Britannia Inn, Elterwater copyright Dave Willis

Miles Without Stiles 11: Elterwater to Skelwith Bridge


Route type: For all / for many. A stunning walk taking in lakeside meadows, an iconic new bridge, roaring waterfall and great food - OS Explorer Map OL7

Distance: 4 km or 2.4 miles for many, 0.5 km or 0.3 miles for all from Skelwith to Woodburn Bridge and back

Start point: National Trust car park, Elterwater - grid ref. NY 328048

Turning point: Skelwith Bridge - grid ref. NY 344034

Facilities: Public toilets at Elterwater and 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


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, go through a gate into woodland and on to 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.


Map - Elterwater to Skelwith Bridge route