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Rydal Water

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Rydal Water
Author: Andrew's Walks, Published: 29 Oct 2018 Walk Rating:star0  Rydal Water Walking Guidestar0  Rydal Water Walking Guidestar0  Rydal Water Walking Guidestar0  Rydal Water Walking Guidestar0  Rydal Water Walking Guide
Cumbria, Lake District
Walk Type: River or lakeside
Rydal Water
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot  Rydal Water Walking Guide boot  Rydal Water Walking Guide
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A 3 mile circular walk from the village of Rydal in the Lake District, Cumbria. The walking route performs a loop around Rydal Water, a small lake covering an area of a third of a square kilometre. Rydal Water may be one of the smallest lakes in the Lake District, however what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in sheer beauty as it sits glistening at the foot of Loughrigg Fell. This area inspired much of Wordsworth’s poetry and you will pass his former home. The lake is supplied and drained by the River Rothay, which flows from Grasmere upstream and towards Windermere downstream. You will enjoy beautiful woodlands, lakeside views and follow a stretch of the old coffin road plus Loughrigg Terrace, one of the most beautiful half-miles in lakeland.

The walk includes a few climbs and descents throughout, with a couple of steep sections but nothing too long. The total ascent is only around 150 metres. If follows stretches of well-made stone paths and tracks for the most part. You will need to negotiate several gates and footbridges but there are no stiles. You will come across grazing sheep and there are two road crossings that need care. Allow 1.5 to 2 hours.

The village of Rydal is a small cluster of houses, church and hotel on the A591 road, about midway between Ambleside and Grasmere. The walk begins outside Rydal Church and there is roadside parking here with an honesty box (£2 payable to the church – correct Autumn 2018). Arrive early to secure a space here. If this area is full, you could use the White Moss pay-and-display car park on the A591 (close to Waypoint 4) and adjust the walk to start there. Approximate post code for church LA22 9LR.

Walk Sections

Start to Coffin Road
Start to Coffin Road

Start point: 54.4475 lat, -2.9813 long
End point: 54.449 lat, -2.9822 long

The walk begins outside St Mary’s Church in Rydal. Behind the churchyard is a field known as Dora’s Field, which is worth a quick visit if you have time. The poet William Wordsworth lived just up the hill at Rydal Mount from 1813 until his death in 1850. He bought this field initially with plans to build a house here. After his daughter Dora died in 1847, William came down to this field between Rydal Mount and the main road, and together with his wife, sister and gardener, planted hundreds of daffodils as a memorial to Dora. Today the field of daffodils is maintained by the National Trust.

Standing on the lane with your back to the church, turn left to head uphill along the lane. Continue ahead up the lane, as it become steeper and passes Rydal Mount on your left. Immediately above Rydal Mount a track bears left. Turn left to follow this track, the old Coffin Route which runs between Ambleside and Grasmere.

Coffin Road to Woodland Gate
Coffin Road to Woodland Gate

Start point: 54.449 lat, -2.9822 long
End point: 54.4507 lat, -2.9941 long

Follow the stone track of Coffin Road. On your left are the grounds of Rydal Mount, William Wordsworth’s former family home. Beyond the grounds of Rydal Mount, the track is well defined, traversing through clumps of oaks with a view south over Rydal Water.

Coffin Road is so called as it was once used to transport the dead to Grasmere for burial, when there was no church at Rydal. Wordsworth was one of the people who helped raise money to build St Mary’s in Rydal and was later a church warden. Look out for a coffin rest stone, where the bearers once placed their burden for a breather. There is a seat beyond this and then a gate leads through a wall and the track enters the woods above Nab Cottage.

Woodland Gate to Path Junction
Woodland Gate to Path Junction

Start point: 54.4507 lat, -2.9941 long
End point: 54.4523 lat, -3.003 long

Continue on the path for about a further 500 metres, to reach a path junction (pictured). This junction is close to the point where a holiday cottage sits above the track to your right. Turn left at this junction.

Path Junction to Road Crossing
Path Junction to Road Crossing

Start point: 54.4523 lat, -3.003 long
End point: 54.4502 lat, -3.0048 long

Follow the track leading you steeply downhill. Along this descent you will pass the beautiful White Moss Waterfall. The path leads you down to the main road, the A591. Cross over the road with care to take the path opposite.

Road Crossing to White Moss Bridge
Road Crossing to White Moss Bridge

Start point: 54.4502 lat, -3.0048 long
End point: 54.4485 lat, -3.0069 long

Once you have crossed the road, follow the stone path which leads you through White Moss woodland, heading right to cross a small footbridge. Continue along the path, soon with the River Rothay to your left. The River Rothay is beautiful here, often sun dappled as the light passes through the trees, and is alive with ducks, dippers and herons. In spring, the woodland is carpeted in bluebells. Continue just until you reach the large footbridge over the river, White Moss Bridge.

White Moss Bridge to Loughrigg Terrace
White Moss Bridge to Loughrigg Terrace

Start point: 54.4485 lat, -3.0069 long
End point: 54.4454 lat, -3.0065 long

Cross the White Moss Bridge over the River Rothay. This new metal bridge has been designed to be both wheelchair and pushchair accessible. At the far side, follow the path leading directly away from the river. It winds up through White Moss Common Wood. At a fork near the top, take the left path until you reach a gate in a stone wall. Go through the gate to reach a T-junction with the path known as Loughrigg Terrace.

Loughrigg Terrace to River Bridge
Loughrigg Terrace to River Bridge

Start point: 54.4454 lat, -3.0065 long
End point: 54.4466 lat, -2.9833 long

Turn left and follow the path downhill. There is another path which runs higher and parallel to your right, but for this walk we stay on the main stone path running closer to the lake, Rydal Water, on your left. Within the middle of the lake you will see Heron Island – it's well named as I always see a heron when visiting here. The boathouse at the head of the lake provides a good focal point for photos.

Ignore any paths to the right and, towards the end of the lake, go ahead through a gate to enter woodland. The path leads through the wood and then, with the lake just over to the left, walk through the field to intercept the River Rothay. You will find a large footbridge across the river.

River Bridge to End
River Bridge to End

Start point: 54.4466 lat, -2.9833 long
End point: 54.4476 lat, -2.9814 long

Cross the river bridge and pass through the stone wall gap to reach the main A591 road, with Badger Bar opposite. Cross over to the far pavement with care and turn right along this. Take the first side lane on the left, which will lead you directly back to the church where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2018 by iFootpath and the author AndrewLocking and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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