Walking

Walking trail

Ash Landing and Claife Heights Windermere walk

Walking trail

This elevated walk alongside Lake Windermere's undeveloped western side features a dramatic viewing point at Low Blind How, where a gap in the wall leads to a crag that boasts stunning views of the lake, islands and the Troutbeck fells.

The view provides ample reward for the extra effort required to get here. Dropping back down to the lakeshore for an easy return route you can make a visit to Wray Castle if you have time.

Claife Viewing Station, Windermere west shore, Cumbria

Map

Map route for Ash Landing and Claife Heights Windermere walk

Start:

National Trust car park at Ash Landing, grid ref: SD388954

1

From the Ash Landing car park take the track with a low wooden barrier, leading uphill to the right at the back of the car park. Walk up the track and some stone steps. This leads to a junction with a tall beech tree in front of you and a ruined building (Claife Station) beyond. Turn left along the broad path, which veers right towards the building. Just before the building, turn left and continue uphill until you meet a junction. Turn right (signed to Hawkshead).

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2

When you reach a wicket gate at a junction with a walled bridleway, turn left (signed to Sawrey) through woodland and pasture. At the crossroads, take the right turn. Follow this, veering right at the top of the ridge.

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3

Skirting a marsh or pond (depending on the time of year) go through a gate, continuing with a wall on your right and a conifer plantation on your left until you reach a knoll. At the fork, ignore the left turn and carry on to a gate with a step stile. Cross the stile and continue. To your left is High Blind How.

4

Follow the path through the woodland and eventually bear left uphill, to the top of the ridge. Here you veer right, running parallel to the lake. (Look out for a path off to the right, which leads to a classic view over Windermere.) Continue on the broad path until you reach a junction signed Hawkshead to the left and Belle Grange straight ahead.

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5

Take the path straight ahead (following the signs for Belle Grange), following yellow arrows through woodland and bracken beds. Ignore the sharp turn to the right and keep straight on, keeping parallel with the lake. Eventually, you'll drop down and cross a stream. Just beyond this, the path meets a junction signed as a public bridleway.

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6

Turn left here (signed to Hawkshead). The track winds uphill at first, through larch woodland with Grange Beck on the right. After it passes a National Trust sign (to Claife Estate), it levels out. Ignore any side paths until the path crosses a much broader forest track, signed as a bridleway to High Wray.

7

At the crossroad, turn right. After about 300yd (275m) there's a path to the right, marked with a blue arrow. Follow this through woodland until the path meets a wall and a tall gate. Go through and walk through the conifer plantation, ignoring any side paths leading to the road. Eventually you'll go downhill to another gate. Go through and continue right through birch woodland. Go through another gate and past buildings on the right (National Trust Basecamp). Go straight ahead to join a bigger forest track, turn right and continue over the cattle grid and to the road junction at the bottom of the hill.

8

At the junction, turn right, walking along the road signed to Wray Castle and Ambleside, through the village of High Wray. Pass the village hall and after about 100yd (90m), where the road veers left, turn right and follow the footpath to the lake. After about 10yd (9m), go through the squeeze stile and little gate in the wall, walk down some steps and down the field, keeping the wall to your left. Go through another wicket gate and follow the field edge down to a step stile in front of a boathouse, on the lake shore.

9

Cross the stile onto the main lakeside path and turn right to start your return, (or left for the optional Wray Castle section, see Step 10 below). Follow the well-surfaced lakeshore trail, for approximately 3.5 miles (5.6km), passing through Red Nab car park on the way, past the Strawberry Gardens caravan site and back to the start point at Ash Landing car park.

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10

Optional extra stage - If you have more time you can turn left on the main lakeshore track and visit Wray Castle - a mock Gothic castle built in the 1840s. The castle is open from Easter to end of October every day and has a café and toilets for that well-deserved pit stop. Grounds are open all year. Turn left on the main track and after a short distance look out for a gate on the right with a well-surfaced path that will take you beside the lake and up to the castle in around 5-10 minutes. Retrace your steps back to the main lakeshore track mentioned in 9.

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End:

National Trust car park at Ash Landing, grid ref: SD388954

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Ash Landing and Claife Heights Windermere walk

Terrain

Particularly at the start there are some very steep slopes, but once on the Heights and on the lakeshore return it is generally flat; there are rough path surfaces in places on Claife Heights, and also some wet spots and tree roots.

Dogs are welcome on leads.

Ash Landing and Claife Heights Windermere walk

Contact us

Ash Landing and Claife Heights Windermere walk

How to get here

Address
Ash Landing, Windermere, Cumbria
By train

Windermere Station linked to Oxenholme Station on main west coast line. Bus connection to Bowness Bay, Stagecoach 505/506.

By road

M6 J36, A590 west then A591 to Plumgarths roundabout, B5284 to Bowness B5285, then Windermere car ferry. Or via Hawkshead B5285.

By ferry

Windermere car ferry operates all year (except in high winds). Cross Lakes Shuttle (Windermere Lake Cruises) from Bowness Bay Pier 3 (pedestrian and cyclist ferry, operates Easter to Oct).

By bus

Stagecoach in Cumbria 505/506, from Kendal to Bowness.

By bicycle

Kendal to Keswick cycle route passes through Windermere village, 5 miles (8km), visit National Cycle Network

Ash Landing and Claife Heights Windermere walk

Facilities and access

  • Toilets at Ferry Landing and at Wray Castle
  • Dogs are welcome on leads
  • Cafés at Claife Viewing Station and Wray Castle