View of boats on Windermere and fells to the north copyright Charlie Hedley

Miles Without Stiles 6: Windermere's Western Shore

Details

Route type: For many. A tarmac road and smooth stone track lead you up the quiet west shore, a world away from the hustle and bustle of Bowness and Windermere - OS Explorer Map OL7

Distance: 9 km, 5.5 miles

Start point: Ferry House - grid ref. SD 391957

Turning point: Red Nab car park - grid ref. SD 386994

Facilities: Toilets at Ferry Nab and refreshments at Bowness

Getting there: Public transport: Cross Lakes Experience, taking the boat from Pier 3, Bowness or the 525 Mountain Goat bus service from Hawkshead. The car ferry from Ferry Nab can also be used.

Car: take the ferry and park in the National Trust car park at grid ref. SD 388960.

Route

Once you've arrived at the Ferry House, follow the road around the headland for 400 metres and take the next right. Take care on this stretch as it can be busy in the summer. A public footpath does cut off this loop but it is not suitable for wheelchairs or those with buggies.

The first kilometre is tarmac and it weaves through open meadow. The views are expansive, looking across the lake to Bowness and further north to the Troutbeck hills. The western shore provides a wooded shoreline and pebble beaches. There is plenty of scope to rest and picnic.

The tarmac ends by the second of two cattle grids and you pass into Heald Wood on a level stone track. This has been substantially improved through the GoLakes Travel Programme and is now suitable for wheelchair users.

Continue past Strawberry Gardens caravan site on a good smooth stone track all the way to Red Nab (and the start of Route 7). There is one long climb beyond Strawberry Gardens that is not suitable for solo wheelchair users unless you are a Paralympian. Accompanied wheelchair and pushchair users will be fine. You can combine this walk with Route 7 Red Nab to High Wray for a long expedition to Wray Castle and back.

Map

Map - Windermere's Western Shore route