off walking; or getting back into it after some time off...and you will be rewarded at the end with quite stunning view!
Lake Windermere shrouded in mist
This view, taken in winter, shows the lake clouded in mist. Back to index

Walk 2. From White Cross Bay to Robin Lane (and a bit further) and back.
This walk starts off in exactly the same way as the previous walk, although you end up walking a mile or so further once you've got up to Robin Lane. Once again, the views will worth stopping for a while to admire, even on a cloudy day.

Glorious sunset over Windermere from the top of Robin Lane

We were lucky enough to catch this wonderful sunset, which took us completely by surprise for the richness of its colour. I don't suppose we'll see anything quite like it again...the view from the top of Robin Lane never seems to be the same twice!

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Walk 3. From White Cross Bay to Robin Lane, Skelghyll Wood/Ambleside and back.
The first past of the walk is exactly the same as the first two walks.

The sort of red and white spotted magical toadstool you might see near Windermere during your Lake District holiday

You might be lucky enough to get to see toadstools like this in damp, sheltered places!

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Walk 4. Robin Lane from Troutbeck
We nearly always do this walk after we've finished cleaning the lodge on "changeover" day. It's very convenient to get to and is extremely "elastic" - it needn't take very long, but you can stretch it out if you want to!

A beautiful snowy Lake District scene: looking over Lake Windermere from Robin Lane

The winter view over Windermere was taken from the first viewpoint you reach as you begin to walk up Robin Lane. Although it's steep, it takes no more than ten or fifteen minutes to get to.

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Walk 5. Overlooking Windermere from Ambleside
I've called this 'overlooking Windermere', but it's really a walk to the edge of Loughrigg Fell

Looking down across Lake Windermere from Loughrigg

The view in the photo above is marked on my map as a view directly above Clappersgate, which is to the west of Ambleside. This is marked on the Ordnance Survey maps as a craggy outcrop, and it's about two or three hundred metres south of one my favourite - and most difficult to discover - tarns: Lilly tarn. From here, there is genuine 360° view. Not only that, but is on the edge of what is a genuine Lakeland Fell that is accessible when many of the higher peaks are covered in mist.

  • Park in the car park on your left just before the public park (crazy golf etc) as you approach the centre of Ambleside - marked as P5 on my map. I've never known this car park to be full, and it just doesn't have the 'feel' of the frenetic, I'm-going-to-be-the-first-to-grab-an-empty-space car parks that characterise so many of the popular destinations in the Lake District towns.
  • Make sure you pay for at least two hours, although you might not be that long.
  • Head towards the river Rothay and walk along by the side of the sewage works. (Don't worry! Although you can see them, you can rarely smell them!)
  • Turn right (north) and walk along by the river. Take care, because every time we walk along it the roots of the trees are getting more and more exposed, and therefore easier to trip over (or maybe we're just getting older and more trip-uppable?)
  • Keeping the river close by on your right, walk through the public park. There is strange stone statue thing that you think could be knocked over easily. It can't! I've tried! I've also tried to re-arrange it around its central pole. but it takes some doing!
  • Cross over the river by the bridge and walk along the road until you've just gone past the cattle grid. You can go through the access gate, carefully tip-toe over the grid railings (my preferred method!), or leap over the whole thing. This used to be Whisky, our Collie's, preferred method; but his arthritis means he now has to be more circumspect.
  • Very soon after, there is a road that goes sharply up to the left. Take this road, and try not to be too jealous of the wonderful cottages you pass by.
  • After the cottages, the road turns sharply right. In front of you is a stone wall with a stile built into it. Cross over the style. (Whisky does so automatically, but you won't have him with you to show you the way I'm afraid!)
  • Turn left, go along the path and cross over the small bridge with gates at either end.
  • The best description I can give now, I'm afraid, is to turn right and head steeply uphill in a diagonal (essentially southerly) direction. This is open fellside with bracken and is criss-crossed with paths and stone walls. You are headed for the rocky outcrops overlooking the northern end of lake Windermere. I don't think that we ourselves have ever taken exactly the same route more than once, and in places it is quite boggy! This is NOT a particularly difficult walk, but I nevertheless strongly recommend that (a) you feel confident to tackle this kind of kind of terrain and (b) that you take a map and compass with you!
  • From the bridge to the rocky outcrops is about half-a-mile. Once you get there, there are two distinct 'peaks'. Both have excellent views to the south and all around
  • You can now head back where you came from; or you can head for a few hundred yards slightly west of north (i.e. following the same direction line as Lake Windermere but going slightly left), and with any luck you will discover Lilly Tarn. It's not much bigger than a swimming pool really, but the sense of tranquillity surrounding it is awesome - and I am NOT using the word lightly! If only our busy lives allowed it, then I would like nothing better than to spend the whole afternoon sitting here reading an 'improving' (or maybe not-so-improving) book).
    Brandy loves swimming here!

