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Beatrix Potter Walk to Wray Castle and Hill Top

Hiking trail
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  • Wray Castle
    / Wray Castle
    Photo: Laura Paterson, Macs Adventure Ltd
  • / Moss Eccles Tarn
    Photo: Laura Paterson, Macs Adventure Ltd
  • / High Wray Bay
    Photo: Laura Paterson, Macs Adventure Ltd
m 200 150 100 50 12 10 8 6 4 2 km Claife Viewing Station Moss Eccles Tarn The Flying Pig Wray Castle Cuckoo Brow Inn Hill Top The Magic Roundabout High Wray Bay
A gentle walk along the shores of Lake Windermere before heading inland to Hill Top Farm. 
easy
Distance 14 km
4:00 h
209 m
222 m

Walk in the footsteps of Beatrix Potter today as you follow trails through landscapes which inspired her writing and visit famous sights associated with the famous author. Start by jumping on one of the iconic Windermere ferries across Lake Windermere to Wray Castle. From here, follow easy paths and tracks by the quiet western shore of the lake before heading slightly inland to visit Hill Top, the former home of Beatrix Potter, which she bought with her royalties from the sale of The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

Visit Moss Eccles Tarn, one of Potter's favourite places for painting, and then continue to Ferry House, where you catch a ferry back over to the other side of the lake. Perhaps enjoy a quick ice cream in Bowness-on-Windermere, before catching the local bus down to Ambleside. 

 

Author’s recommendation

You will finish in Bowness-on-Windermere today, after taking the ferry over from Ferry House. Enjoy dinner here before taking a local bus or taxi back to Ambleside for a change of scenery!

This day involves taking two of the Windermere Ferries. The first is from Ambleside to Wray Castle at the start of the day, and the second is from Ferry House to Bowness-on-Windermere at the end of the day. You can buy a walkers ticket which is valid for both of these ferries. Timetables can be viewed here - https://www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk/cruises-fares/walkers-ticket.

If for any reason, the ferries are not running it is possible to phone a local taxi - contact Hilltop Taxis on 07979 664472.

Profile picture of Laura Paterson
Author
Laura Paterson
Updated: April 22, 2021
Difficulty
easy
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
166 m
Lowest point
41 m

Rest Stop

Cuckoo Brow Inn
The Flying Pig
The Magic Roundabout

Safety information

Route

Check the weather forecast before setting out and listen to advice locals may offer you. When the route follows a road with no footpath remember to walk on the right hand side so you are facing any oncoming traffic.

Map

If you wish to carry a hardcopy map, we would recommend buying the OS Explorer Map OL7 - The English Lakes Southeastern Area. Alternatively, you may wish to print the daily maps directly from our app. 

Tips and hints

Food & Drink

Pubs and cafes at Ambleside, Near Sawrey and Bowness-on-Windermere, as well as a takeaway cafe at Hill Top Farm.

 

Points of interest

Please see the interactive map for notable points of interest along the walk, including recommended pubs/restaurants and tearoom stops.  Simply click the icons on the map for more information as you walk. 

 

Wray Castle

An amazing Gothic castle on the shores of Lake Windermere with turrets, towers and attractive grounds to wander around. One of the founders of the National Trust was the vicar of Wray Church, within the Wray Castle Estate and also a mentor of Beatrix Potter.

High Wray Bay

A perfect spot for a picnic, this secluded bay is a great place to stop and watch the world go by!

Claife Viewing Station

An amazing viewing platform with panoramic views of Lake Windermere, which was built in 1790 as the original monument to Lake District tourism. The building originally had windows built into it with coloured glass, and today you can use glass slides on the tower to imagine the views tourists used to have. 

Hill Top

The former home of Beatrix Potter, which she bought with her royalties from the sale of The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Discover the pretty 17th century farmhouse which is a time capsule of her life, with every room containing a reference to a picture in one of her tales. We recommend booking tickets in advance if you wish to visit as it is very popular! 

