White Moss Walks Circular walks from White Moss , Grasmere England’s Lake District
These circular walks all begin and end at my home, White Moss House . Visitors to the area can park in the White Moss Car parks, marked with a brown tourist information sign. If you are staying at our holiday cottage, Brockstone Cottage Grasmere, you are just 200 metres from White Moss House, and all these walks can start at the cottage. Just take the path that heads down the hill outside the cottage to White Moss House, then on with the walk. Visitors to other parts of the Lake District can arrive by car and park at White Moss car parks, or come by the 555 Stagecoach bus.
You can do these walks at any time of year. The Lowther Estate who own and manage the White Moss area has put up the famous brown Tourist Attraction signs for “White Moss Walks”- it’s official- White Moss Walks are a major tourist attraction!
Even if you are not normally a walker do take the chance to experience the countryside on foot. Walking is good for your body and good for your soul.
Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy loved the walks around White Moss, Grasmere, walking for pleasure as well as necessity. Our home, White Moss House, was owned by William Wordsworth, who bought it for his son. The family lived here until the 1930s.
If you are staying at Brockstone Cottage we have a selection of mountain guide books, including Wainwright’s and Bob Allen’s guides. which you can borrow. We can also lend you maps. We have walked the area for years, and are very happy to advise and discuss your plans.
The weather in the Lakes is famous for its changeability, and waterproofs and proper equipment is generally needed.We can lend you a rucksack and a walking stick if you wish! .
Keep your eyes open for the wildlife on your White Moss walk. Birds of prey such as kites and buzzards, river birds such as dippers and kingfishers, lake swans and ducks, as well as deer and badgers all live in this amazingly beautiful area. The photo below was taken by a guest staying at Brockstone , our Grasmere cottage with amazing views.
It’s a good idea to buy the detailed Ordnance Survey map for the South East Lakes. For walks from White Moss House, including all the areas around Grasmere, Ambleside and Windermere, this is the map you need.
Walk 1- from White Moss House to Grasmere Lake shore
The photo of Grasmere shore was taken by me on one of my everyday walks.
This takes about half an hour to an hour and is a favourite for arrival day to stretch your legs after the journey.It is beautiful in the evening when the day visitors have left, and the sun sets over Grasmere. Some people even try it before breakfast.
Start in the White Moss car park opposite White Moss House, walk through the car park and across “the moss” to the first bridge.”The moss” is the local name for the flat area by the River Rothay, between Rydal Water and Grasmere, named on maps as White Moss Common .
Don’t cross the bridge but go through the wide gate on the right and stay beside the River Rothay. The field is private but this is a right of way. Go through the gates and into Penny Rock Woods. This got its name when a penny was put on the rates to blast the main roadway through the rock that used to be in the way.
From the top of the woods, take the path to the left, down to the footbridge and cross to the shore of Grasmere Lake. If this scene looks familiar, it may be because you’ve seen it in the movie Miss Potter, starring Rene Zellweger as Beatrix Potter.
To return , turn back and walk along the side of the river Rothay that you are now on until you reach the footbridge to cross back onto the moss. This stretch of river is noted for dippers, the birds which dive under water. Then go back through the car park to White Moss House.
Here’s Brockstone Cottage where you can stay for your Lakes vacation. All the walks described here can be started from Brockstone Grasmere Cottage.
Walk 2, along Loughrigg Terrace above Grasmere Lake- perfect for a photo opportunity.
This takes you along a great path known as Loughrigg Terrace. You can then make a choice of walk.
A: Deer Bolt Wood ( 1 hour)
B: Elterwater Village (about 2-3 hours there and back)
C: To the top of Loughrigg Fell (1100 feet) (2-4 hours depending on fitness)
To reach Loughrigg Terrace, cross the road from White Moss House , go through the car park, over the first bridge and take the middle path up through the wood. Go through the narrow “kissing gate” in the wall at the end of the wood, turn right up the short steep path, onto Loughrigg Terrace. Take the high path all along the Terrace, pausing for breath (some seats are provided), and to admire the splendid view of Grasmere Lake, with Grasmere Village at the far end, and Dunmail Raise (with Helvellyn to the right) rising in the distance.
This view must feature in thousands of photograph albums around the world. Here’s one of the many I’ve taken.
At the end of the path you have various options.
A: DEER BOLT WOOD
Go through the gate and immediately right through another gate. Follow the path down to the old warden’s house, then turn right (sign posted White Moss). Return via the lake shore and then along either side of the river Rothay.
B: ELTERWATER VILLAGE
Go through the gate, along the driveway ahead and join the metalled road. Walk left up the road then first right, past High Close youth hostel and you will find yourself on Elterwater Common. From here you can drop down to Elterwater Village where the Britannia pub is a popular spot for a bar meal. Return the same way.
