Buttermere to Rannerdale walk

Walking trail

This exhilarating Lakeland ridge walk climbs from the Buttermere Valley up to the summit of Rannerdale Knotts.

Enjoy the view into the secret valley from the summit

Though it’s one of the smaller and more rounded Cumbrian fells, our route gives stunning views over three lakes and many high peaks. It returns via the shoreline of Crummock Water and Nether How woodland to the pretty little village of Buttermere.

Buttermere Valley, Cumbria


Map route for Buttermere to Rannerdale walk


National Trust car park, grid ref: NY172172


From the starting point at the National Trust car park in Buttermere walk straight across the road to a stile. Cross the stile and follow a narrow grassy track until the path begins to get steeper.

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As the path steepens, take the left-hand track leading towards the ridge of Rannerdale Knotts. This is a good point to pause and enjoy the view over to Buttermere lake and the surrounding hills, such as High Snockrigg in the east.

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Follow a gentle incline along the ridge to the summit, offering another superb panorama of both Rannerdale (or the secret valley) and Crummock Water. Soon you reach the highest point cairn (we'd appreciate it if you didn't add stones to the cairn, paths need stones much more than cairns do!).

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From the summit, follow the narrow, winding, grassy track to your left downhill towards Crummock Water. The track leads you to a very steep, stone-pitched section. This area can become slippery during wet weather, so take care. When you leave the pitched section follow the track further downhill until it branches left and gently descends towards a road. Cross the road and go through a gate leading to the lakeshore. Walk alongside the lakeshore until you see a gate to your left leading into Nether How woods.

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Go through the gate and follow the path through the wood. The path briefly leads to the lakeshore again before re-entering the wood. Take a path to your left leading through Nether How wood to a footbridge.

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Cross the bridge and follow the path to the right, through the woods until you return to your start point.

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National Trust car park, grid ref: NY172172

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Buttermere to Rannerdale walk


Fairly strenuous route in all weathers; sturdy boots and clothing essential. Mostly on grassy paths, with a steep, stone-pitched descent of Rannerdale Knotts.

Dogs are welcome but please keep them on leads.


Buttermere to Rannerdale walk

Contact us

Buttermere to Rannerdale walk

How to get here

Buttermere, nr Cockermouth, CA13 9UZ
By road

From Keswick by either Newlands pass or Honister pass, from Cockermouth by B5289 via Lorton.

By bus

Service 77 and 77a, Keswick to Buttermere; service 263, Cockermouth to Buttermere. Request stop National Trust car park, then short walk along quiet road to start of walk.

By bicycle

On-road National Cycle Network Route 71, 3 miles (5km) from Buttermere village via B5289.

Buttermere to Rannerdale walk

Facilities and access

  • Toilets, pubs and café available in Buttermere village
  • Dogs are welcome but please keep them on leads