This walk based in the beautiful valley of Borrowdale brings together a couple of our very short strolls, to Lodore Falls and the Bowder Stone, linked by a visit to the hamlet of Watendlath and Grange Fell into a delightful circular route. It is still short enough for the dark days of winter, or a summer's afternoon.
During summer there are two cafés at Grange: Grange Bridge Cottage Tearooms, and Grange Cafe just a little further on through the village. Just when you might be tiring the farm at Watendlath also run a tearoom which is well known for its cakes.
Watendlath is from Old Norse: vatn-endih-hlada for 'water-end barn'. The tarn, from where the name originates, stands at the head of a hanging valley the outfall Watendlath Beck flows northwards to the cascades of Lodore Falls before joining Derwent Water alongside the River Derwent from Borrowdale valley. The tarn is a popular fishing destination and is stocked with brown and rainbow trout. The tiny hamlet was the setting for Hugh Walpole's Judith Paris in the Herries Chronicles series of books.
The Bowder Stone's name possibly comes from the Norse god Baldr, although there are no references to really confirm this.
Park at the National Trust Bowderstone pay and display car park.
If you need accommodation we have details of 12 properties offering rooms near the start of this walk. Here are some examples:
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
Return to the car park entrance and turn right along the road heading back towards Keswick. There is a narrow footway of sorts on the other side of the road. Below the wall to your left you may find a narrow meandering footpath, but you'll have to negotiate quite a few boggy patches, streams, and come back to the road anyway. Turn left over Grange Bridge, which is really two bridges, and head into Grange.
Continue through the village and follow the road as it swings right.
Pass the Borrowdale Gates hotel on your right and in 600m (660 yards) just past the bridge over Ellers Beck go through the gate again on your right, signposted "public footpath", onto a muddy track alongside the beck.
Go through the gate the far end of the field and continue to the next gate. Again go through and bear right. A wooden boardwalk crosses a boggy section. Follow the path round a small knoll to reach a wider gravel path. Bear right to follow the southern shore of Derwent Water. The path connects with another boardwalk which continues across the wetlands to the "Chinese Bridge".
Cross the bridge, and continue on the track beyond to the road. Go through the gate onto the road, and turn left on the the footway alongside the road towards the Lodore Falls hotel.
As you reach the buildings, look out for a sloping driveway on your right. There are two small signs, one a public footpath, and another "To the falls no cars".
Go up the driveway and bear left behind the hotel buildings. Another much larger sign proclaims "To The Falls" on the wall of the hotel. Follow the way round, and then turn right over the footbridge.
Follow the rough path bearing right up a shallow gully to the falls viewpoint and bench.
Note: Substantial building works have closed the first entrance to the falls: continue along the road. Take care with the traffic along this busy stretch, pass the hotel and grounds to the corner. On the right hand side of the road there is a path signed to Keswick to the left, but turn right onto the path that heads back through the woods to the falls behind the hotel.
Having viewed the falls from beside the bench turn left and locate the path to traverse the hillside in Lodore Wood. The path splits in a distinct 'Y', take the left fork. This climbs a little steeply but never excessively so, unlike the 'path' directly beside the falls. Keep left, seemingly this path continues along the hillside in the wrong direction!
It does eventually turn sharp right. Follow the path on its narrow terrace zigzagging ever higher. If you reach a very narrow and slightly dodgy section below Gowder Crag heading for a small knoll it means you missed the zig left just behind you. Return and continue up the hillside until reaching a fence and step stile.
Cross the stile, with rudimentary dog gate alongside, and bear right. In a few metres the path meanders left slightly between the knolls of Hogs Earth.
Reaching the wide gravel path turn left.
Follow this path as it traverses above a bowl with Watendlath Beck in the bottom. In 200m (220 yards) turn sharp left onto a track climbing gently, bear right and reaching the rough track bear right again. At the end of the track go through the gate and turn right along the cobbled path alongside the wall. Cross the footbridge and at the other end notice the stone direction indicator set into the path. Turn left for Watendlath.
