To the north of Ambleside is an ancient packhorse bridge. High Sweden Bridge is thought to date from the late 1700s and crosses Scandale Beck on the route from the town to Patterdale. Though no longer used by horses it is still popular with walkers heading for the fells or on this scenic stroll.
Our walk crosses both High and Low Sweden Bridges, and passes the folly named "The Tower of Friendship and Beauty" in the grounds of Eller How on the outskirts of Ambleside. Built by Henry Boyle a keen botanist and landscape gardener, son of John Boyle of Wedgwood and Boyle Potteries, it has the names of many famous visitors, including the Wordsworth's, carved into the brickwork.
Parking in Ambleside is reasonably plentiful although it does get busy at holiday times. There is the main car park above the town centre on the A591 towards Rydal. And for longer stays the Miller Field car park at the bottom end of town is large and often has space when the other has filled up. There are a couple of smaller car parks dotted around too.
If you need accommodation we have details of 136 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 Hub - Tourist Information Centre at the top of town, take the lane than runs down the right hand side. This is North Road, climb gently to a junction on the Kirkstone pass road.
Turn left to drop down towards the mini-roundabout at the junction with Rydal Road, the A591, but just before reaching it turn right and then immediately left into Nook Lane.
Follow the narrow Nook Lane past the University of Cumbria building, and into the yard at Nook End Farm. Cross the farmyard and go through the gate onto the track. Follow this and keep bearing left to drop down to Low Sweden Bridge.
Continue on the track as it sweeps right to climb through the field to a gate. Go through the gate and continue on the track ascending through another field.
Ignore the indistinct paths branching off. Going through a gap in a wall, with a sheepfold on your right, Low and High Brock Crags looming large at about 11 o'clock, and some large boulders littering the path: continue another 50m (55 yards) and bear right at the small post with the footpath marker.
Drop down the path and climb the ladder stile. Continue on the path, now stone pitched in places, down to the stone arched High Sweden Bridge.
Cross over the bridge and bear right on to the track, and right again to follow alongside Scandale Beck all the way back to Ambleside.
Along the way the beck cascades over rocks below you mainly being obscured by trees lining the banks. The views open out occasionally.
On the outskirts of Ambleside you will see the folly on a small mound in the private grounds of Eller How.
Reaching the Kirkstone pass road again bear right and then shortly left into North Road. The start point is at the end of the road.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|Stockghyll Force - Ambleside||same start point|
|Red Screes and Middle Dodd from Ambleside||10m (11 yards) away|
|Wansfell, and Wansfell Pike||14m (15 yards) away|
|Loughrigg Fell from Ambleside||22m (24 yards) away|
|Loughrigg Tarn||22m (24 yards) away|
|Wansfell Pike, Troutbeck, and Skelghyll Wood||31m (34 yards) away|
|Lily Tarn above Ambleside||50m (55 yards) away|
|An Ambleside Waterfalls Wander - Stockghyll Force and Blue Hill Wood||63m (69 yards) away|
|The Fairfield Horseshoe||180m (198 yards) away|
|Loughrigg Fell from Rydal||1.9km (1.2 miles) away|
|Nab Scar and Alcock Tarn||2.0km (1.3 miles) away|
|Red Bank from White Moss near Ambleside||3.3km (2.0 miles) away|
|Loughrigg Fell from White Moss||3.4km (2.1 miles) away|
|Troutbeck Tongue||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|Sour Howes and Sallows||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|Red Screes from Kirkstone Pass||4.3km (2.7 miles) away|
|Grasmere and Rydal Water||4.8km (3.0 miles) away|
|Helm Crag||4.9km (3.0 miles) away|
|A circuit of Grasmere||4.9km (3.0 miles) away|
|Stone Arthur, Great Rigg, Heron Pike and Nab Scar||4.9km (3.0 miles) away|
|Alcock Tarn||4.9km (3.0 miles) away|
|An Elterwater Stroll||4.9km (3.0 miles) away|
|Waterfalls and the Cathedral Cavern, from Elterwater||4.9km (3.1 miles) away|
|Steel Fell, Calf Crag, Gibson Knott and Helm Crag||4.9km (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