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Fitness
Hiking trail

Patterdale to Ambleside

Hiking trail
Responsible for this content
Macs Adventure Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Grisdale Valley.
    / Grisdale Valley.
    Photo: Angus Smith, Macs Adventure
  • Ruthwaite Lodge Climbing Hut.
    / Ruthwaite Lodge Climbing Hut.
    Photo: Angus Smith, Macs Adventure
  • Grisdale Tarn.
    / Grisdale Tarn.
    Photo: Angus Smith, Macs Adventure
  • Tongue Gill.
    / Tongue Gill.
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • Dove cottage Grasmere.
    / Dove cottage Grasmere.
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • Rydal Falls.
    / Rydal Falls.
    Photo: Macs Adventure
  • / Rydal Water from the Coffin Route.
    Photo: Macs Adventure
0 200 400 600 m km 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18

A steady climb up to Grisdale Tarn, descending by Tongue Gill to Grasmere. Then a pleasant meander through fields and parkland into Ambleside.

moderate
18.9 km
5:30 h
522 m
605 m

From Patterdale you follow the Grisdale valley, with Helvellyn looming large on your right, up to the tarn above. At the summit cairn you descend by Tongue Gill down to the valley of the River Rothey, leading to the tourist honey pot of Grasmere. From here you follow in Wordsworth's footsteps above Rydal Water along the Coffin Route to finish in Ambleside.

Author’s recommendation

There is a real sense of achievement on the ascent into Grisdale, looking back from the corrie summit towards the tarn and the isolated and glaciated valley below. This is a marked contrast to the walk through Grasmere and Rydal which you will share with more people than you have probably seen on the walk all week!

Difficulty
moderate
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
421 m
Lowest point
52 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Safety information

Some of the sections in Grisdale are rocky and can be slippery in wet weather. A number of the streams seem to follow the path at times. Care is needed crossing the main roads, especially in the busy tourist area of Grasmere.

Equipment

Boots, waterproof clothing and extra layers are essential for the section over Grisdale. Walking poles may be preferred on the rocky paths and descents.

Tips, hints and links

There is a shop and post office in Patterdale for food & drink, but then nothing else until Grasmere, which has a wide choice of cafes, pubs, shops and restaurants. There is also a coffee shop at Rydal Hall en-route.

Points of Interest 

Wordsworth Museum & Dove Cottage.

Dove Cottage was Wordsworth's home from 1799-1808 and where he wrote much of his poetry. The Museum has one of the largest collections of manuscripts, books and paintings relating to British Romanticism.

 https://wordsworth.org.uk/visit.html

Rydal Hall.

Once the home of the Fleming family, the hall is now a conference and study centre.  Red Squirrels can be seen in the surroundings woods and the waterfalls were described by Wordsworth in some of his works.

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

Coffin Route & Resting Stone.

 The path used to carry the deceased of Rydal & Ambleside to St Oswald's Church in Grasmere. The Resting Stone can the found in the lane shortly after passing Dove Cottage.

http://www.gps-routes.co.uk/routes/home.nsf/RoutesLinksWalks/coffin-route-ambleside-to-grasmere-walking-route

 

Start

St Patrick's Church Patterdale. (148 m)
Coordinates:
Geographic
54.536859, -2.939787
UTM
30U 503895 6043257

Destination

Tourist Information Centre Ambleside.

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00km - Standing with your back to the main entrance of St Patrick's Church, TURN LEFT and walk along the main tarmac road past the Mountain Rescue Centre.

0.25km - At the red post box in the wall TURN LEFT up the tarmac lane signposted to Grisdale. Carry STRAIGHT ON for several kms with the river on your right as the tarmac changes to gravel and then a stoney path.

4.60km - Crossing a wooden footbridge go STRAIGHT ON up the path. Do not cross a second footbridge, but keep the river to your right.

5.00km - At Ruthwaite Hut BEAR LEFT and past a pile of stones, (cairn) following the path for another 1.5kms. Aim for the left side of the tarn, crossing over a stream by stepping stones. Continue on the path up to the summit cairn. ( Do not rely on the hut to provide shelter in bad weather as it is generally locked).

7.10km - From the cairn descend STRAIGHT ON into the the V shaped valley below with the stream on your right. This is a prominent path easily seen from above.

9.40km - By a stone wall BEAR RIGHT on the lower path, down to the stream and cross the footbridge and then BEAR LEFT over the ford. Follow the bridleway all the way down to the main road.

10.50km - Cross the main road and stone bridge then BEAR LEFT following the lane all the way to another junction. TURN LEFT and over another bridge and join the gravel footpath signposted Grasmere. Carry on the footpath eventually emerging out of the park gates down the lane to Grasmere.

12.30km - At the crossroads go STRAIGHT ON passing the church and car park, remaining on Stocks Road until the roundabout.

13.40km - At the roundabout BEAR RIGHT and into the tarmac lane, passing the Wordsworth Museum and Dove Cottage. Continue STRAIGHT ON up the lane to How Top Cottage.

13.80km - On the bend, BEAR LEFT up the hill and follow the signs for the Coffin Route to Rydal. Remain on the higher path for some distance (approximately 2.5kms), until a junction at a lane.

16.20km - At the lane, TURN RIGHT onto the concrete surface then TURN LEFT at the footpath sign for Ambleside.  Passing through the grounds of Rydal Hall BEAR RIGHT past the tea room and over the bridge and continue STRAIGHT ON to reach the main road. TURN LEFT and follow the pavement for approximately 2.5kms into Ambleside.

18.90km - Arriving at the Tourist Information Centre you have reached the end of the walk.

Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


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Photos of others


Difficulty
moderate
Distance
18.9 km
Duration
5:30 h
Ascent
522 m
Descent
605 m
In and out Scenic With refreshment stops Cultural/historical value Geological highlights

Statistics

: h
 km
 m
 m
Highest point
 m
Lowest point
 m
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