The best walk from Kendal to Windermere is via the Dales Way long Distance footpath. This one way walk passes through rolling countryside, unspoilt tarns with great views over the southern lakes.
The final section of the Dales Way is very enjoyable. It is one of my hidden gems, a mix of farmland and rolling limestone hills interspersed with the odd tarn. The walking is on good paths and farm tracks. In particular there are two excellent parts. Initially the pleasant riverside walking along the banks of the River Kent is very enjoyable. Staveley, at the exit of the Kentmere valley, is also a good place to enjoy lunch. In addition the church is worth a visit. Secondly the final part of the walk passes the lovely tarn under School Knotts. It is a lovely, relaxing place, worth the short detour to the top of the fell to see the views.
Although I only discovered this area whilst walking the Dales Way I have returned a few times since. It always surprises me how quiet it is, particularly being so close to Windermere and Bowness. The walk is enhanced by being one way, a circular route between Kendal and Windermere would simply be too long.
It is possible at the bridge at Hagg Foot to take a detour to the lovely Potter Tarn. It is not a short detour, a 500 foot climb and roughly two miles extra. However Potter Tarn is a wonderful spot and if you do not include it on this walk do return another time.
The 555 leaves Windermere train station for Kendal every hour taking 25 minutes. On Sunday the first service is later. Check the timetable for up to date times.
If you can persuade the driver of the bus to drop you in Burneside (and he may) this avoids the up hill walk through the outskirts of Kendal. Walking through a town is often the most difficult place to navigate (and least interesting).
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