  • Brandy, the Stickle Tarn Pine cabin dog, swimming in Lilly tarn on Loughrigg Fell

  • Brandy is the Collie-Cross ('Hackney Hound' to those less sensitive and observant!)
  • Once you've had enough of Lilly tarn, head off back in a east-north-easterly direction (i.e. turn not-quite-right if you've been keeping up with my directions), downhill, until you get back to the small bridge.
  • After that, cross the bridge and re-trace your steps
  • It's hard to be exact about how long the walk will have taken. But two hours at a brisk pace (including stopping to admire the view) would be about right.
  • Click here to obtain this walk as a full size document which can be printed off
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Walk 6. Loughrigg Fell
Now things really are starting to get interesting! Loughrigg Fell, as a generic name, covers a wide area; and once you've done walk 5, you'll be ready to explore further.

A lovely Lake District Holiday view - Looking north from the summit of Loughrigg fell towards Grassmere

This is a lovely summer photo taken above Loughrigg Terrace looking north towards Grasmere.
Jeanne and I sometimes joke about the possibility (and potential shame) of becoming the first people to ever need rescuing from Loughrigg Fell. But, joking aside, I suspect that if it were to ever happen, then we'd find that we were, in fact, by no means the first. In lovely summer conditions, with good visibility, then it's hard to conceive of any danger. But getting lost on the fell, even in good conditions, isn't too hard.
I don't want to put you off! It should all be easy enough! And this is one place you can often explore when the higher peaks are out of bounds. But please don't take anything for granted. Please treat the fell with the same respect as you would anywhere else in the Lake District, and be prepared for any eventuality!

  • PLEASE NOTE: THESE ARE ONLY GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS. THEY SHOULD BE USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH MORE DETAILED INFORMATION. In comparison with many of the high level walks, however, this is a relatively 'easy' one!
  • Follow the instructions from walk 5 as far as Lilly Tarn, and then head off north east onto Loughrigg Fell heading for Ewe Cragg. This will probably take you up to about an hour. It is VITAL that you have a detailed map with you and, preferably, a good set of written instructions. I will try to make these ones more comprehensive at some point, but the fell has MANY different paths and, in general (depending on where you've got to, of course) you need to keep heading north-west.
  • Once you've reached the high point of Loughrigg Fell, which is a goodly climb and commands a view which will have made it worthwhile, head off in a north-westerly direction DOWN to Loughrigg Terrace.
  • At the terrace, which runs along on the lower northern slope of the fell overlooking Grasmere, turn right and walk along it enjoying the views over the lake and beyond. The path is well defined and is easy underfoot. There are plenty of benches to sit on for a rest. I should expect this is one of the most photographed viewpoints in the Lake District.
  • At the end of Loughrigg Terrace, you turn right and head in an easterly direction along the southern edge of Rydal Water. On the other side of the water you will see a craggy rock face towering over you, with Heron Pike beyond it. I'm sure that this will want to make you climb to the Pike at some point, and beyond that on to Fairfield. It's possible to do a complete horseshoe walk known as "The Fairfield Horseshoe", and this is another walk which I hope to feature on here soon.
  • You'll know you're still on the right path when you go past the old mine workings. Here's a picture of one of them:
  • Loughrigg caves

  • Rydal village will soon come up on your left hand side. If you're desperate, you can walk up to Rydal Hall and grab some refreshments. You'll be so glad of them, and think they are such good quality, that you won't even blink at the price!
  • After you've got back on the path and gone past Rydal, look out for the road on the right that roughly follows the direction of the River Rothay. The going is now flat and easy, but there's still quite a lot of it to go (well over a mile!); so don't be deceived. Keep an eye open for the stepping stones over the river, and maybe go across them just for the fun of it and to try to forget about how tired you are!
  • Eventually, the road will lead back to the bridge by the park where the stone sculpture 'thing' is. From there, make your way back to the car - and hope that you've paid for enough parking time (or that the warden didn't notice).
  • The whole walk will have taken you at least four hours (unless you're super-fit!), but you can now claim to be a genuine fell walker!
  • Click here to obtain this walk as a full size document which can be printed off
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Walk 7. Stockghyll Force and Wansfell Pike
Stockghyll Force is an easily accessible and well-worth-seeing series of waterfalls just above Ambleside to the east.