C: LOUGHRIGG FELL
Rising over 1000 (just) this is officially a mountain (fell). The path is steep in places but the view from the top is so fantastic that this must be the best reward per foot of climbing to be had anywhere. Do this if you can and take your camera.
At the end of Loughrigg Terrace, take the sharp left turn up the fell. The path is clear – too clear in places, perhaps, as stones and steps have been put in to avoid erosion. It is quite a steep haul up!
The top is marked by a triangulation point. If you wander off the path you will find many delightful spots, often with lovely views of White Moss.
From the top, you can come down by one many paths. If you have a longer walk in mind, you can wander off to the right which leads to Loughrigg tarn or straight ahead which will end up in Ambleside.
To return more directly, keep to the left generally keeping Rydal Water in view. You can drop down via Rydal Caves, then down to the lake.
Once down either turn left and walk back to the woods where you started or turn right, cross the main road at Rydal, and back along the higher path or “coffin road” from Rydal Mount, to Brockstone Cottage, then down to White Moss (this shorter walk round Rydal is described in Walk 6)
A short, steep walk with superb views.
You can start this walk from Brockstone Cottage. This walk takes you to a small tarn,( the Lake District name for a small lake) man made long ago, but now blending into the scenery like a natural tarn. It was once owned by Mr Alcock, a local landowner. It is a steep walk in parts, but it is worth persevering for the beautiful views ofGrasmere, Rydal Water, and over to Windermere and the Langdales. This photo is of the view from the Alcock Tarn path.
The Easier Route
Go to the end of White Moss House wall, by the post box. Take the steep track uphill. This brings you to Brockstone Cottage. Turn left, and walk along the track for about 100 metres to White Moss Tarn where you may see a heron.The tarn has been recently cleared of old wood and reeds as part of the National Trust conservation programme. Turn left along the metalled road until it dips down.
Turn right, along the path above the duck pond, behind Woodland Crag house, until you come to a gate. Go through the gate, and follow the path upwards and onwards! The first part is quite wide, said to have been built by Mr Alcock,a man with an invalid wife, who would take her as far as possible by carriage, to savour the views of Grasmere Lake and village , which are superb, even if you only make it to the first seat! Keep on, and you eventually reach the tarn.
The Harder Route
At the post box, go straight up the hill to our luxury self catering cottage,Brockstone, then turn left. A short way along, the track goes over a stream, and there is a gate on the right through the fence to a path, which goes up the left of the stream. Where the path meets the aqueduct bridge, strike off left up a VERY steep hill – excellent for getting the heart pumping. At the top of this steep pull, turn right, and follow the path along. It veers to the left eventually, then meets a wall. Go through the gate and up the little rise to the tarn.
Come down by either of these routes.If you take the path at the far end of the tarn, you will drop down to the main road past Grasmere Village, about two miles away from White Moss- it is quote a slog back along the main road, but you could drop into Grasmere for a drink or catch a bus back if you are short of time.
Allow a good hour and a half for the ascent, possibly more if you stop often, (for photographs of course!) just under 1 hour back.
#4 Circular Walk from White Moss, Grasmere
Walk to the village of Ambleside
Although you can walk all the way along the main road by the side of Rydal Water , there are various other routes which get you away from the traffic for most of the way.This photo is of the famous Bridge House Ambleside.
Start by going through our garden at White Moss House (right out of the front door), and turn right when you have gone through the last big gate. Go up the hill and turn right again in front of Brockstone self catering cottage , through the little gate and follow the “coffin road” (same as walk 6) to Rydal Village. There are beautiful views of Rydal Water along the way.
When you reach Rydal Mount, drop down the road for about 25 yards, then turn left through the top gate of Rydal Hall. This is a public footpath through Rydal park, and it brings you out on the main road about Â¼ mile from Ambleside.
The walkers tea room behind Rydal Hall is now open all year in its new building. It serves excellent home made soup, snacks and cakes.. Look in at the formal gardens in front of Rydal Hall (a retreat owned by the diocese of Carlisle) These have recently been restored and are open to the public free of charge.
Spend some time in Ambleside- I’ve written a guide about Things to do in Ambleside
To return you could come back along the road, past the gates to Rydal park, and carry along the main road past Crowe Howe and the Cricket club. Round the bend from the Cricket Club take the signed footpath off to the left. Cross the field and the stepping stones and turn right along the Under Loughrigg small road.
Cross the cattle grid but not the bridge. Turn left over another cattle grid and follow the road up the hill. This joins the path on the west side of Rydal Water. Walk along the lakeshore then keep on the path with the wall to your right. Look over the wall for beautiful views of White Moss House. Where the path goes steeply uphill to Loughrigg Terrace. look for a small gate in the wall. Go through this into the woods, and follow this path back to White Moss Common, just across the road from the house.
