In the Footsteps of Wordsworth

  • Popular walk around Rydal Water
  • An inspiration for Wordsworth
  • Pretty woodland scenery throughout

This exceptionally pretty walk around the tranquil waters of Rydal Water is the inspiration for so much of the poetry of William Wordsworth and the words in the diary of his sister Dorothy. It is very easy to see why – Rydal Water itself is tightly enclosed between the steep slopes of Loughrigg Fell and the  Fairfield Horseshoe creating the landscape of trees, lake and mountain which so inspired them.

Much of the walk is through lovely woodland, which clings tightly to the shores of the lake but is not thick enough to cut off the views across the lake. There are some alternatives on the route, particularly on the far side of Rydal Water but it is best to keep to the waters edge where possible with the only exception being a visit to Rydal Cave, a large man made amphitheatre of slate complete with resident goldfish!

Recommend: Add in a trip to the shores of Grasmere and the popular pebble beach at its southern end.

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All maps are copyright of Where2Walk ©2018

OS Map: O/S 1.25,000. OL7 The English Lakes South East Buy Map
Start Point: NY349065. There are 2 National Trust car parks just off the road to the west of Rydal. Away from here parking is very limited.
Height to Climb: 155 ms (508 feet)
Terrain: Easy on good and clear paths.
Eating & Drinking: There are 2 options at the midway point of the walk. At the far end of the walk Cote How is a pleasant tea shop whilst the Badger Bar in Rydal offers stronger stuff.The Wordsworths
Similar Walks Nearby: Loughrigg Fell
A walk around Elterwater
Discover the Grasmere shoreline
Places to Stay:


Old Vicarage, Ambleside


  1. Jonathan says:

    Joining the National Trust is a great alternative but many of the car parks are not National Trust. I just do not believe that the amounts, often approaching £10 a day are fair, at best they should be voluntary.

  2. Ralph says:

    Instead of paying those car parking charges you find so hideous, why not join the national Trust? £5 a month and park in any of the NT car parks?

  3. Pete says:

    Why do people moan about paying to park? The paths and car parks need maintaining and that costs money that the local authorities and the LDNPA struggle to find. I think a few pounds for parking is a small price to pay to enjoy the beauty of the Lake District.

    Derek – There is a reason parking is free in Fleetwood. The local authority are trying to stimulate visitor numbers for the benefit of local businesses. I agree that free on-street parking in a town centre is a good idea. But making a comparison between Fleetwood and the Lake District is misguided.

  4. Prapon says:

    Totally agree with the above comments I’m a local and visited Elterwater 3 times the other week and it cost me £15 totally ridiculous, I can’t afford to keep paying those fees, from now on I’m just going to abandon my car on any roadside where ever I can and if it causes problems, tough you can blame it on these crazy fees!!

  5. C.Hawdon says:

    Parking in the lake District is exorbitant and the camera controlled car park,payment on leaving can catch many out– for not remembering to pay.especially if one is rushing off to show guests as much as possible in a short holiday!

  6. Derek Langford says:

    Hi we had a wonderful walking round both lakes what a great day it was only marred by the fact you had to pay at car park we was there about 5 hours £6.20 put in £7 and no change given what a rip of its cheaper to park in London , and you got us over a barrel as no were else to park if you came to where I live fleetwood you can park anywhere you want for free
    Your car park is just down right theft
    Very disappointed walker

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