Another fabulous Lake District Holiday view - Stockghyll force waterfalls at Ambleside

It's quite a steep climb to the waterfalls, but it only takes about ten to fifteen minutes from the town centre. Those who want something more demanding can then carry on to the summit of Wansfell Pike itself.

  • The small road leading to the falls is on the North West corner of the town centre (just behind the public toilets). Stockghyll Force is well signposted.
  • Follow the road for a hundred yards or so and you will see a sign to the left which takes you off the road and up through a woodland track. There are several, well protected, viewing points where you can stop and take photos on the way up.
  • Overlooking the falls at the very top is a small bridge. We normally cross the bridge and come back down on the other side: i.e. with Stockghyll on the left hand side (don't worry, you can cross back over again further down). This path, however, is more slippery and less well defined as the one you came up on, so take care.
  • If you are going to carry on to Wansfell, then look for the path that leads back to the road on your right.
  • Please be aware of how quickly weather conditions can change in the Lake District. It is perfectly possible for clouds to have swooped in before you get to the top, even if it was clearly visible when you set off. The path is easy enough to follow, even in poor conditions...but the normal 'rules' apply. Make sure you have the correct clothing for the conditions, a good map, a compass, a whistle, adequate food and drink, and basic first aid equipment. This is especially important if you intend exploring a bit further once you've got to the top!
    Please don't be put off! We've done this walk a dozen times or more and it's very hard to imagine that a reasonably fit person will have any difficulties if you treat it with respect!
  • Carry on up the road and look out for a style across the stone wall on your right.
  • Once you've crossed the style, then the path to the summit is a very clear one with some attractive resting places on the way up - such as a little copse of trees where the path crosses over a small beck. The climb from the style will probably take about thirty to forty-five minutes. Needless to say, the views from the top will be exciting ones: the Langdales and Great Gable to the west; High Street and the Kentmere Horseshoe to the east; Helvellyn to the north(ish); and the whole of Lake Windermere spread out in front of you to the south(ish).
  • In all liklihood, however, a whipping wind will have picked up and you will be feeling the effects of being at nearly fifteen hundred feet above sea level. The way back down is simply to retrace your steps; although when you reach the road that runs alongside Stockghyll, you can follow this alll the way back down into Ambleside without needing to go into the wood.
  • From the top of Wansfell, however, we often cross the fence in front of you and follow the path due east for about two thirds of a mile until it reaches Nanny Lane, a broad track that has a stone walls on either side. If you then turn right, the lane will lead you down into Troutbeck.
  • Turn right and walk along through the village until you come to the old chapel (Post Office) and the start of Robin Lane. You can then use the information from Walks 3 and 4 to make your way back to Ambleside.
  • The full circuit will probably have taken three-and-a-half to four hours. It can be shortened as you come down the path from Wansfell by cutting across to the Hundreds Road before you get to Nanny lane. The path, however, is quite boggy and not very clear. The temptation is to follow the stone wall on your right. Instead of doing that, keep a careful look out for some very small cairns (piles of stones) and follow these from one to the next. Once you've got the Hundreds Road, a wide farm track, the route back to Ambleside should be easy enough to follow.
  • Click here to obtain this walk as a full size document which can be printed off
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Walk 8. Simple walk to Orrest Head
This walk, apparently, was Wainwright's first one in the Lake District.
We've only done it ourselves once, so I haven't got any pictures as yet.

