Sarah's Top 5 Low Level Walks in The Lake District.

Sarah & Family

(and the dogs!)

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Works in accounts at Langdale

Loves walking with her 2 dogs

No. 1 - High & Low Hackett, Little Langdale

Start: Elterwater Village

A place that is seldom mentioned in and around Little Langdale, generally because of the proximity of places like Cathedral Quarries and Slater's Bridge but by far one of the finest walks in the area. High and Low Hackett are an intriguing, undulating crisscross of paths and old stone walls filled with lots of nooks and crannies to sit and relax or enjoy a picnic.


Leaving Elterwater across the bridge the road follows past the Hostel and The Eltermere Hotel until surrounded by woodland on either side of the road. On the right one finally reaches a water treatment centre. Entering the gate, take the left-hand path, meandering through the woodland and following the direction of the main road. After 200 yards, another path crosses from the roadside heading uphill to the right. Take this path climbing up through Fletcher's wood and finally joining the driveway to the houses atop High and Low Hackett. From here the path goes through a gate on the left situated straight ahead and into the adjoining field, then bearing right the path meets a stile; cross this and then peel off left. Keeping to the path through the field, it finally brings you out at Wilson's Place Farm. Either continue through the farm heading up right from here or for a nice place for some lunch turn left to relax at The Three Shires Inn, just off right on the main road.


Heading uphill through Wilson's Place Farm, the path gently climbs, going through a gate and snaking left and right through thick gauze which levels off in a field ***. Cross this and head through the gate onto the main, rough path and turn right, heading shortly through a large swing gate and then following the route downhill and back towards Elterwater.

No. 2 - Hunting Stile & Low Wood, Elterwater

Start: Langdale Estate

A great walk which offers stunning views of Langdale Valley as well as Elterwater and its three tarns and some beautiful woodland paths.


Starting from Langdale Estate, follow the road out towards Ambleside until the treeline ends and opens up onto Elterwater Common. When reaching the crossroads after 50 yards, turn left and head up the winding road before turning sharp right onto the higher road leading towards Red Bank and High Close YHA. After a short distance there is the option of taking a signed path uphill to the left, this climbs up towards Hunting Stile which gives lovely views both back towards the Langdale Valley and over into Grasmere.


After going through the kissing gate, the path descends into woodland and through another gate. Turning immediately right and through another small gate the path crosses a small stream before winding through some enchanting woodland and heading gradually uphill to join with the top of the Red Bank road. Continue on this road and just after the right hand turn to Langdale go through the second small gate on the right which takes you through the High Close Arboretum, an eclectic collection of trees from all over the globe planted over 100 years ago and interspersed with beautiful garden paths and stone ‘courting seats’ – well worth a good explore.


Keeping to this lower path finally leads you out of the garden and the track heads up right. After a few meters a gate on the left opens into Low Wood and snakes downhill through this beautiful woodland area. In spring it can be found teaming with an impressive carpet of bluebells and never fails to impress the eyes. Upon exiting the gate at the bottom, head back to the main Langdale road straight ahead and turn right to head back to the estate.

No. 3 - Tarn Hows, Hodge Close Quarry, Holme Fell & Yew Tree Tarn

Start: Tarn Hows Car Park

Every place in the title of this long, low level walk is a real statement of beauty, and the paths which link them are some of the best in the South Lakes with views to swoon at every turn. Starting from the Tarn Hows car park make your way towards the tarn and pick up the path which goes anti-clockwise around. About a quarter of the way round, there’s the option to turn back up and right towards a small National Trust property called Rose Castle Cottage. This can be rented year-round and is a stunning example of a 19th Century quaint Lake District house, well worth a few minutes detour.


Once halfway around the tarn, a path turns off right heading towards Iron Keld on the side of Black Fell. Take this turn and when it leads out onto a rough off-road track, turn left, winding down towards the main Ambleside – Coniston road. Taking care to cross this busy road and continue on down the small country lane that goes through High Oxen Fell Farm and picks up the path which eventually brings you out at Hodge Close Quarry down to your left-hand side. Take time to walk around here and enjoy the epic feeling of the huge walls and shards of slate that never fail to impress the senses.


