Buttermere to Rannerdale walk

Duration:Half Day

This exhilarating Lakeland ridge walk climbs from the Buttermere Valley up to the summit of Rannerdale Knotts. Though it’s one of the smaller and more rounded Cumbrian fells, it gives stunning views over three lakes and many high peaks. Our route returns via the shoreline of Crummock Water and Nether How woodland to the pretty little village of Buttermere.

Have a look at our downloadable route map

  1. From the starting point at the National Trust car park in Buttermere walk straight across the road to a stile. Cross the stile and follow a narrow grassy track until the path begins to get steeper.

  2. As the path steepens, take the left-hand track leading towards the ridge of Rannerdale Knotts. This is a good point to pause and enjoy the view over to Buttermere lake and the surrounding hills, such as High Snockrigg in the east.

  3. Follow a gentle incline along the ridge to the summit, offering another superb panorama of both Rannerdale (or the secret valley) and Crummock Water. Soon you reach the highest point cairn (we'd appreciate it if you didn't add stones to the cairn, paths need stones much more than cairns do!).

  4. From the summit, follow the narrow, winding, grassy track to your left downhill towards Crummock Water. The track leads you to a very steep, stone-pitched section. This area can become slippery during wet weather, so take care. When you leave the pitched section follow the track further downhill until it branches left and gently descends towards a road. Cross the road and go through a gate leading to the lakeshore. Walk alongside the lakeshore until you see a gate to your left leading into Nether How woods.

  5. Go through the gate and follow the path through the wood. The path briefly leads to the lakeshore again before re-entering the wood. Take a path to your left leading through Nether How wood to a footbridge.

  6. Cross the bridge and follow the path to the right, through the woods until you return to your start point.

Further Information

Top Tip: This walk is great any time of year but it is spectacular in the spring when the bluebells are out.

Start/Finish: National Trust Buttermere Car Park (NY: 172 172)

Distance: 3 miles (4.8km)

Terrain: Fairly strenuous route in all weathers; sturdy boots and clothing essential. Mostly on grassy paths, with a steep, stone-pitched descent of Rannerdale Knotts.

Time to complete the walk: 2-3 hours

By Rebekah Ingham

How to get here

Buttermere Car Park, Buttermere

CA13 9

Ordnance Survey OL4
The English Lakes
North Western area

NY 171 173

Get Directions

By Bus: From Keswick, the Stagecoach 77A is a direct service to Buttermere.

Service 263, Cockermouth to Buttermere. Request stop National Trust car park, then short walk along quiet road to start of walk.

Bus Timetable: http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/roads-transport/public-transport-road-safety/transport/publictransport/busserv/timetables/keswickcentrallakes.asp
Traveline: 0871 200 22 33

By bike: On-road National Cycle Network Route 71, 3 miles (5km) from Buttermere village via B5289

By car: From Keswick by either Newlands pass or Honister pass, from Cockermouth by B5289 via Lorton