  • Drive into Windermere and look for somewhere to park on the left or right of the road before you get to the train station junction. There is a fish and chip shop on the right with a signpost outside that claims to be exactly half way between Land's End and John o' Groats. You can park here for an hour FOC
  • The path to Orrest Head is well marked and you should be able to get there and back in well under an hour
  • There are plenty of benches at the top, together with engraved maps of what to look for. It's another of those 360° views that is quite outstanding and worth a visit - at least once!
  • Click here to obtain this walk as a full size document which can be printed off

Other recently added and recommended walks

  1. Walk 9. The Coffin Trail and Alcock Tarn.click here
  2. Walk 10. School Knot and the Cumbria Way. click here
  3. Walk 11. The lesser-known Borrowdale. click here

The Coffin Trail and Alcock Tarn

The Coffin Trail overlooking Rydal Water:Fell guides for your Lake District holiday at Windermere

The Coffin Trail follows, funnily enough, a path used by coffin bearers in yesteryear. The stone slabs which were put there for them to rest the coffins on can still be seen.
If you follow the trail from Rydal Mount to the edge of Grasmere (eg Dove Cottage), then it's very easy going and gives some delightful views over Rydal Water and Grasmere lake.
If you head North towards Alcock Tarn (just before Grasmere) then the climb is a lot more rugged and difficult, although you will be rewarded — for comparitively little 'outlay' — with some stunning views.
Alcock Tarn itself is, like most high level tarns, secluded and wonderfully peaceful.

  • Drive through Ambleside to Rydal Mount and park (or, if possible, take a bus!). Parking is normally possible on the hill by the church (NY 3648 06250), and an honesty box is provided for donations.
  • Go the the top of the hill, turn left, and you're straight onto the Coffin Trail
  • Enjoy the fabulous, varied scenery along the way; but watch out for tree roots on the path.
  • It's about a two mile walk to Dove Cottage, so it should easily be completed within an hour
  • Alternatively, just before you begin to go down into Grasmere, look out for a path on the right heading North (at about NY 344 069) up to Alcock Tarn and follow it...we've taken several different routes over the years, and some of them are more "scrambly" than others. Provided you find the marked path, however, it should be a fairly straightforward, but tough, climb for most.

  • Jeanne beginning the climb to Alcock Tarn
    Jeanne begins the upward climb "off piste"
  • As you climb towards the tarn, you will get some wonderful views looking over Grasmere. You should easily get there in well under an hour, but it all depends on your speed of course.

  • Alcock Tarn reeds with golden colours

    Alcock Tarn nestled in the hillside
    Alcock Tarn: NY 3490 0792
  • Jeanne and I have often headed off North from the tarn and made our way back down a path through Michael's Nook that brings you out on the A591 a little North of Grasmere.
    Alternatively, you can just retrace your steps from the tarn.

  • Looking North towards Helm Crag and beyond: Fell guides for your Lake District holiday at Windermere
    Looking North from Alcock Tarn towards Helm Crag, Dunmail Raise and beyond to Skiddaw.
  • If you've come down to the A591, walk back South for about a mile to Dove Cottage and then take the path up behind it and rejoin the Coffin Trail.
  • Whichever way you've got back to this point, you can now retrace your steps back along the Coffin Route to Rydal Mount
  • I strongly recommend having refreshments in the tea shop at Rydal Hall (signposted). The surroundings are delightful, as are the cakes!

  • If you just "did" the Coffin Trail, then you'll probably have been walking for a couple of hours.
    If you took the path to Alcock Tarn, you'll probably have been three or four hours, depending on which route you took
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School Knott and the Cumbria Way

An easy walk behind Windermere to a great viewpoint (School Knott). From there, the walk can be extended along the Cumbria Way into Staverley
Detailed info to follow

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The lesser-known Borrowdale

(January 2019: Full description coming very soon)
The Borrowdale Valley running between the A6 and the M6 (to the south of Shap) is less well known than the northern Borrowdale but is equally as beautiful. It takes about 25 to 35 minutes to drive to the western starting point (a layby on the A6) and about 35 to 45 minutes to the eastern start (an off road track just before Teebay)
A number of meadows at the western end are managed by the National Trust and have been replanted with wild flowers. These make an absolutely glorious sight in May, June and July...see photos below.
Often, you will probably find that you have the valley and its hills entirely to yourself

  • Looking West along the valley.

  • Starting out from the Eastern end.

  • The track carries on beyond this bridge, but there is also a path leading South up to the distinctive radio masts.

  • Cattle on the way up.

  • One of the radio masts at the repeater station

  • Looking over the Howgills, "opening up like velvet curtains" in the words of Wainwright.

  • One of the wild flower hay meadows in the valley

  • Looking East along the valley from the Western end

  • Wild Cumbrian ponies can often be seem grazing the slopes

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