The Ullswater Way is a new 20 mile walking route around what many believe to be England’s most beautiful lake in the Lake District. The new route is being officially opened by Eric Robson on Monday 25th April, the walkway uses existing public rights of way and quiet roads around Ullswater, aimed at encouraging walkers to enjoy the valley, appreciate the spectacular scenery and support local businesses.
The route can be walked in either direction and from any starting point, if you don’t fancy walking the whole 20 miles, the route can be done in shorter sections, using an open top bus or steamer to start your journey!
Map of The Ullswater Way
The Ullswater Way is made up with the following walks:
Aira Force to Glenridding
Distance: 3 miles / 4.6km
Terrain: Easy well-surfaced path between Aira and Glencoyne. Narrow and uneven paths by lake shore from Glencoyne to Glenridding. Please take care: there is a 100m section along the side of the A592.
This section includes the magnificent waterfalls at Aira. Allow time to explore the paths through the old woodlands and landscaped glades before reaching the spectacular stone arch bridge spanning the 65 foot waterfall.
The Way now passes through the ancient woodland of Glencoyne Deer Park. Most famously, Glencoyne Wood was the place where, in 1802, William and Dorothy Wordsworth saw daffodils by the lakeshore. The encounter is described in detail in a celebrated entry in Dorothy’s Grasmere Journal and inspired William Wordsworth to write his most famous poem “I wandered lonely as a cloud, That floats on high o’er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”
At Glencoyne, cross the road to join a web of paths meandering beside Ullswater, where you can stop and admire the view down the lake before arriving in Glenridding.
Glenridding to Howtown
Distance: 6.5 miles / 10.5km
Terrain: Undulating path with up and down hill stretches and some rocky sections.
Please note this is a long, remote section.
The Ullswater Way now weaves its way with the road, but on good paths and clear crossings. The route passes King George V playing fields – named “the prettiest field in England” by William Wordsworth, before crossing the open valley to Side Farm and heading back northwards along and above the shores of Ullswater.
This section of path, described by Wainwright as “the most beautiful and rewarding walk in Lakeland” undulates through woodland and open fell giving stunning views over Ullswater and its islands. The Way passes through the little hamlet of Sandwick to reach Howtown and the Steamer pier.
Howtown to Pooley Bridge
Distance: 5 miles / 8km
Terrain: Undulating walk through farm land and open fell. Please take care: there is a 500m section on the road from Cross Dormont to Waterside House.
Just beyond Howtown, the Way takes you up onto the moorland edge with extensive views over Ullswater.
Option: At Swarthbeck, choose to continue on the open moorland to reach the Cockpit – an impressive large stone circle, before descending on a wide track to join a road leading into Pooley Bridge.
Or, alternatively you can take a lower path which takes you through farm land and past farmhouses to reach the Howtown road at Cross Dormont.
The path then takes you through a working sheep farm and campsite following the water’s edge round to Pooley Bridge.
Pooley Bridge to Aira Force
Distance: 6.5 miles / 10.7km
Terrain: Undulating walking through woodland and fields.
From Pooley Bridge the Ullswater Way takes you on paths through woodland and fields to Maiden Castle. Once a defended settlement, it is now hidden by grass, but from this raised vantage point you have spectacular views down the Ullswater Valley, and also to the Pennines to the east and Blencathra to the north.
The Way continues on to Bennethead and then on quiet roads towards the beautifully situated Watermillock Church, before leaving the road to join a track through the quiet woods of Swinburn Park (once one of five medieval deer parks surrounding Ullswater).
The route has been developed by a broad public and private sector partnership including the Lake District National Park Authority, See More Cumbria and the Lake District, The National Trust, Eden District Council, Ullswater Steamers and the Ullswater Association.