Fells, Tarns and Viewpoints in Borrowdale

Duration:Full Day

The low fells on the eastern side of Borrowdale might lack the height of their grander neighbours but these pocket-size mountains more than deliver in terms of interest. They are made up of an intimate mix of rocky summits, hidden valleys and ancient native woodland.

This walk explores all the best bits; kicking off with an ascent of Grange Fell and then weaving a route towards Keswick taking in Watendlath, Ashness Bridge and the panoramic views from Walla Crag, with an optional diversion to the little jewel of Dock Tarn. To get to the start of this linear route, take the bus from Keswick. You can cut the walk short at Barrow Bay with a return by bus.

Borrowdale's Best Bits

Start: Bowder Stone Car Park

Finish: Keswick Landing Stages

Distance: 17km (10.6 miles)

Time: 6 hours

Height Gain: 830 metres

Strenuousness: 3/5

Navigation: 2/5

Technicality: 3/5

Terrain: Access track, valley roads, steep fell paths, woodland, rocky summits, open fell, tarn, beck side paths, narrow minor road and lake side paths, grass track, stony tracky, stony bridleway with some rock steps and pitching, woodland and lakeside paths.

Maps: Maps: OS Landranger 90, Exlorer OL4, Harvey’s Superwalker Lakeland Western (1:25 000), British Mountain Maps Lake District (1:40 000)

  1. To the L of the car park entrance join the Bowder Stone bridleway and follow it past the Bowder Stone to join the valley road. Turn L and carefully follow the road for about 100m to join a path on the L. Follow it as it climbs steeply E through a clearing, zigzags NE through trees, E onto open fell then N to summit of King’s How.

  2. Continue N down fi rst rocky step to junction at the cairn, then turn SE to drop steeply down Kings How. Path crosses stiles over fence then stone wall and climbs to path junction where turn E to climb Brund Fell. From here descend E along the path to Watendlath (tea room and toilets available) From here you can do the optional detour to Dock Tarn.

  3. Before crossing the packhorse bridge, turn L through the gate and follow the path N beside Watendlath Beck for 2km to a junction of paths at a footbridge. Cross the bridge and after a short distance turn L to continue N on the path to join the road. Turn L onto the road and follow it to Ashness Bridge, taking in Surprise View on the way.

  4. Cross Ashness Bridge and follow the road a short distance to a path on the R. Follow path to a wall-gate. Through gate take middle of 3 paths climbing diagonally uphill to get on to the Walla Crag path which should be followed N for 1.8km around the head of Cat Gill to the summit of Walla Crag.

  5. From the summit, back-track to pass through the wall, then at the path junction, follow the R branch down beside the wall past the waterfalls and into Great Wood (steep descent). The path then leads down near to the valley road.

  6. Cross the road and on the other side join the lakeshore path. Turn R and follow the path N around Derwent Water past Friar’s Crag and the National Trust shop.

Further Information

If you're planning a holiday to Keswick and the northern Lakes then Borrowdale is a great place to find a wide variety of activities and adventures to suit everyone. From walks around Derwent Water and Cat Bells to 15th century packhorse trails and daring cycle routes, Borrowdale offers wildlife, watersports and great access to the northern Lakeland fells.

How to get to Borrowdale.

Visit Keswick.org for places to stay.

By National Trust

How to get here

Bowderstone Car Park, Borrowdale

CA12 5

Ordnance Survey OL4
The English Lakes
North Western area

NY 252 168

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