You are unlikely to be alone for long on this popular walk even in the depths of winter, unless the weather is exceedingly poor. Here we suggest doing the circuit clockwise: for the simple reason that sunshine on the mountains opposite always helps to make them look their best.
Things to see on this walk include, the rather fine Moot Hall with its
single handed clock face, a memorial to John Ruskin who was a very public figure of the Victorian era lesser known for his later conservation work, the National Trust's Centenary Stone celebrating 100 years of the trust in 1995, Lodore Falls - a
The start point is the Moot Hall in Keswick right in the middle of the shopping precinct and central to many of the parking options. The Moot Hall is the Tourist Information and Visitors Centre so is well signed from all points of the town.
If you need accommodation we have details of 33 properties offering rooms near the start of this walk. Here are some examples:
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
From the clock tower on the front of the Moot Hall in the town centre, bear right to pass alongside the hall and then right again towards George Fisher outdoor shop. Turn right just in front of the shop into Lake Road.
Bear left to the subway under the Borrowdale road and follow the path left in front of Café Hope onto the promenade beside Hope Park and the 'pitch and putt' golf.
Bear right into the park and then left to wiggle through towards the Theatre By The Lake. Follow the road bearing right down to the marina and Keswick Launch pier. Turn left onto the promenade.
Continue along the promenade to Friars Crag, in the middle of the mound is a memorial to John Ruskin.
Continue round the small outcrop, down the steps and right to the gate. Go through, and follow the path through the parkland.
Go through another gate onto a path skirting the boggy woodland of The Ings. Bear right and cross the bridge to continue around, and reach a farm track.
Turn right along the track to the farm. Bear left following the signs. At the end of the track go through the gate and bear right to remain on the footpath.
Follow this to the fence above the lake shore and bear left. This area is Stable Hills which seems to just be a few minor bumps in a field. Follow the path around the field to the gateway at the end, go through on to the National Trust's Broomhill Point. Bear left and then right following the path around Calfclose Bay where the National Trust's Centenary Stone can be found.
Reaching the footbridge, you can either turn sharp left back to the road, or continue a little way and then clamber up to the road. Either way, at the road turn right and walk along the footway. Below you there is a very narrow intermittent path above the water, it's not entirely recommended.
Reaching Barrow Bay and the driveway to Derwent Water Youth Hostel bear right away from the road to avoid a very narrow section and instead go around a small headland.
Go through the gate onto the lake shore. There are fantastic views here back towards Keswick and the Skiddaw massif above.
The path here is a little intermittent, but basically follow the shore.
Cross the wooden bridge and bear left to continue round through rough gorse scrub and trees.
Approaching the road, below Strutta Wood, don't climb up to the road but turn right just below onto a narrow walkway alongside.
At the National Trust Kettlewell car park cross the beck by the bridge and carefully cross the road to the footpath the other side of the road and wall.
This meanders pleasantly through trees and past moss covered boulders. The wall on your right, between you and road, has gaps so keep close control of small children and animals.
A little way past the Mary Mount hotel on the opposite side of the road bear left at the small footpath marker.
Approaching the Lodore Falls hotel buildings, you'll hear the noise of the falls. Bear left and climb up the small knoll to the falls viewpoint and bench.
When you've done with the falls return to the buildings, and bear left over the footbridge. Continue round the back of the buildings to the Borrowdale road again.
Cross the road to the footway and bear left along the road. Pass the Public Conveniences, and then in 100m (110 yards) go through the gate on your right and onto the track.
Follow the track to the 'Chinese bridge', cross the bridge, and continue along the walkway over the marshy wetlands. You really don't want to step off the walkway.
Reaching dry land again, bear right and follow the gravelled path. Now you are finally heading back towards Keswick.
Follow the path above the shore and cross a number of sections of walkway. At the end of the field go through the gate, into the woodland of Manesty Park, and continue along the path.
Eventually turning inland it reaches a cottage. Bear right in front of the cottage onto the track signposted "Abbots Bay". Bear left and go through the next gate signposted "National Trust path Brandlehow and Keswick". Bear right in front of the house to head back to the lake shore at Brandlehow Bay.