Moss Eccles Tarn

This pretty little tarn was a favourite place of Beatrix Potter, who used to come here to paint, while her husband went fishing. It's a gentle walk up from Hill Top and gives you even more of an insight into the life of Beatrix Potter. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Start

Wray Castle (53 m)
Coordinates:
OS Grid
NY 37568 01235
DD
54.402739, -2.963236
DMS
54°24'09.9"N 2°57'47.6"W
UTM
30U 502386 6028332
w3w 
///inversion.notes.hydration

Destination

Ferry House

Turn-by-turn directions

*** To help you follow the route with confidence we have provided a general overview below of the walking route from Wray Castle to Ferry House to keep you on track. This walk is navigationally straightforward, however, please ensure that you follow the GPS tracks in the Macs Adventure smartphone app to ensure you have a safe, enjoyable and problem-free day.  The daily maps can also be printed from the web version of the app should you wish to take paper copies with you. ***

 

Stage 1 (Wray Castle to Claife Viewing Station) - 0.0 to 6.8km: When you get off the ferry, you turn left to follow the lake shore path. But if you wish to visit the castle first of all it's just a few minutes de-tour on the path leading away from the lake. Returning to where you got off the ferry, follow the lakeside path past the black painted wooden boathouse and through quiet woodland. Reaching the end of the wood, pass through a gate to a field and follow it down to the lakeshore. Make your way around High Wray Bay, and continue to follow the lakeshore path, which eventually meets an unsurfaced road, passing through the Red Nab Car Park, to then pass Bark Barn on your left and Belle Grange Cottage on your right. Continue past Strawberry Gardens Campsite and the National Trust Harrowslack Car Park until just before the junction with the main road, looking out for signs to Claife Viewing Station on the left. 

Stage 2 (Claife Viewing Station to Moss Eccles Tarn) - 6.8 to 9.6km : From the viewing station, turn left down the steps to reach Ash Landing and carry on through the car park. Follow the path upwards and straight on until you meet the road. Cross over the road and then continue on the path until you meet the road again. From the Far Sawrey sign, walk up the road for another 150m until you reach a path again on your right. Turn right up this path, and follow it until you reach the road by the hotel in Far Sawrey. Continue through the village, passing the Cuckoo Brown Inn, until you reach Cuckoo Brow Lane on the right, and turn right. Continue to follow this lane all the way to Moss Eccles Tarn.

Stage 3 (Moss Eccles Tarn to Hill Top) - 9.6 to 11.0km: Retrace your steps from Moss Eccles Tarn until you reach the fork where Cuckoo Brown Lane and Stones Lane meet. Turn right down Stones Lane and follow this to meet the main road through Near Sawrey. Turn left to get to Hill Top Farm. 

Stage 4 (Hill Top to Ferry House) - 11.0 to 14.0km: From Hill Top, look for the foothpath 100 metres on the right, signed to Ferry via Far Sawrey. After a short distance on this path,  ignore the path on the left back to the road and continue on the path with a small stream on your left. When you reach the cottages with St Peter’s Church straight ahead turn left on the road and carry on past the farm buildings and  right up the hill to join the main road opposite the hotel in Far Sawrey. From here simply re-trace your footsteps from earlier to Ferry House, where you will catch the ferry back to Bowness-on-Windermere. 

After enjoying some dinner or an ice-cream in Bowness, take one of regular local buses back to Ambleside. You can view the timetables here - https://www.stagecoachbus.com/timetables

 

 

  

 

Note


all notes on protected areas

Coordinates

OS Grid
NY 37568 01235
DD
54.402739, -2.963236
DMS
54°24'09.9"N 2°57'47.6"W
UTM
30U 502386 6028332
w3w 
///inversion.notes.hydration
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Equipment

Sturdy hiking boots, warm clothes, and a waterproof/wind-break layer are all required. The weather can change quickly in the Lake District so be sure to take all equipment even if the weather looks okay. Walking poles will be a big advantage on some of these ascents and descents.

Ensure your phone is fully charged; if you doubt the battery will last throughout the hike, it might be beneficial to bring a power bank.

Please  ensure you have plenty of water and emergency food (energy bars/trail mix) with you at all times. Please also ensure you check in advance of  Pubs/cafes and shops opening hours on the day you are due to walk, in the Lake District opening hours are varied and they can be closed on certain days of the week (walking post-Covid19 lockdown restrictions means their opening hours could be even more erratic, so please check to avoid disappointment).


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Difficulty
easy
Distance
14 km
Duration
4:00 h
Ascent
209 m
Descent
222 m

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