Up till now it can only have been described as a rather wet miserable winter. Nothing like the last few years where we have had a really good amount of snow. However things changed earlier this week and I was able to get out and about around Rydal and Grasmere.
The cloud was right down and it was debatable whether it would be brighter higher up but it was nice to get out without being rained on!.
A watery sunshine was trying to break through the mist.
I decided to wander up by Rydal caves and then decide which direction to continue in.
Gradually I was getting above the low cloud and arrived at a snowy Rydal caves.
Hardly a soul about. Crisp snow not too trampled yet.
Just a couple of folk on the horizon, and now well above the clouds.
Time to head back down to Grasmere.
It looked very cold down in the valley, it’s amazing how it can vary from one vale to the next.
It was starting to look very grey in the direction of Dunmail Raise. Allan Bank standing out across the lake.
The best part of the day had been and gone and it was getting very chilly. Time to head home for a warm drink.
This walk was earlier in the week and the snow has lain on the hills. It was forecast that we were going to have huge amounts of snow over night last night, however we seem to have escaped the worst and the heavy snow has been centred on Wales, Bristol and the South. It is just very, very cold and now icy underfoot. More snow forecast for the weekend. Watch this space….
Was in two minds to call this “A view with a seat” or “A seat with a view” for reasons that will become clear once we start on our walk.
This is what I call my early morning walk. In the Summer when the visitors are here, this is the perfect start to the day. Get up early and you won’t see a soul.
It is also the walk from Grasmere that gives a lot with not a lot of effort. The other obvious attraction is that every so often you will find a well placed seat. This makes it an ideal walk in my book. Time to stop and take in the view should never be over estimated. It’s not a race. Relax and enjoy.
So to start this walk we head through Townend Grasmere, past Dove Cottage Wordsworth’s former home. Arriving at what is called the duck pond, but sometimes is no more than a puddle, continue up hill to the left. The path to the right will take you on to the coffin route to Rydal. Another popular local walk. You will arrive at the gate to National Trust land, Brackenfell.
Continue on through wooded land and you will arrive at your next direction marker. Just in case there is any doubt, someone has written on it in pen.
Round the corner is a lovely little pool. I have been told this is where the packhorses stopped to drink.
Carrying on up hill you really start beginning to see some fantastic views. Helm Crag can be seen across the valley.
Just when you are tiring after a bit of an uphill stretch. Guess what? Yes it’s another bench.
Grasmere Village is set in a natural amphitheatre. From here we can see across to another of the most popular walks the Easdale Valley and Easdale Tarn.
And looking to the left Grasmere Lake has now come into view too.
Not far now. But what’s this? Yes my favourite seat of all.
Cresting the top of the hill after going through a cutting in the wall, Alcock Tarn appears before you.
It was originally a natural tarn and called Butter Crags Tarn. In the late 19th century Mr Alcock who lived in the Hollins further down the hill enlarged and damned the tarn to create a trout lake. Hollins is now the regional office for National Trust.
This photograph shows Loughrigg Fell from Alcock Tarn with Windermere in the distance. You can also see Coniston Water from here too. You are about 1,000 feet above Grasmere at this point.
Walking past Alcock Tarn you reach another little tarn with Butter Crag to your right. Just as you start to head downhill you get a fantastic view of Greenhead Gill with Stone Arthur to the left.
The path downhill becomes quite clear now, and it’s an easy walk down off the fell.
As you get a bit lower you will be able to see part of the pipe route carrying water to Manchester on your right.
Well that’s us at the last “seat with a view” of the walk. Just a short stroll down the left side of the stream. Don’t worry you don’t need to negotiate the stepping stones there is a little bridge at the end.
Carry on across the bridge and down the lane which will bring you out at the main A591 and the Swan Hotel
Now that’s another reason this is such a perfect walk. It literally takes you from one end of Grasmere to the other. At just over 3 miles, this is the walk I would suggest to anyone with limited time in the Lake District to get a lot of view for not too much effort, and don’t forget all these rest stops!.
A busy day, but still a beautiful evening despite light fading fast. Ok it’s a bit of a cheat but a quick drive up Red Bank road from Grasmere towards Elterwater takes you to a very conveniently placed pull in just before High Close YHA.
From there it’s just a quick walk across Loughrigg Fell to get some great views of Grasmere. Sometimes it’s nice just to get out for half an hour of fresh air.
The sun was setting and some of the Vale of Grasmere was already in darkness, other bits of the fell highlighted by the last rays of the sun. As I was walking along I was reminded of a couple I met who had been visiting during the Foot and Mouth crisis of 2001. The village was more or less deserted, no one was travelling to the countryside, and if they were then the fells were out of bounds.
I had asked them how they were enjoying their holiday, expecting the usual complaint about not being able to go out walking. To my surprise they said they were having the best time ever!. When I spoke to them further they said that every time they visited the Lake District they felt guilty if they didn’t go out walking every day. On this visit they couldn’t so were having a lovely time just pottering about the villages, stopping for a cup of tea and taking in the views around them.