Take the wooden gate to the South West, heading into the woodland and turn right to follow it uphill. After heading through the next gate, look for a small path heading up onto the fell and begin the short climb up to the old, Victorian tarns on the side of Holme Fell. This is the perfect place to stop and take a breather or grab some lunch; a tranquil place which considering its proximity to Hodge Close car park, is generally free of walkers. Following the right-hand shore of the first tarn, the path heads uphill towards a col before the summit to the right. Head to the summit and take in what are some of the most majestic Lakeland views available for the height gained; Coniston stretches out to the South and almost the entire water can be viewed from this summit, the Langdale Pikes and many of the old quarry workings of Tilberthwaite, Coniston Old Man and Weatherlam can be also viewed. Returning to the col, head right and downhill on the path towards Yew Tree Tarn. The path meanders down through interesting woodland and shrub before coming to the bridge spanning the outlet of the tarn. Looking across the water, herons can often be seen year-round, resting in the reeds.


Taking care to cross the main road, the path back to Tarn Hows heads up the ghyll left of the carpark, climbing through the woods with the chance to stop and rest near a pleasant waterfall located about halfway up and just off the path. Once the path emerges at Tarn Hows, the car park can be reached by heading right however if there is still fuel in the tank, the walk can be concluded with a stroll clockwise around the whole tarn.

No. 4 - Skelghyll Woods & Stagshaw Garden

Start: Ambleside

A pure Sunday afternoon belt loosener, Skelghyll woods are just a short walk out of Ambleside town centre and gain enough height to ensure a stunning panorama of the Western fells.


Leaving Ambleside on the main Windermere road, turn left through the main carpark opposite the Loghouse Restaurant and continue on the road behind for around 50 yards. A small, country road kicks up left and following this for 10 minutes finally brings you into the grounds of Skelghyll woods. Taking the right-hand, small path will take you to Stagshaw garden however it's worth bearing left here instead and following the main track for 20 minutes to gain height and enjoy beautiful views from atop Jenkin's Crag. Doubling back down the path after experiencing the views from Jenkin’s Crag, a ghyll which the path crossed on the ascent is reached, turn down left before the ghyll and follow the path until a path peels left to join the path for Stagshaw Garden. This National Trust garden is a collection of over 300 shrubs with tall oaks peppered in-between. In Spring, the daffodils and bluebells offer an extra layer of saturation to this already colourful array.  The path through the gardens continues down to the main road. Take care when crossing this busy road and wander through the field over to the lake shore for a magnificent view across Lake Windermere and towards the Coniston and Langdale fells. Walking back to the main road, head towards Ambleside maybe even calling in at the Ambleside YHA for refreshments or food.

No. 5 - Blenhelm Tarn & Outgate from Hawkshead

Start: Hawkshead

Leaving Hawkshead via the archway across from the Cooperative, follow through to the back gate and cross the main road to take the public footpath snaking round the right-hand side of the houses opposite and opening on to the fields heading left towards the base of Latterbarrow. After passing a small sheep barn on the right-hand side, the path breaks on to a main off-road track flanked either side by tall hedgerows. Follow this track round to the left before heading into the opposite fields and uphill towards High Loanthwite farm. The path then spills out onto a small country road. Heading left through the farmyard, take the gate directly on the right after the main farm houses and cross the field to your left. This path then winds through a small woodland grove before opening onto the fields behind Outgate. After passing through the next set of gates, one can break left onto the main road and maybe stop off for lunch or quick drink at The Outgate Inn or continue through the gate to the right and follow the gravel path up and around the left-hand side of the tarn onto the road. Heading uphill, the road passes High Wray Castle on the left; a great place to stop and explore or enjoy a picnic on the benches outside. Continuing up the road, look out on your left for The Old Vicarage, just after this, a path heads from the road, right, through the fields and round the other side of the tarn, finally joining back onto the road at Hole House. Gently amble down this quiet country lane and keep right to arrive back in Hawkshead.

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