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Put your best foot forward on the Derwentwater Walk

Posted by Katy Peck on 20 June 2019
Related property: Ivy House, Braithwaite
Put your best foot forward on the Derwentwater Walk

Just a 10-minute drive from the charming Ivy House, you’ll find the starting point for one of the most popular walks in the area. You certainly won’t be alone if you decide to take on the Derwentwater walk during your stay and it’s easy to see why… with ancient woodland, beautiful lake views and rolling fields, it’s a perfect example of everything the Lake District has to offer. Add in the level walking trails, local cafes, facilities and beautiful picnic locations and you’ve got yourself the ideal walk.


Derwentwater is the local lake to the town of Keswick, flanked by Cat Bells on the west and the famous viewpoint of Friar’s Craig on the east. The entrance to the Borrowdale valley is at the south end of the lake, meaning you can enjoy spectacular views from every angle! The lake is 5km long and 6km wide, with its deepest point being around 22m. Much of the surrounding area is maintained by the National trust and there’s plenty of flora, fauna and wildlife to spot during your visit.

The marked footpath which encircles Derwentwater is perhaps the best way to take in the views of this beautiful area, but if you’d rather enjoy the scenery from another perspective, you can also enjoy a 50-minute cruise. With several landing points where you can board and disembark the boat, you could even split your time between sailing and walking.

The Walk

This 10-mile trail takes walkers all the way around Derwentwater and is waymarked throughout, making it a fantastic choice for beginners or those less confident in their navigation skills! Start at the Moot Hall clocktower in Keswick town centre, a mile from the Derwentwater. From here, head out of the village and towards the Theatre by the Lake, before following the road right down to the Marina (where you can also buy a ferry ticket and pick up a timetable). Turn left onto the promenade that leads to Friars Crag, which was said to be where monks once departed to pay pilgrimage on St Herbert’s Island. It’s one of the most popular viewpoints in the area, so make sure to bring your camera! You’ll also find a memorial to John Ruskin here; the first of several monuments on this trail.

Continue around the outcrop, turning right to pass through the gate and onto parkland. Eventually, you’ll reach another gate which opens onto a path circling the moor. Turn right and cross the bridge, continuing along the path until you reach a farm track. Turn right again and, following the signs, take the route that bears left. You’ll pass a couple of other gates as you take the trail above the shore of the lake. This is Broomhill Point, which includes Calfclose Bay. Here you’ll find the National Trust’s Hundred Year Stone, which marks 100 years of the National Trust looking after special places such as this.

After crossing a footbridge, you’ll turn back towards the road, after which the route turns right to join the pathway. Passing the Youth Hostel, you’ll go through yet another gate onto the lake shore. If you’ve bought a picnic, this is a great spot to stop and enjoy a snack as you drink in the spectacular views! The path here is a bit less reliable but if you follow the shore, you’ll find your way back to another wooden bridge, bearing left to take you into gorse shrub and trees.

Once you reach the National Trust Kettlewell car park, carefully cross the road to the footpath on the other side. This charming part of the walk takes you through a woodland full of lush trees and mossy boulders. Soon you’ll start to hear the noise of the Lodore Falls… bear left and climb up to the viewpoint and bench, which is another great spot to crack open the thermos for a cup of tea!

Once you’re done, return the way you came and bear left over the bridge. Continue round the back of the buildings to the Borrowdale Road. Cross to the footway and head left again – here you’ll also find some public conveniences. Passing these, take the track to the ‘Chinese bridge’, built to protect the fragile environment. Once you’ve crossed, carry on along the walkway across the wetlands. As the name suggests, make sure to keep to the path if you want to stay dry! You’ll find a gravel trail which will finally mark the start of the home stretch.

Continue along the shore, crossing a few more walkways until you reach a gate at the far end of the field. This allows you access into the woodland of Manesty Park. Follow the path until it turns inland and reaches a cottage, where you’ll turn right onto a route signposted ‘Abbots Bay’. Through the next gate, you’ll start to see signposts to Keswick.

Bear right to get back to the lake shore; you’ll circle several bays and cross Brandelhow Park, which has several benches to sit and enjoy the views over the water. Here you’ll also find the ‘Entrust’ sculpture, marking a century of the National Trust at Brandelhow. Cross the park and go through the gate, turning left to cross the grounds beneath the Hawse End Centre. Head right onto the road for a short distance before returning back into the woodland, crossing a bridge and field. Finally, you’ll find a signpost for Keswick, two miles away.

Keep following the trail, taking in the stunning views across the water to Blencathra, before finally turning left and then right into Portinscale. This little village has a lovely traditional pub with a beer garden, as well as a tearoom and a selection of charming cafes… after all, you’re bound to have built up an appetite! Once you’ve had your fill, carry on across the fields to Keswick and return to your start point at Moot Hall.


  • Moot Hall: This building is certainly the focal point of the town and now houses the Keswick Information Centre. Although there has been a building on this site long before the 19th Century, the present structure was built in 1813. Over the years, it has been used as a prison, market square and meeting place.

  • Ruskin memorial: This simple memorial was erected in October 1900 and is now a Grade II listed structure. It is a dedication to poet and conservationist John Ruskin, who had many ties with the area. It is also interesting to note that the small area around the memorial was the first part of the Lake District to become property of the National Trust.

  • Hundred Year Stone: Created by the artist Peter Rendall-Page in 1995, this monument to the National Trust’s centenary is made from a large boulder sourced from the Borrowdale volcanic valley. The boulder was sawn in half and then each face carved with a pattern of ten fan-shaped segments to create a truly unique piece of art.

  • Lodore Falls: This waterfall has been a must-see for tourists since the Victorian Era. Water from the Watendlath Tarn flows over huge boulders down a drop of around 100 feet, creating a cascade of boiling, surging currents. It’s a truly spectacular sight, especially after heavy rain, but can dry up after long dry periods.

  • Entrust sculpture: Nestled in Brandelhow park, this wooden sculpture of cupped hands marks 100 years since the National Trust purchased its first large piece of land in the lakes

  • Red Squirrels: Borrowdale valley, at the south end of the lake, is one of the most wooded valleys in the Lake District. Red squirrels have been seen across the area and the National Trust works with local groups to help protect and encourage these rare animals throughout the woodland.

The Lake District is famous for its walks and this is just one of the trails which can be easily reached from our Ivy House property. There’s no need to rush – follow the route at a gentle pace and you can easily spend a day taking in this spectacular scenery, taking time to drink in the views and perhaps stopping for lunch along the way! It really is a truly enjoyable day out.

After a long walk like this, it’s important to have somewhere comfortable and welcoming to relax and recover. Ivy House is just that. With 13 beautiful bedrooms and a fantastic restaurant and bar, there’s nowhere better to rest your tired feet.

Find out more about how you too can enjoy a memorable stay in this breathtaking part of the Lake District.

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Katy Peck

Katy Peck

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