Grasmere and Rydal Water

This is a rather pleasant, nicely varied, circular of both Grasmere and Rydal Water even with the unavoidable road walking. Part of the route is along the old Coffin road, so called as it was the route used to take the dead of Rydal to the church in Grasmere for burial.

It also passes Dove Cottage which was the home of the Lakeland poet William Wordsworth from 1799 to 1808. And the Wordsworth Trust Shop.

There are a number of car parks in Grasmere from where the walk starts, with the one on Stock Lane - the road into the village from Ambleside, being the most accessible.

Rydal Water from the Coffin Road
Rydal Water from the Coffin Road

If you need accommodation we have details of 41 properties offering rooms near the start of this walk. Here are some examples:

5 Sykes Cottages Assessed Cottage
The Old Laundry, Ambleside
£479-958 per week
4.7km (2.9 miles) away, sleeps 4

4 Visit England Assessed
Thorneyfield Guest House, Ambleside
£70+ per night
4.7km (2.9 miles) away

Ambleside Central, Ambleside
£50-83 per night
4.9km (3.0 miles) away

Maps: 50K: 90     25K: OL7
Near to:Ambleside, Grasmere, Grasmere village
Distance:9.0km (5.6 miles)
Min. time:2 hrs 7 mins
Terrain:2 - rough
Bog Factor:1 - none
Tech Diff:2 - basic map reading
Rough in only a few short sections.
Dog issues:Crossing of the busy A591 twice, but otherwise plenty of opportunity to play in the lakes.
Purchase: Buy walk in Adobe/PDF format to print or for your phone or tablet
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Walk height profile
path profile
height in metres, distance in kilometres - note that gradients are usually exaggerated

Route Description


Starting in Grasmere somewhere near the church, it being an obvious landmark, head out of the village on Stock Lane towards Ambleside - if you came out of the church you would turn left. Past the shops, and Stock Lane car park to the roundabout at the junction with the A591.

Cross over and take the minor road with the 6'6" width restriction. It directly passes Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth shop. Continue on as the road climbs gently. A small pond is found at the top of the rise, and just before the road turns sharply right behind a barn bear left to take the minor road signposted "Public Footpath to Alcock Tarn and Coffin Route to Rydal".

Dove Cottage
Dove Cottage
Coffin Road to Rydal
Coffin Road to Rydal


Past another tarn, called variously Skater's Tarn, Wordsworth's Tarn, or White Moss Tarn, the lane becomes a gravel track, which gradually deteriorates to a rough path in places. At Brockstones bear right.

As the path meets a wall, bear left and keep high to avoid having to climb back up to the gate.

Eventually, after 1.5km (0.9 miles), the path goes through a gate into a lane which drops into Rydal beside Rydal Mount. Turn right, pass the church and down to the A591.

Loughrigg Fell
Loughrigg Fell
Money Tree on Rydal to Grasmere Coffin Road
Money Tree on Rydal to Grasmere Coffin Road


Turn right and walk along this busy road, there is a pavement on both sides, cross when it's clear or just before the Badger Bar (about 100m (110 yards)) cross over and drop through the hole in the wall. Immediately you will see the Dipper Bridge footbridge over the river. This bridge was restored after Storm Desmond wrecked the old one in December 2015.

Cross, and then turn right to follow the river bank. At the lake, bear left to go round the shore. Go through the gates and keep to the lower path by the shore, below Jobson Close.

Rydal Footbridge
Rydal Footbridge
Rydal Water
Rydal Water


As you reach the old barn on your right, the path climbs quite steeply to a junction of four paths. Take the right fork which is narrow and immediately drops down to follow a wall. Don't continue on the wider track that is Loughrigg Terrace.

Follow the wall down to the footbridge over the Grasmere outfall and bear left to continue round the lake shore.



Go through the gate, a smooth track is just above the water's edge here. Keep following the shore line. After some distance the woodland to the right becomes fenced in fields. With stunning views across the lake the end of this path comes all too soon and you are forced to turn left up to the road.



At the road turn right to head towards Grasmere village. There is a little traffic on this country lane so care will be needed where it narrows and on corners. There are still good glimses of the view back down the lake and to the fells on the other side.

You enter the village on Red Bank Road opposite the church.

Grasmere Village
Grasmere Village

Inevitably things change on the ground so if you think this walk needs updating please let us know

A walk by

If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:

Stone Arthur, Great Rigg, Heron Pike and Nab Scar***141m (155 yards) away
A circuit of Grasmere*141m (155 yards) away
Alcock Tarn**141m (155 yards) away
Helm Crag**161m (177 yards) away
Steel Fell, Calf Crag, Gibson Knott and Helm Crag****221m (243 yards) away
Easedale Tarn*316m (348 yards) away
Silver How**360m (396 yards) away
Easedale Tarn, Codale Tarn, and Tarn Crag***400m (440 yards) away
Allan Bank Woodland Walk*0.6km (0.4 miles) away
Loughrigg Fell from White Moss**1.3km (0.8 miles) away
Red Bank from White Moss near Ambleside*1.5km (0.9 miles) away
Seat Sandal***1.9km (1.2 miles) away
An Elterwater Stroll*2.7km (1.7 miles) away
Waterfalls and the Cathedral Cavern, from Elterwater**2.8km (1.7 miles) away
Nab Scar and Alcock Tarn**2.9km (1.8 miles) away
Loughrigg Fell from Rydal**3.0km (1.9 miles) away
Grisedale Tarn**4.4km (2.7 miles) away
A Journey from Dungeon Ghyll over the Fells to Ambleside*****4.5km (2.8 miles) away
Cumbria Way - Dungeon Ghyll to Keswick****4.5km (2.8 miles) away
High Raise, Sergeant Man, and Blea Rigg from Langdale****4.5km (2.8 miles) away
The Langdale Pikes: Pavey Ark, Thunacar Knott, Pike of Stickle, Harrison Stickle****4.5km (2.8 miles) away
The Fairfield Horseshoe*****4.6km (2.9 miles) away
An Ambleside Waterfalls Wander - Stockghyll Force and Blue Hill Wood*4.7km (2.9 miles) away
Loughrigg Fell from Ambleside**4.7km (2.9 miles) away
Loughrigg Tarn**4.7km (2.9 miles) away
Wansfell, and Wansfell Pike**4.8km (2.9 miles) away
Stockghyll Force - Ambleside*4.8km (3.0 miles) away
High Sweden Bridge Circular*4.8km (3.0 miles) away
Red Screes and Middle Dodd from Ambleside****4.8km (3.0 miles) away
Wansfell Pike, Troutbeck, and Skelghyll Wood***4.8km (3.0 miles) away
Lily Tarn above Ambleside*4.8km (3.0 miles) away