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Windermere West Shore in the Winter
Windermere West Shore in the Winter | © Claife File
Lake District

Ash Landing and Claife Heights Windermere walk

This elevated walk alongside 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 affords sweeping views of the lake, islands and the Troutbeck fells.

Visit Wray Castle

If you have time, a quick detour towards the end of the trail will take you to Wray Castle, a mock Gothic fortress built in the 1840s

Total steps: 10

Total steps: 10

Start point

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

Step 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).

Woman taking a picture on her phone while standing on viewing platform set within stone castle-like structure
Taking pictures at Claife Viewing Station, Lake District | © National Trust Images/Andy Wills

Step 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.

Step 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.

Step 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 (looking 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.

Step 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.

Step 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.

Step 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.

Step 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.

Step 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.

Step 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 fortress built in the 1840s. The castle has a café and toilets for that well-deserved pit stop, and is open on selected days between Easter and October. The grounds and café are open all year round. The 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 Step 9.

The castle lit by dramatic autumn light with autumn trees in front of it and autumn leaves on the ground
Visitors at Wray Castle, Lake District | © National Trust Images/Steven Barber

End point

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

Trail map

Ash Landing and Claife Heights Windermere, Lake District trail map
Ash Landing and Claife Heights Windermere trail | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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Windermere West Shore in the Winter

Windermere west shore walk 

Enjoy a relaxing lakeshore walk through woodland and parkland on this linear trail, taking in views of the islands of Windermere and the Victorian Gothic Wray Castle

DistanceMiles: 4 (km: 6.4) to miles: 8 (km: 12.8)

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Beside the Ferry on Windermere's west shore, near Far Sawrey, Hawkshead, Cumbria

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We’ve partnered with Cotswold Outdoor to help everyone make the most of their time outdoors in the places we care for.

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