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Seven ideas for walks in early summer

23 June 2017

The months from March to June tend to be the drier months in the north west of the UK. And early summer is a perfect time for walking in England’s largest National Park. With spectacular floral displays cloaking the fells and lengthening daylight, it’s also a quieter time between the peak holiday seasons.

1. Discover a natural gem

As well as being a National Park, the Lake District is home to a number of important nature reserves. Discover these specially managed habitats, often off the beaten track. These hidden gems are a haven for a wealth of wildlife. Perfect for quiet contemplation, especially if you arrive early or opt for an evening stroll.

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Barkbooth Lot nature reserve, Crosthwaite, Cumbria, is managed by Cumbria Wildlife Trust

2. Walk a classic fell

Our magnificent mountains are known as fells and attract scores of walkers year round, all drawn to the stunning scenery. Many fells, like the Scafells and Helvellyn, are well-known and well-visited.

214 fells were identified by Alfred Wainwright in a series of Pictorial Guides to the Lake District, first published between 1955 and 1966. Through his beautifully illustrated volumes, Wainwright made these summits famous. A popular pastime for seasoned hikers or ‘Wainwright baggers’ is to climb all 214 tops.

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Beautiful Blencathra. One of Wainwright's 214 fells. This classic mountain sits above the Lakeland village of Threlkeld in the north west of the National Park. There are several routes to the top including Sharp Edge, a route for experienced walkers only!

3. Steam to the Hills

Combine a walk with a train trip. If you’re visiting the west of the Park, a must-do is to take a ride on ‘La'al Ratty', a miniature steam railway. Hop on at Ravenglass to Eskdale Green then walk back to the sea over Muncaster Fell. This is one of our more popular guided walks in the west. 

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The famous 'La'al Ratty.' Operated by the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway

4. Follow your nose

The Lake District National Park contains more than 3,200 kilometres of Public Rights of Way, used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders and vehicles. In early summer, many paths will take you past spectacular floral displays. "When gorse is in flower, kissing's in fashion." So the saying goes. This brilliant yellow-flowering shrub fills the air with the strong aroma of coconut when in bloom, bringing memories of bygone sultry summer days.

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Gorse flowering by a path in Glenridding, Ullswater, on the way to Helvellyn.

5. Weave your way through a carpet of blue

Simply unmissable, bluebells in May are a wonder not to miss. Swathes of these pretty little spring flowers are a delightful sight. Their heady scent is a soothing treat for the soul. Popular spots to view this annual floral display include Rannerdale, by the shores of Buttermere, and on the slopes of little Loughrigg Fell by Rydal Water.

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Bluebells blossoming on the slopes of Loughrigg Fell, Rydal.

6. Walk and sail for a memorable day

Make the most of our lakes and fells with a combined walk and sail. Whether it's a boat trip on Derwentwater, Ullswater, Windermere or Coniston Water, there are plenty of walks, short or long, low level or high, from all these iconic Lake District Lakes.

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The Old Man of Coniston. A popular climb from the picturesque village of Coniston. Follow a walk with a leisurely boat ride from our boating centre on the Coniston shore.

7. Join a guided walk

Stuck for ideas? We've done the planning for you! Our expert volunteer guides are passionate about the Lake District and love showing visitors their favourite places. From easy, leisurely strolls to full-day summit hikes.

Check out our walks and other activities to make yours a trip to remember at this special time of year.

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Sour Milk Ghyll. A spectacular sight if the rain does arrive.

Author: Belinda Turnbull

Volunteer Led Activity Coordinator
Lake District National Park

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