Buttermere route

Buttermere Walk

An flat and easy walk around the lake suitable for all the family.

The mountains that ring Buttermere sweep straight up from the lakeshore in steep dramatic unbroken slopes. Even without setting foot off the valley floor you feel like you are right at the heart of these giant peaks. For those new to the mountains these peaks, being so close at hand, give the perfect introduction to mountain biking. They feel remote and you can see all their glorious detail of dashing becks, lonely woodland, hanging corries and towering crags all without leaving the safety of the valley lanes and bridleways.

Since the early days of the first Victorian tourists, the route around Buttermere has established itself as a bit of a classic. On the western shore of Buttermere a bridleway hugs the lakeshore and then makes a steady climb through the tall trees of Burtness Woods. This bridleway can be linked with the road along the valley to form a loop that mirrors the old Victorian walking route and takes in much of the same scenery. The riding is all fairly straight forward with the odd rough section to provide a bit of excitement and help develop your off road skills.Buttermere big


Strenuousness 1

Navigation 1

Technicality 2


Distance 6.7km (4.2 miles)

Total ascent 200m

Time 1-2 hours

Start/finish Buttermere GR NY175170

Terrain Valley lanes, farm tracks and lakeside single track.


OS Landranger 89 (1:50 000)

OS Explorer OL4 (1:25 000)

Harvey Superwalker XT25 Lake District West

British Mountain Maps Lake District (1:40 000)

  1. NY175170 To warm up the route heads out on the road section first following the valley road up the valley to Gatesgarth.
  2. NY194150 Just after crossing the bridge over Gatesgarthdale Beck turn right onto the bridleway past that passes by the farmyard. It heads southwest passing fields to Peggy’s Bridge (footbridge). Cross the bridge and continue a short distance to a junction.
  3. NY189147 Ignore the bridleway that climbs steeply up the fellside, instead turn right and take the bridleway beside the beck towards the lake. Continue along the bridleway for 750m until the path splits. Take the left branch and follow it as it climbs towards the trees. It continues to climb for a bit and then eases, finally giving a pleasant descent to a junction at the western end of the lake.
  4. NY172162 At the junction take the right-hand bridleway that crosses the outflow from the lake by a footbridge. Then follow the bridleway along the easy track back to Buttermere.