Britannia Inn, Elterwater copyright Dave Willis

Miles Without Stiles 11: Elterwater to Skelwith Bridge

Miles Without Stiles

Route for many. 4km distance.


A stunning linear walk (2km each way) taking in lakeside meadows, an iconic new bridge, roaring waterfall and great food - OS Explorer Map OL7.

Take the gate at the back of the car park on to the wide stone path that runs alongside Great Langdale Beck. This section of path is prone to flood erosion. Its robust stone stone cobble surface is smooth enough for wheelchair and pushchair users.

After 1 km, you reach the shores of Elterwater. This is a quiet lake with many small bays and a mix of wooded and reedy shorelines. Look out for wildfowl, including mallards, coots and moorhens.

The path goes through woodland and leads to an open meadow. At the end, there is a 1:8 slope to a gate into woodland and on to the dramatic Woodburn Bridge. Erected in 2006 and named after a Skelwith Parish Council chairman, its location is fantastic. Resting high above Great Langdale Beck, the roar of Skelwith Force entices you on.

Continue past the bridge and along a smooth, stone path above Skelwith Force. The rocky gorge and volume of water in the falls are very impressive. Another 200 metres brings you out at Skelwith Bridge and a welcome rest at Chesters Café.

This route can be combined with Miles Without Stiles Route 43 (New Dungeon Ghyll to Elterwater, Route For Some) for a longer excursion (16km round trip).


Start point:

National Trust car park, Elterwater. Alternative parking at Silverthwaite Car Park, Skelwith Bridge.

Postcode: LA22 9HP
Grid reference: NY 328047
W3W: ///prominent.finishes.domestic

Turning point:

Grid reference: NY 344034
W3W: ///facelift.slowness.croaking


Public toilets at Elterwater (opposite Brittania Inn) and there are also accessible toilets at Slates Cafe (Elterwater) and Chesters (Skelwith Bridge). Refreshments at Britannia Inn, Elterwater, and Chesters Café, Skelwith Bridge.

Getting there:

Bus: Langdale Rambler service 516 runs from Ambleside to Elterwater, March to October.
Car: A593 from Ambleside or Coniston and turn at Skelwith Bridge on the B5343. It is 2.5 km to Elterwater.