The Lake District is a beautiful area and very popular for walking. Our colleagues at Windermere Lake Cruises have a fantastic series of downloadable walks around Windermere. Please click here to view them. In the Lake District there are walks for every ability from short family ambles around a lake to high ridge walks with scrambling. To find out more information about walking in the area, please visit the Lake District National Park website for lots of information on routes and advice on equipment needed. They also provide information on walks with pushchairs ‘Miles without Stiles’, guided walks and much more.
A Beatrix Potter™ Walk
This walk takes you around the shores of Lake Windermere and over the wooded fells of Claife Heights to the villages of Sawrey and Hawkshead to take in the sights and sounds that inspired the works of Beatrix Potter. Along the way you will be able to walk through the lovely woods of Cockshott Point that she bequeathed to the National Trust and to visit her house, Hill Top in Near Sawrey. You can make the walk as long or as short as you like by making use of either the shuttle bus or the ferry bus to suit your own itinerary.
Grade Moderate: the walking is mostly along good way-marked footpaths or roads, but as there is one short but steep climb and a number of rough boggy sections walking boots are recommended.
Start/Finish: The World of Beatrix Potter™, Bowness-on-Windermere, GR SD404970
Distance: 13 miles (21km)
Time: 5-6 hours
Height gain: 172m
Terrain: Bustling town, lakeside woods, low-wooded fells, pasture and village lanes.
Maps: OS Landranger 90, OS Explorer OL 7, Harveys’ Superwalker (1:25 000) Southern Lakeland (only covers the west side of Windermere).
1. Start at The World of Beatrix Potter™ Attraction which is located near the centre of Bowness on the A592 just up from the mini-roundabout. The exhibition gives an insight into the life and works of Beatrix Potter as well as having a cafe that offers fortifying tea and cake. From the exhibition walk South past the church down to the lake shore and ferry piers at Bowness Bay. For a short cut you can take the ferry shuttle across the lake to Ferry Nab.
2. Follow the minor road round the Glebe (past the car park and chandlers) and join the footpath that leaves the road on the R at the bend by the boat yard. This is the footpath round Cockshott Point (purchased by Beatrix Potter to prevent building and provide the public with lakeside access near Bowness – donated by her to the National Trust) and is followed round the side of Lake Windermere to the car ferry access road. Walk West down the road and take the car ferry over to Ferry Nab.
3. From Ferry Nab follow the road for 350m to the start of a footpath in the car park. Join the path and follow it as it climbs steeply through the woods to viewing station, which gives extensive views up and down the length of Lake Windermere. Past the viewing station the path is followed North West across the side of Mitchell Knotts to emerge from the trees and join an old lane. The path is followed a short distance down the lane to a junction with another lane (bridleway) turn L and follow this pleasant lane South West then South into Far Sawrey.
4. At Far Sawrey turn R onto the road and follow it North West for 100m to a junction. Turn Left and follow this road past the houses and on towards the church at Town End.
5. From Town End a footpath heads North West across pasture towards the road near Near Sawrey. Follow it to the road but don’t join the road instead take the permissive path alongside it which leads directly into Near Sawrey.
6. Hill Top is well worth visiting as is the Tower Bank Arms; both are located in the centre of the village. From the village follow the B5285 North West a short distance to a junction. Turn Left and follow the minor road S for 400m to another junction (Pigling Bland corner).
7a. If you take the Right branch this heads round the bottom of Esthwaite Water (setting for Jeremy Fisher) and joins the road on the western side of the lake which can in turn be followed North to Hawkshead (setting for Johnny Townmouse and home of Beatrix Potter™ Gallery) from where you can catch the shuttle bus back to Ferry Nab.
7b. Alternatively you can take the Left branch and follow it South for 1km and take the footpaths North North East through Castle Wood and Hawkshead Flats (way marked) to rejoin the route on the East side of Near Sawrey. To get back to Ferry Nab you can either retrace your steps over Claife Heights or follow the B5285 East.
8. From Ferry Nab take the car ferry back over the lake and walk back round Cockshott Point or catch the ferry shuttle back to Bowness.