Alternatively you could walk the first part of the way back on the Under Loughrigg road instead of the main road, though the road winds and therefore is longer. There is no footpath but very little traffic. The road is reached by going through the park behind Ambleside church. Walk across the park, over the bridge and turn right. You join the other route at the stepping stones.
Allow 1 hour’s gentle walking each way.
If you become distracted by the cafes and shops in Ambleside and run short of time, buses leave from the market square by the library, and will drop you off at White Moss.There is also a taxi rank outside the Information centre.
#5 Circular walk from White Moss, Grasmere
The Rydal Round-walk round Rydal Water- on the of best short walks in the world.
This takes you on a beautiful walk, with very little climbing. On the way you can visit Rydal Mount, one of Wordsworth’s homes, and the newly restored gardens of Rydal Hall. You can also visit Rydal Falls (painted by Constable) and have a real ale at the Badger Bar or tea and cakes at the renovated Rydal Hall tearoom.
It can be done in either way and is described in more detail in The Rydal Round- walk round Rydal Water
Turn right at the front door, through the side garden and the Coach House garden, and out through the wide gate on to the path by the waterfall. Turn to your right and take the path straight up the hill to the right of the stream, (through a wide gate) which will bring you to our cottage, Brockstone.
Turn right in front of the cottage , and follow the path to Rydal. This is the old “coffin road”, used before there was a church in Rydal, to carry coffins to Grasmere. It is an absolutely delightful path, with lovely views of Rydal Water and the peaks beyond. It is also called “Wordsworth’s Walk” in many of the guide books.
The path meets a small road at Rydal Mount.(You can add on Rydal Falls at this point). Otherwise, take the opportunity to visit the gardens at Rydal Hall, now restored to their original plans ( and free to visit, though donations are appreciated)
The tea room is also worth a visit- excellent home made soup and cakes! Return to Rydal Mount, go down the hill, through the churchyard to the road. If not stopping for a pint at the Badger Bar,( on your right) cross the main road and go through a gap in the wall. Cross the River Rothay and take the path back along the shore of Rydal Water. Along the way there are beaches from which you can swim in good weather, and further along, you can take a good photograph of White Moss House .Return to White Moss through a gate in the wall leading to White Moss Woods and then to White Moss.
An alternative , when you first meet Rydal Water, is to take the path above you on the left, still in the same direction , which will take you to Rydal caves. You can then carry on along the higher path, before returning through the woods as before.
11/2 or 2 hours steady walking (through with a stop at Rydal Mount and Rydal Hall gardens, followed by a beer at the Badger Bar, it can take much longer!)
Do this walk on its own or as an extension of the Rydal round. Brilliant when there has been heavy rain. The Victorians installed a hydro electric system behind Rydal Hall to provide power for the hall using the force of the falls. Standing above Rydal Mount, take the road uphill, which becomes a track, with houses on your left. Walk towards a big new farm shed and look for a small gate in the wall on your right. This is a permissive path which has been recently opened up to give public access to Rydal Falls. The path goes down and across the falls and then turns left and follows the falls up to the top. You can then follow the path round, back to the bridge and back up to Rydal Mount. Wordsworth was exceptionally fond of Rydal Falls, and often walked that way during his time at Rydal Mount. These days it seems to be off the tourist map, and amazingly, you can often be the only person there.
Zoe Dawes, aka The Quirky Traveller, walks from Grasmere to Rydal – Follow Zoe as she walks the Coffin Route above White Moss
Zoe Dawes travels the world and writes great articles. You can find out more about Zoe by visiting her website, The Quirky Traveller- -click here
#6 Circular walk from White Moss, Grasmere
Walk from White Moss to Grasmere Village- so beautiful!
This is a circular walk, with very little climbing. At a leisurely pace it can take about 2 hours, but you will probably want to spend sometime inGrasmere. The church is well worth a visit (we were married there!), and of course, William and Dorothy Wordsworth are buried in the churchyard.
From our drive, cross the road and then walk along this side of the river, through the field, through the wood, drop down to Grasmere Lake and cross the bridge. Walk along the side of the lake (through the gate), staying on the path by the shore.
This path has recently been improved, and it now quite firm and not too muddy. Eventually the path swings up to the road. Turn right at the road and follow it down to the village (about 1 hour)
When ready to return pass the church on your left.
Walk on past the school, with Grasmere Weavers, The Post Office and the Chocolate shop on your right, and head for the main road. Cross the road, and you are at Dove Cottage. After your visit there, follow the little back road up the hill to the duck pond. You can then turn right and follow the road back to White Moss (lovely views of Rydal Water), or carry on up the hill (marked “No through road for motors”), and either drop down right by the cottages, or carry on to Brockstone, and drop down there.(about 1 hour)
You can stay at our holiday cottage- perfect for these great walks.
Brockstone Holiday Cottage Grasmere
Brockstone Cottage has the most amazing views over Rydal Water and the Lake District mountains, and you can rent this holiday cottage for your Lake District …