Where is this walk?

A Walk round Rydal Water

July 26, 2019

Any walk round Rydal Water is following in the footsteps of greatness, in this case William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy. Their regular walk took them round Rydal Water taking in the shores of this pretty lake and onto the path over the Coffin Route.

The Walk

This exceptionally pretty walk around the tranquil waters of Rydal Water is the inspiration for so much of the poetry of William Wordsworth. However it also forms much of the dialogue in the diary of his even more active 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 thereby creating the landscape of trees, lake and mountain which so inspired them.

Much of the walk is through lovely woodland. It clings tightly to the shores of the lake but is not thick enough to cut off the views across the lake. There are some choices to be made on the route, particularly on the far side of Rydal Water. However it is best to keep to the waters edge where possible with the only exception being a visit to the Rydal Caves. Rydal Caves are the large man made amphitheatre of slate created by the ancients wen they dug the slate from the rock!


The Coffin Route is the path on the north side of Rydal Water which followed the footsteps of Wordsworth. It also followed the footsteps of a people carrying the dead bodies from Rydal to the church at Grasmere.

Navigation Tips on the walk round Rydal Water

On the southern shores of the lake take the higher path which passes two fascinating quarry caves. From the high col between Rydal Water and Grasmere take the upper path to find the caves. The lower path which drops steeply to the lake sticks close to the shore.

  • Karen says:

    Stop moaning! Who is paid to clean the toilets and supply tissue and soap? Who maintains the woodland, pathways and car parks? If you wish to enjoy the beauty of Rydal then pay or walk further and leave your car.

    • Jonathan says:

      Parking charges are too high, I have had much feedback to tell me how it puts people off visiting. Parking in other parks is cheaper or voluntary, much better. Unfortunately £8 a day is a lot for some people, maybe not for yourself.
      Parking charges are an easy and lazy way of getting money in due to the limit of parking in the area.
      This is not about cleaning charges and maintenance.
      Incidently I am a volunteer for the LDNP and have a parking permit so it does not usually affect me.

  • 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?

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!!

  • 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!

  • 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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