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Fitness
Hiking trail

Derwentwater and Walla Crag Circuit

Hiking trail · Allerdale
Responsible for this content
Macs Adventure Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Aerial views of Keswick
    / Aerial views of Keswick
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Sign for Walla Crag
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Derwent Water from Walla Crag
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / The descent track from Walla Crag
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Ashness Bridge
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Walkers on the shore of Derwent Water
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Ferry launches near Keswick
    Photo: Macs Adventure
m 500 400 300 200 100 10 8 6 4 2 km

This walk makes a great finish to your tour in the Lake District; Very impressive views at the top of Walla Crag, pass the torrents of Ashford Gill and follow trails through woodland and a memorial to John Ruskin.

moderate
10.8 km
2:45 h
368 m
397 m

Following a fairly steep climb up to the heather clad summit of Walla Crag you are rewarded with one of the finest views in all of Lakeland. The sparkling surface of Derwent Water below and the Skiddaw range rising behind Keswick are sights to behold!  Walking onward you skirt the Cat Gill ravine before descending to reach Ashness Bridge fording the torrents of Ashness Gill. This much admired and photographed single arched bridge is a reminder of once busy packhorse routes across the Fells.

The Lakeshore path back to Keswick is a delightful hike through woodland and along wide bays. At the rocky outcrop of Friar’s Crag you will find a memorial to John Ruskin who thought the views some of the finest in all Europe.

Author’s recommendation

Take a left at Ashness Bridge to find what the locals claim to be the best view around the entire lake, Surprise Lookout.

Difficulty
moderate
Technique
Highest point
381 m
Lowest point
65 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Safety information

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.

Tips, hints and links

Food & Drink

Cafes and food stores for supplies in Keswick, plus one small farmshop/cafe 2km into the route.

 

Points of interest

Moot Hall

The centre of Keswick and now the Tourist Information Centre

http://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/visiting/placestogo/explorederwentwater/uniquelyderwentwater/moothall

Walla Crag and Lady's Rake  

A range of accessible crags with views over Derwentwater and the surrounding peaks.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walla_Crag

Ashness Bridge  

The most photographed bridge in the Lake District

Theatre on the Lake  

Live theatre, exhibitions and a cafe.

https://www.theatrebythelake.com/

Derwentwater Launches  

Ferry drop off points all over the lake.

https://keswick-launch.co.uk/

 

Start

Centre of Keswick (114 m)
Coordinates:
DD
54.600594, -3.136971
DMS
54°36'02.1"N 3°08'13.1"W
UTM
30U 491151 6050356
w3w 
///stencil.took.giants

Destination

Centre of Keswick

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00 km - With your back to entrance of Tourist Information Office go STRAIGHT ON up the pedestrianised area, keeping to the LEFT. In 50m continue STRAIGHT ON along St. Johns Street passing the cinema and church to reach Springs Road.

0.65 km - TURN RIGHT to follow Springs Road to the end.

1.30 km - BEAR LEFT after the bridge and the house on your left (signposted Castlerigg) through the gate (with the yellow arrow on it) and up through Springs Wood.

1.60 km - TURN RIGHT just before footbridge at signpost to Walla Crag. Go uphill past the radio mast and ignore path to right to Borrowdale. Continue STRAIGHT ON uphill to cross the footbridge left to reach a minor road.

2.20 km - TURN RIGHT. In 100m BEAR RIGHT (signposted Walla Crag). In a further 100m TURN RIGHT over the footbridge and take the path close to the wall (signposted Walla Crag). Now stay on the path close to the wall which is on your right as you go uphill to reach a gate in the wall.

3.20 km – TURN RIGHT through the gate then follow this path to the summit of Walla Crag. Wonderful views of Keswick and Derwentwater. Be careful as the track is quite narrow in places!

3.60 km – From the summit of Walla Crag continue following the track inland towards the stone wall.

3.70 km – Cross the wooden stile and TURN RIGHT then BEAR LEFT away from wall on a well used path. The path goes around the head of a steep valley with two or three streams draining to your right into Derwentwater (do not bear left uphill). Now follow path gently downhill with Derwentwater on your right below. (There is an upper and lower path, the upper gives better views but both end at Ashness Bridge). You reach a gate in a wall.

5.30 km - Go STRAIGHT AHEAD through the gate for 200m. Just before the footbridge over a river TURN RIGHT down a path, over a stile to Ashness Bridge.

5.70 km - TURN RIGHT and walk down the road to the main road junction at the edge of the lake.

(Our friendly B&B owner later advised us that at this point you can turn left and walk approx. 150m uphill, following the road, to an even better viewpoint than any you’ve already passed by. Hard to believe but true! Unfortunately this wasn’t tracked on the map at the time. Once you’ve visited the view point just retrace your steps back to the bridge.)

6.40 km - CROSS ROAD and down steps to the lake shore. TURN RIGHT and either follow the shady lakeside path or, highly recommended, the lake shore itself to reach white cottages.

8.20 km - TURN RIGHT and away from the lake and LEFT past the cottages to reach a gate on your left.

8.50 km - TURN LEFT through the gate, following the sign for Keswick. The path goes through trees to reach a parkland area again beside the lake. Follow this path, which reaches the landing stages, then walk up the road beside the Theatre.

9.90 km – TURN LEFT to walk through Hope Park.

10.20 km – BEAR RIGHT on the path to follow the sign for Town Centre as you cross underneath the road.

10.40 km – TURN LEFT at the Wainwright Pub then follow this street back to Moot Hall.

10.50 km – Finish your walk here opposite Moot Hall.

Note


all notes on protected areas

Coordinates

DD
54.600594, -3.136971
DMS
54°36'02.1"N 3°08'13.1"W
UTM
30U 491151 6050356
w3w 
///stencil.took.giants
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Equipment

Along with your usual gear for a day out in the hills remember to pack a wind/waterproof and an extra layer. The weather can change fairly quickly up on the peaks.


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Difficulty
moderate
Distance
10.8 km
Duration
2:45h
Ascent
368 m
Descent
397 m
Loop Scenic Cultural/historical value Geological highlights Healthy climate

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