Around Rydal Water and Grasmere

footbridge over River Rothay, Rydal
Loughrigg Cave (or quarry)

Walk Overview:

An excellent circular, low-level tour on good paths and tracks passing through a wonderful but typical Lakeland landscape in the heart of Wordsworth country. Wordsworth spent many years living in this parish, we are literally following his footsteps.

This walk can be enjoyed throughout the year and in all conditions. There is some walking along quiet roads around Grasmere village.

The route starts at White Moss Common and follows the old ‘coffin road’ to Rydal, this is the route coffins were carried for burial at the churchyard of St Oswald’s Church in Grasmere, at a time prior to the consecration of the church in Ambleside. Along the road are coffin stones, used to support the coffins whilst the bearers rested. During those superstitious times, the living carried the dead on their final journey. The dead were both respected and feared, coffin stones lifted them from the path to prevent cursing the ground.

Today, the coffin road is more about life than death, it is a delightful route overlooking the Rothay Valley. The vertical imposing crags of Nab Scar are a dramatic backdrop to the outward views across the valley to Loughrigg Fell and the higher fells beyond.

This is certainly Wordsworth country, Rydal Mount, a former home of William Wordsworth for 37 years from 1813 to his death in 1850, regarded as his favourite home. Among this cluster of typical Lakeland buildings is St Mary's Church, behind the church is Dora’s field where Wordsworth planted hundreds of daffodils as a memorial to his daughter Dora. Closer to Grasmere village is Dove Cottage, both his homes are along our route.

On the south side of the Rothay Valley is the route along Loughrigg Terrace with splendid views. Rydal caves are along this stretch, in fact the caves are disused slate quarries, they can't be missed and worth a shufty, they also provide shelter for your sandwiches and a rest.

Choose one of Three walks!

The route description is for the whole walk, around both Rydal Water and Grasmere. However, starting the walk at White Moss Common, there's good parking, public conveniences and the footbridge over the Rothay means we have the opportunity to make three walks from one! Either the full round as described or two shorter rounds; one around Rydal Water and one around Grasmere. For whatever reason you could embark upon the full round knowing you could curtail your walk by returning across the footbridge over the river at White Moss Common.

Fly-by Video:

Watch the Fly-by video of the walk

Walk Details:
Start: White Moss Common Car Park, NY349065
Distance 11km (7 miles)
Ascent: 330m
Grade: Moderate
NB: grading is based upon normal conditions and can be subjective
Countryside Code for the public:
be safe - plan ahead and follow any signs
leave gates and property as you find them
protect plants and animals
take your litter home
keep dogs under close control
consider other people
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Recommended map is OS Explorer map sheet OL7.

Paper Map
All Weather Map
Route Description & Basic Map

To download a PDF of the Route Description or a Basic Map: Click the button

KMZ Download for Google Earth - View the route in Google Earth

Try this exciting concept and view the walk in Google Earth!

We have created mapping data for the walk so you can view the route in Google Earth

Please note: the KMZ file is the property of ©2017 Owens Walks. You may download it for your own personal use. Do not post or share the data with any other system or person. Thankyou

To Download the KMZ pack:

Click the KMZ Download button and save the .kmz file

Load Google Earth, go to File>Open

Now browse for the downloaded file and open it