Hawkshead to Hill Top Walk

View of Esthwaite Water with barn and boat house
Published : 16 Oct 2017 Last update : 19 Jul 2021

Discover the path between Hawkshead and Near Sawrey, giving visitors and locals the opportunity to explore the area on foot or bike, just as Beatrix Potter would have done.

Please be aware some parts of the route are on the main road, so for this reason the path may not be suitable for all users. 

Take a new path

A section of bridleway has been built to provide an alternative route between Hawkshead and Near Sawrey  where walkers and cyclists have the chance to experience beautiful views across Esthwaite Water and over to the Coniston Fells.

Partnership project

The Claife Community Bridleway has been six years in the making, and was called for by residents on safety grounds in their community led plan. The project has been funded collectively by the National Trust, South Lakeland District Council, Claife Parish Council and the Lake District National Park Authority. The track is the last link in a network of paths which connects Wray Castle with Hawkshead.

This new section of bridleway takes walkers and cyclists through the countryside which inspired Beatrix Potter
Users on the off road footpath from Hawkshead to Hill Top
This new section of bridleway takes walkers and cyclists through the countryside which inspired Beatrix Potter
" We’re really happy with the new path, which gets people off most of the road . We hope it will encourage walkers and cyclists to enjoy this scenic route between the village of Hawkshead and Hill Top in Near Sawrey; a landscape which inspired Beatrix Potter herself. A massive thanks to our team, the contractors and everyone who helped make it happen."
- John Moffat, General Manager for the National Trust in the South Lakes

Leave the car behind 

The path supports sustainable transport as it allows for travel whilst leaving the car at home. Until recently it was difficult to walk or cycle this route; now the villages of Far Sawrey, Near Sawrey and Hawkshead are connected through an extensive network, which is accessible all year round. 

Please be aware that not all of the route is off-road, so it may not be suitable for all users, for example small children or wheelchair users. 

" We are delighted to see this new bridlepath open for use. It has been a fantastic project working with Claife Parish Council and the National Trust to help them deliver a new safe off-road route. "
- Sara Spicer, Lake District National Park Area Ranger

Claife Parish Council has hailed the opening of the path and has appealed to landowners who chose not to let it cross their land, to think again, so that it can be fully completed.

Claife Parish Councillor, Anne Brodie, said: “70% of residents, who answered the CLP questionnaire, said a path to Hawkshead was a priority for safety reasons. We hope that now they can see how the path benefits everyone, reluctant landowners will change their minds and let us finish the job.”

" The fenced path makes the road along Esthwaite Water safer for everyone – motorists included. And it opens up some lovely views of Esthwaite Water and the fells."
- Anne Brodie, Claife Parish Councillor

Connecting special places

This route is the final link in a chain that connects a number of National Trust places in the south Lakes. This means visitors can now walk for miles mostly off-road starting from Wray Castle, Ambleside, then heading south towards Claife Viewing Station on Windermere’s west shore; along to Hill Top in Near Sawrey; finishing in Hawkshead village with the Beatrix Potter Gallery.