Wordsworth House countryside walk

Walking trail

This scenic walk through the quiet countryside of the North Lakes starts from Wordsworth House in Cockermouth – birthplace and childhood home of the poet William Wordsworth.

Much of the route follows the Allerdale Ramble, taking in views of the fells and the hamlet of Isel with its 12th-century church, before returning across fields to the charming Georgian town of Cockermouth.

The 12th-century church in the hamlet of Isel, Cumbria


Map route for Wordsworth House countryside walk


Wordsworth House, grid ref: NY118307


From Wordsworth House, turn left along tree-lined Main Street. At the end, turn right onto Market Place and follow this road out of town. (If you would like to visit All Saints’ churchyard, where William’s father John is buried, you will need to make a short detour here, before starting the walk. As you join Market Place, turn right into Market Street and head uphill, passing the town hall on your right, and stroll through the atmospheric graveyard. The family attended an earlier version of the church, where William was baptised. Turn left when you emerge onto the historic Kirkgate to return to Market Place and, turning right, resume the walk route.)

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Shortly after passing Wyndham Hall caravan park, cross the road and go through the gate signed for Isel Bridge. Follow the grassy track up Watch Hill. This is the most strenuous part of the walk, so take as many rests as you need to enjoy the view.

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At the top, go through the gate into Hills Wood and keep to the left-hand track. Take care as it can be muddy after wet weather. Look out for deer flitting between the beech trees.


Follow the track down to the road and carry on. A little further on, take the left turn downhill to cross Isel Bridge over the Derwent, Wordsworth’s favourite river. It runs from Bassenthwaite Lake via Cockermouth to the sea at Workington. In his masterwork, The Prelude, Wordsworth calls the Derwent ‘the fairest of all rivers’, so this is a route he would have enjoyed. Go left at the fork. You will soon see a sign on the left for St Michael and All Angels’ Church, another excellent pausing point.

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After visiting the church, continue up the hill, passing Isel Hall. The road crosses a small bridge and winds up into woodland. Turn left into Gill Wood at the fingerpost for Redmain, taking care to avoid the brambles. At the path junction signposted Derwent Bank, carry on to cross a sleeper bridge, taking care again as this area can also be muddy.

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Cross a succession of fields and stiles, climbing slightly all the while. Look back into the valley to catch glimpses of the Derwent. The largest fell visible in the distance is Skiddaw, the Lake District’s fourth highest at 3,054 feet (931m).


A final stile takes you back onto the road. Turn left to pass through the pretty hamlet of Redmain. Turn left again at the sign for Redmain Lodge and follow the track through a gate to return to the fields.


Keeping the modest hump of Park Hill and the woods on your left, continue over several more stiles to the A595.


Turn left along the verge for ½ mile (0.8km) until, just beyond Wood Hall Farm, a fingerpost on the left points you back into the fields.


Head downhill over more stiles, pausing to admire the view of Cockermouth, until you rejoin the road on the northern edge of the town. Turn right to reach Wakefield Road car park, cross the footbridge and, at Main Street, go right again to return to your starting point.

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Wordsworth House, grid ref: NY118307

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Wordsworth House countryside walk


There’s a fairly strenuous uphill stretch on Watch Hill. Much of the walk follows grassy paths and quiet country roads. Sturdy boots are essential.

Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a lead as the route passes through grazing land.

Wordsworth House countryside walk

Contact us

Wordsworth House countryside walk

How to get here

Wordsworth House and Garden, Main Street, Cockermouth, Cumbria CA13 9RX
By train

Workington, 8 miles (12.8km); Maryport, 6.5 miles (10.5km).

By road

Off A66, on Cockermouth Main Street. (NB entrance on Main Street not side gate on Low Sand Lane). Postcode for Sat Nav: CA13 9RX.

By foot

Close to all town car parks and bus stop.

By bus

Stagecoach in Cumbria X4/5, Penrith station to Cockermouth via Keswick, and Workington to Cockermouth.

By bicycle

National Cycle Network route 71 (Coast 2 Coast) and NCN10 (Reivers) pass nearby.

Wordsworth House countryside walk

Facilities and access

  • Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a lead