Follow the path with the beck on your left all the way to Watendlath. Approaching an enclosure wall the path turns right up a few steps to a gate, go through and continue on the path above the wall. Just before you reach the village the path bears left and descends to rejoin alongside the beck. Bear right as directed, and down to the gate beside the stone packhorse bridge. Go through the gate and bear right to the tarn.
Visitors to Watendlath will want to cross the bridge, return to the tarn afterwards.
Go through another gate, shortly after at the parting of the bridleways take the right hand branch to climb steeply initially on a rough track. At the top of Puddingstone Bank the views behind really open out to much of the central ridge above Watendlath.
Approaching the wall and gate bear right and climb the wet grassy path alongside the wall. Bear left and climb over the ladder stile. Bear right and continue climbing upwards beside a small stream. At the lone tree bear left and follow the path as it meanders a bit more to the complicated top of Grange Fell. Of the rocky knolls the highest appears to be the one on the right as you get to the boggy col between them. There is no cairn. In poor weather it would be inadvisable to wander around the wide expanse of Grange Fell. Return back down to the stile and then to the gate on the bridleway.
Turn right and go through the gate this time, continue on the bridleway as it drops down the other side of Puddingstone bank.
Reaching a small knoll and conifer plantation bear left and continue on the wide bridleway.
When it reaches the wall in 100m (110 yards) or so, on the right go through the gate. There is a large stone sign alongside it to "Keswick" and "Bowder Stone". This less frequented bridleway is narrow initially before becoming much wider and more like a track.
Traverse below the plantation and then on into the deciduous Frith Woods. The track meanders a bit but is easily followed.
Eventually reaching the road near Red Brow go through the gate onto the road. Turn right and cross the road to the footway on the other side.
In 400m (440 yards), after rounding a knoll take the footpath on the right signed "Bowder Stone", cross the road and go through the gate. Climb the track beyond, it soon reaches the stone and climbing club buildings.
Continue on the track past the stone, in a little over 500m (550 yards) bear right up the steps to the car park.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|A Short Walk to The Bowder Stone||36m (40 yards) away|
|Dock Tarn, Great Crag, and Watendlath, from Rosthwaite||2.0km (1.2 miles) away|
|Millican Dalton's Cave - Castle Crag, Borrowdale||2.0km (1.2 miles) away|
|Castle Crag - Borrowdale||2.0km (1.2 miles) away|
|A Short Stroll to Lodore Falls||3.0km (1.9 miles) away|
|Eagle Crag, Sergeant's Crag and Ullscarf||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|The Glaramara Wainwrights||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|Skinny Dipping in Blackmoss Pot||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|A Short Walk From Ashness Bridge to High Seat||3.3km (2.0 miles) away|
|Robinson, Hindscarth and Dale Head - A Half Newlands||3.4km (2.1 miles) away|
|Robinson and Hindscarth from Little Town||3.4km (2.1 miles) away|
|Catbells, Maiden Moor, High Spy - A Half Newlands||4.3km (2.7 miles) away|
|Catbells||4.3km (2.7 miles) away|
|Catbells and the Newlands valley||4.3km (2.7 miles) away|
|Grey Knotts and Brandreth circular from Honister||4.3km (2.7 miles) away|
|Scafell Pike from Seathwaite via the Corridor Route||4.9km (3.0 miles) away|
|Base Brown, Green Gable, Great Gable and Seathwaite Fell||5.0km (3.1 miles) away|
|Walla Crag and the Great Wood||5.0km (3.1 miles) away|
Unless otherwise stated the text in this walk is the copyright of Hug Solutions Ltd trading as The Hug and the photographs are the copyright of Elizabeth Oldham. Hill data is derived from Database of British and Irish hills which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Maps contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011 and paths © OpenStreetMap Contributors,CC-BY-SA, 2011