In a way it’s a bit like that when you live here. You feel you really should get out in the evening and make the most of the day. It took me a long time to realise that you don’t have to plan a major expedition to make the most of where you live. There is nothing wrong with “cheating” a bit and driving somewhere and just having a short walk.
Taking half an hour out just to sit with a flask of coffee and watch the sun go down is good for the soul. Major walks can wait for another day.
We live in a beautiful part of the country, the main thing is to appreciate it!
At last the clocks have changed and the nights will be getting lighter. Summer is on it’s way and the signs are all around in Grasmere.
When I looked out at the Sports Field the other day I had seen crowds of people hanging over the wall looking at something. Curiosity got the better of me so I went to investigate what this new spectator sport could be.
Well Grasmere Sports might draw the crowds every year but the sight of lambs being born on the field was coming a close second!
Young and old were standing patiently watching the arrival of lambs right there in front of them, and I make no apologies for the number of lamb photos as they were just so cute.
The sun was shining too, which was a welcome sight after the long winter.
The National Trust Regional Headquarters are based in Grasmere and I had to make a visit there, so decided to carry on and come back round by the path that runs from just opposite, across the field and back into Grasmere.
Everything was waking from the long Winter, the birds sounded happy and splashes of colour were appearing.
When I came to the Millennium Bridge I decided to go round by Grasmere Daffodil Garden to see how the Daffs were progressing. Perfect timing!
The daffodils were in full bloom and I noticed some new slabs had been laid on the path, so I went to take a look as several people had asked me to let them know when theirs were laid.
I had also seen another sign of Spring on my walk, some more new arrivals will be coming soon.
Hard to believe this will produce frogs swimming about, but strangely fascinating!
Just time to give William Wordsworth a nod on the way past, and nice to see he had his own Daffodils to enjoy.
Grasmere is perfect at any time of year but Spring has to be one of the best times to visit as the village awakes for the tourist season about to begin. Ok you know i’m going to do it! One last lamb photo.
This is a nice little circular walk round the village and takes you away from the traffic heading through the village. Suitable for wheelchairs and prams too, although it can get a bit muddy after heavy rain. It can be accessed from various places in the village.
I started at the Stock Lane car park and walked along Stock Lane into the village past the village school, there used to be access through the school yard but this has been stopped as it wasn’t great when the children were out playing having random walkers crossing the playground. You can still connect to it this way at School holidays and weekends. Handy to know you can also park in the school yard during these times for a small donation through the school letter box for school funds.
Crossing the river at church bridge you come to St. Oswalds church.
Dedicated to St Oswald, a 7th Century king of Northumbria. The oldest parts of the present church date back to Medieval times. Take the path through the churchyard which comes out at the Grasmere Gingerbread shop.
The aroma will reach you before you get there. Hard to believe this tiny building was once the village school. You can also take a slight detour to your right to the Grasmere Daffodil Garden. Across from the gingerbread shop is Church Stile.
A row of 17th century cottages which house the Storytellers Garden. Always worth a visit if Taffy Thomas Storyteller Laureate is at home.
You can go down to the right of the gingerbread shop beside the Wordsworth Hotel to join the riverside walk but we are carrying on through the village. Keep straight on and walk up College Street. On your right is the village green with Heaton Cooper Art Studios in front of you.
Sam Read’s bookshop is to your left. Grasmere has a wonderful selection of independent and individual shops you won’t find anywhere else.
Turn left at Sam Read’s and you are now on Broadgate. The whitewashed cottage across the open field to your left is a listed building called Dockwray. Dorothy Wordsworth recorded in her Grasmere Journal a visit to the cottage on May 28th 1800 to see her friend Jenny Dockewray.
Walk along Broadgate until you reach the village Hall just beyond the row of shops. This is where the annual Lakes Artists Exhibition takes place in the summer. Turn down the side signposted car park while looking to your left over Broadgate meadow. You will see Grasmere’s war memorial located on a grassy bank. Close by is the “Peace oak” planted by Canon Rawnsley founder of the National Trust. It was planted on the 19th July 1919 to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the start of the Great War.
At the far side of the car park is a footbridge over the River Rothay, this is where we are going. From here there are great views of the Fells to the East especially Stone Arthur, with it’s rocky summit, and Heron Pike the fell further to the right. The rest of the walk is along the riverside back in the direction we started from. There are several good opportunities to take photos along the way.
You can cut up to the main road at one point or head across the fields to the Swan Hotel. In the summer months red campion flowers along the riverbank, and if you are very lucky you may see a flash of blue as a Kingfisher darts by.
After crossing a wooden bridge, carry on until you come to a metal bridge. This is the Millennium Bridge,
Built, yes you guessed it, to celebrate the Millennium.
Cross over and head to the right with Grasmere Sports field on your left,past the workingmans club and along the little lane to your left.
This brings you back to the main carpark where we started. There are toilets situated here but be aware they are not open in the winter months. That’s the Riverside walk finished but perhaps visit Dove Cottage which is out of the car park to your left, and rounds off the day nicely. Nice tea rooms there too.