Update 16 February 2022:
This route is now open again and passable with care following tree clearance after Storm Arwen. Hazards to look out for include a dry stone wall which has fallen on part of the path (but there is still 1m width to pass it) at Grid Ref. NY 363005 and fallen trees across the path (which can be got around with care on adjoining grass) in the woodland at Grid Ref. SD 355994.
Undulating linear walk (3.5km each way) leading from Wray Castle through meadows and woodland to Low Loanthwaite - OS Explorer Map OL7. Large sections of the route would be suitable for wheelchair users but there are some steep hills and one section of track where the path has a grass strip in the middle.
There are some accessible routes that seem to have it all, and this is definitely one of those. Starting at the famous Wray Castle overlooking Lake Windermere, this route takes you through a picture postcard Lakeland valley to the village of Hawkshead and beyond. On your way you’ll pass Blelham Tarn where you’ll see plenty of wildlife along with traditional Lakeland livestock as you pass through stone built farms. Remember to take a moment to look up so you don’t miss the peaks of the Coniston, Langdale and Hellvellyn range. We did say it has it all!
Heading down the driveway away from the castle take the path to the right just after the Dower House B&B sign. Follow this path downhill to reach a fantastic set of historic farm buildings on your right. Turn left and follow the Low Wray campsite road to its junction with the B5285. Cross the road and go through the gate onto the off-road path. After 200 metres turn left and follow the path across a meadow. This 300 metres section of path has a good stone surface but does have a grassy strip down the middle so may be a bit of a struggle for those in wheelchairs or small-wheeled buggies.
Go through a gate into some lovely woodland, from where you can catch glimpses of the local highpoint of Latterbarrow to the south. Keep going and cross over a bridge over Blelham Beck. At a junction, ignore the rocky bridleway known as Spika Lane (signposted to Outgate) and keep left. After another 50 metres you reach a grassy knoll which is a great spot to admire the view over Blelham Tarn. The tarn and the surrounding bog is a National Nature Reserve, and are very important for a number of rare invertebrates, including a rich population of rare caddis-flies. The tarn attracts waterfowl, and great crested grebe breeds, whilst whooper swan and golden-eye can often be seen during the winter.
After another 200 metres you’ll reach a steep hill at Grid Reference SD 362999, where many will need to turn round and return to Wray Castle. Proceeding beyond this point is not recommended for most on wheeled mobility equipment, because of the steepness of the hill and problems beyond that.
If you are able to manage the 250 metres up the very steep hill, you’ll be rewarded with fine views of the fells beyond Ambleside. From here, turn right and keep following the main path. At a junction, our route turns left and across the meadow to reach a small patch of woodland. Passing through this, you emerge back out onto meadow again until you reach the minor road at Low Loanthwaite from where there are fine views over Hawkshead below. From here you can turn and re-trace the route back to Wray Castle.
Top of Dower House lane, on the driveway up to Wray Castle.
Postcode: LA22 0JA
Grid reference: NY 373009
Grid reference: SD 354991
Wray castle (seasonal: check opening times on National Trust website) Café, shop and toilet accessible by wheelchair users and with baby changing facilities.
National Trust car-park at Wray Castle (Sat Nav postcode: LA22 0JA). Follow signs for Wray Castle from Ambleside or Hawkshead