A walk around Grasmere and Rydal Water

The day after my trip to London last week was forecast to be hot and sunny. Should I go into the office? Well, there wasn’t anything I needed to do that couldn’t wait a day so I decided that it would be far preferable to get out for a walk. J was coming with me so we loaded our walking gear into the boot of the car and drove up the M6 to the Lake District. We weren’t going to do anything too strenuous, but had decided to park up in Grasmere Village and do a circuit of Grasmere and Rydal Water, returning by the Coffin Route from Rydal.

The first stretch of the route is along a minor road, until, about half way along the length of the small lake, there’s a path that took us down to the lake shore. We then followed the shoreline to the end.

The view back over to Helm Crag, Seat Sandal and Stone Arthur
Looking back towards Silver Howe

We then followed the path through the woods beside the river on towards Rydal Water, a short distance away.


Approaching Rydal Water we took the high path that runs parallel to the lake on the lower slopes of Loughrigg Fell.. About half way along we reached Rydal Cave, a large cave created by mining for slate.


There are notices warning of the dangers of entry – there’s been rock falls from the roof in the past – but, like everyone else who was passing, we went inside to take a look. Much of floor of the cave is flooded, but the water wasn’t so deep and we kept our feet dry by walking on a series of stepping stones, taking care not to lose our balance!


Leaving the cave the path descended down towards the lake .


At the end of the lake we followed the track a little further in the direction of Ambleside before cutting down and crossing the river by the foot bridge


A short walk along the main road was followed by a climb up the steep lane through Rydal village. We stopped off for a break at the cafe at Rydal Hall and then continued up the hill past Wordsworth’s former home at Rydal Mount

Rydal Mount

Just after the house we took a left turn on to the Coffin Road. This is the route along which the dead would be transported from Rydal, which didn’t have it’s own church and graveyard, to be buried in the grounds of St Oswald’s in Grasmere village.

Following the road up on th ehillside, looking down there were good views over Rydal Water


with the Coniston Fells poking above the lower hills to the west.


It was a reasonably easy walk, with a few rougher stretches, and we were soon back in Grasmere.


We had a wander through the village back to the car park so we could drop off our rucksacks and change out of our boots. On the way I couldn’t stop myself having a look at the small independent book shop . Although quite small it has a good selection of books and ended up buying a copy of Curlew Moon by Mary Colwell. I couldn’t resist as the curlew is one of my favourite birds. The book describes the author’s 500 mile journey from the west of Ireland to the east coast of England to raise awareness of the curlew’s endangered status. I’m looking forward to reading it.

We’d decided to have a bite to eat before setting off for home and headed over to The Good Sport, a pub owned by Grasmere Brewery and which sells their beers and serves food, including dishes made from locally raised meat. They also sell a decent non-alcoholic beer.

We both chose the Herdy burgers made from local Herdwick lamb. It was rather delicious.


After eating, we sat outside for a while in the sunshine with a cold beer (non-alcoholic in my case) before heading back to the car and setting off home. Back to work tomorrow, but only for a day, as I’ll be off next week, walking in Snowdonia. Fingers crossed that the weather is OK!

14 thoughts on “A walk around Grasmere and Rydal Water

    • oops. Don’t tell any one we missed out on the gingerbread this time. I know it’s a legal requirement to buy some when you’re in Grasmere !! 🙂
      I’d certainly recommend the pub. The building used to be a café until fairly recently. But I noticed it had been converted to a pub when I was in Grasmere earlier this year.

    • Grasmere village is a bit of a “honeypot” partly due to it’s associations with Wordsworth. But it’s a pretty place and surrounded with typical Lakes scenery. A good starting point for walks too.

  1. Well, I’m sure you can guess my opinion! I didn’t recognise the name Good Sport, but I see from the other comments it’s new. Which cafe has been converted? When we first started going to Grasmere I used to have fantasies about retiring there and working in Sam Read’s. Hasn’t happened so far …

  2. Stunning photos of a glorious day. The circuit of the two lakes is a classic as is the coffin road. Have to say I don’t like Grasmere all that much, much too twee and touristy for my taste although the walking from there is undeniably superb.

    • Yes, a classic low level route.
      Grasmere village is a honeypot and very touristy. Doesn’t come across as a “real” place, but in a superb location and with a good bookshop and plenty of places for a brew or a pint.

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