Bowder Stone National Trust Car Park Borrowdale

Family climb up new metal steps on the very large house sized boulder called the Bowder Stone

A large car park (approximately 60 spaces) with an access-for-all footpath to the quirky Bowder Stone, and a short stroll down to the river Derwent, good for wildlife watching.

How to get here

  • Post Code: CA12 5XA (please note that in rural locations post codes often cover a wide area - so don't believe the SatNav, look for the signs!)
  • Grid ref: NY253168
  • Find us on Google Maps

Bowder Stone car park is 4¾ miles (7.5km) outside Keswick on the Borrowdale Road, B5289. Drive out of Keswick beyond the lake. The entrance to the car park is one mile past the bridge to the hamlet of Grange, on the left hand side of the road, marked by a roadside sign.

Car parking charges for Borrowdale

How much does it cost to park?

National Trust members can scan to park for free, but if you’re not a member don't forget some change as due to our rural location there is very limited mobile signal which means we can't take card or phone payment at all our car parks. Every penny directly funds our work in the valley to care for wildlife, walls, paths, cottages and farms.

See a Georgian tourist attraction

The Bowder Stone is right in the 'Jaws of Borrowdale' - the narrow point where the road winds beneath overhanging crags. This house-sized boulder has come to rest improbably on one edge and has been the quirkiest tourist attraction in the lakes since Georgian times as you can climb up its ladder.

The Bowder Stone

The Bowder Stone 

A short stroll to an immense boulder with a quirky story

A short, easy stroll away

Exit the car park via the steps near the ticket machine for the half mile wheelchair-accessible track to the Bowder Stone (there are 3 disabled parking spaces at the bottom of the steps beside the bus stop). The Bowder Stone is an easy 15 minute walk along wide undulating paths and is the Lake District National Park’s Miles Without Stiles route number 35.

A wildlife walk down to the river

Once you’ve been to the Bowder Stone and you’ve returned to the bus stop, there’s a second short stroll you can do, by crossing the road and following the waymarked trail down to a peaceful bench beside the river. Please keep dogs on leads as this can be a good place to spot otters, dippers and kingfishers. Take a thermos with you and soak in the tranquillity

Trees over hanging the River Derwent in Borrowdale

The River Derwent, Cumbria 

The River Derwent is part of a £10 million project to bring UK rivers back to life - the Riverlands project. This is the most ambitious waterways restoration project in our history.

Start your walk to Castle Crag here

Bowder Stone car park is also the starting point for our free downloadable walk to the dramatic and historic viewpoint of Castle Crag. It’s a moderate walk that’s 4miles long. Allow 3-4 hours for parking depending on how fast you climb hills!

Cairn on Castle Crag overlooking Upper Borrowdale, Cumbria.
Walking trail

Borger Dalr geology walk, Borrowdale, Cumbria 

Explore the origins of Borrowdale as you walk from Bowder Stone car park to Castle Crag, an area that has been described as ‘the finest square-mile in Lakeland’.


Spot a red squirrel

A walk through Bowder Stone woods is one of the best places for spotting a red squirrel in Borrowdale.

Parking here can boost our conservation work and help us keep the red squirrel alive in the lakes. Whether you are a member who scans your card (we get £1 from central funds every time you do) or a non-member who pays for a ticket, every penny you generate in this car park goes to help us take care of this special place, so thank you.

Red Squirrel in woodland

Find out how we're protecting our red squirrels 

Red squirrels are in decline in the UK due to the proliferation of grey squirrels and the spread of squirrel pox. Find out how we're helping red squirrels thrive.