Walks from Elterwater in the heart of the Lake District

Published: Wednesday 13th Apr 2016

Written by: The Original Cottages Team

We have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to choosing a walk in the Lake District; the area is famed after all for Wainwright’s walks. To narrow down the choice here are a few accessible walks with fantastic views that can be started from Elterwater where our office and a number of our cottages are based.

Elterwater, Loughrigg Tarn to Skelwith Bridge and back again

4 miles. Easy walking. OS. Outdoor Leisure map no. 7.

From the Elterwater Bridge, walk through the village and take a right turn over the cattle grid towards Ambleside and then the first left past Mere Syke.  Once past Low Wood, take another left turn to catch your first glimpse of Loughrigg Tarn. Turn right through a gate onto the High Close Estate which allows more lovely views all around the Tarn. You are then heading towards Skelwith Bridge where there is a chance to have a cup of tea and a home-made cake at Chesters café.

The return route to Elterwater is a civilised walk on paved pathways along the picturesque banks of Brathay River and Elter Water itself.  Look out for Hooper swans as they give the name to the lake; Elterwater in Old Norse means ‘Swan Lake’.  The surrounding Langdale Pikes are spectacular.


6 miles. Low level walk. OS. Outdoor Leisure map no. 7.

From Elterwater Bridge pass the Elter Lake through the towering Langdale Pikes towards Skelwith Bridge where the first waterfall, Skelwith Force can be seen. Head through the woods towards Colwith Force where there is a succession of mini-waterfalls and then towards Strang End for a footbridge over the River Brathay. Your route is now toward Wilson Place and Little Langdale. You should be able to catch a glimpse of the winding Wrynose Pass, the original Roman road from Ambleside to the coast.  At the height of the pass is the Three Shires Inn which marks the meeting of the old county boundaries of Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire.  You are now not too far from The Eltermere where you can take refreshments or a bar lunch from the garden which has fantastic views over the Elter Water. Then it’s full circle back to the village.

Great Langdale Valley

8 miles. Low level walk. OS. Outdoor Leisure map no. 6.

From the Elterwater Bridge turn right up the tarmac quarry road to Chapel Stile. Through the Burlington Quarry yard to Crossgates cottage.  Turn right here leading to Baysbrown Farm and enjoy the lovely views of the Langdale Valley.  You are now heading via Oak Howe Crags to Blea Tarn at the head of the valley.  Along the way look out for the distinctive arrowhead shape of Bow Fell and the ‘crinkles’ of Crinkle Crags to its left. On your return route you will pass the Old and New Dungeon Ghyll Hotels and the National Trust’s only pub, Sickle Barn, where you can stop for a well-deserved drink or bite to eat. The Cumbria Way will take you back down the valley towards Chapel Stile crossing the Great Langdale Beck over a footbridge then past Wainwright’s Inn back to Elterwater.

More detailed directions and other walks can be obtained from the Good Life Cottage Co. office in Elterwater.

The Original Cottages Team
The Original Cottages Team


Original Cottages - Truly local, wherever you stay.



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