On the other side of the small bay bear left on a path through gorse and climb up alongside the fence to a gate on your right. Go through, it has a small Cumbria Way footpath marker. Cross the small knoll and down the steps to the path around Brandelhow Bay.
Keep right to follow the path through Brandelhow Park beside the lake shore. There are a number of picnic benches along the way.
At the end of the park go through the gate in the wall. Ignore the path straight ahead but bear left to a gateway, you'll end up here anyway.
Continue through the gate and across the grounds below the Hawse End Centre. The path climbs to the road and pedestrian gate. Turn right onto the road, following it for just 80m (88 yards) to a wooden gate on the right. On the opposite side of the road beside the parking place is a fairly well hidden footpath sign to Portinscale 1.5miles.
Go though the gate on to path through rhododendron and mixed woodlands. The path drops down to cross a bridge and gate.
Continue on the path across the field, interestingly called The Park on the OS 25K map, to the next gate. Go through and continue straight ahead through a corner of Overside Wood.
Bear left in front of the cottages, and reaching the private drive to Lingholm, bear left and then shortly right. A signpost declares Portinscale 1 mile and Keswick 2 miles.
In a few metres diverge from the Cumbria Way to visit the marina at Nichol End: ignore the small footpath marker and instead bear right on a track descending gently. Follow the track past a wood yard, and some houses to the marina.
There are cracking views across the water to Blencathra. Turn left to follow the track to the Newlands Valley road.
Turn right along the pavement for 500m (550 yards) into Portinscale.
As the road turns sharp left bear right into a narrow cul-de-sac on the left hand side of the Harney Peak holiday apartment building. Pass the hotel and Derwent Hill Outdoor Centre.
At the end of the road continue over the Portinscale Bridge: a rather fine pedestrian suspension bridge. It bounces and moves slightly with each step. Continue along the old road, and in 100m (110 yards) bear right through the pedestrian gate to follow the fenced track across fields.
Bear left to Luca's restaurant. Turn left at the main road to cross the bridge over the River Greta towards the town centre. At the mini-roundabout go straight over into the pedestrianised precinct, returning to the Moot Hall.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|Walla Crag and Castlerigg Stone Circle||14m (15 yards) away|
|A short walk to Friar's Crag from the Moot Hall, Keswick||22m (24 yards) away|
|The National Trust Centenary Stone from Keswick||22m (24 yards) away|
|Castlehead Viewpoint from the Moot Hall, Keswick||30m (33 yards) away|
|Cumbria Way - Keswick to Caldbeck||36m (40 yards) away|
|Walla Crag and Bleaberry Fell from Great Wood||2.0km (1.2 miles) away|
|Walla Crag and the Great Wood||2.0km (1.3 miles) away|
|Skiddaw Shepherd's Memorial||2.4km (1.5 miles) away|
|Misty Skiddaw||2.4km (1.5 miles) away|
|A longer walk over Bakestall and Skiddaw||2.4km (1.5 miles) away|
|Latrigg: a short stroll||2.5km (1.5 miles) away|
|Lonscale Fell via Burnt Horse Ridge||2.5km (1.5 miles) away|
|Castlerigg Stone Circle||2.5km (1.5 miles) away|
|Catbells, Maiden Moor, High Spy - A Half Newlands||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|Catbells||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|Catbells and the Newlands valley||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|To Force Crag Mine - a Coledale Low Round||3.5km (2.2 miles) away|
|A Shorter Coledale Round||3.5km (2.2 miles) away|
|The Coledale Horseshoe||3.7km (2.3 miles) away|
|Causey Pike and Scar Crag||3.8km (2.3 miles) away|
|A Short Walk From Ashness Bridge to High Seat||3.8km (2.4 miles) away|
|A Short Stroll to Lodore Falls||3.9km (2.4 miles) away|
|Grisedale Pike and Hopegill Head||3.9km (2.4 miles) away|
|Force Crag Mine||3.9km (2.4 miles) away|
|Words In The Woods||4.5km (2.8 miles) away|
|Whinlatter Forest - Heavy Sides Walk||4.5km (2.8 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