When planning what to do in Hawkshead during your stay, walking or cycling in the outstanding countryside must be at the top of your list. The village is well placed as a base for hiking in the wider Lake District, and the immediate surroundings are some of the finest in the area. Beatrix Potter country is all around you. You simply need the right footwear and walking gear, a good map and a walking guide, and you are ready to explore for yourselves. You can head off in any direction and find a beautiful path to follow, but below are some of our favourite walks near Hawkshead:
The small fell of Latterbarrow is quite prominent above lovely Blelham Tarn, and can be reached from High Wray and also from a path leaving the roadside further towards Hawkshead. This path is steep but short, and once the summit is reached the views over Windermere are splendid. 1 ½ hrs.
Make the most of being on the quieter side of Lake Windermere by heading to Ferry House on the Hawkshead side of the cross lake-ferry. From there you can hug the lakeshore to the north, firstly through open fields on tarmac single track road, and then through woodlands on a excellently laid path which is suitable for wheelchair users and pushchairs. The views over the water are breathtaking throughout, and you look over to Belle Isle at the outset of the walk. Pass by Strawberry Gardens caravan site to Red Nab car park and return, or continue to Wray Castle if you want a longer ramble. 1 ½ hrs.
Beginning at the Outgate Inn on the road towards Ambleside, you can walk across country towards Wray Castle, passing secluded Blelham Tarn. The path is through woodland on the outward leg, before reaching open fields near Wray. A short walk along the road past the entrance to the castle takes you to another footpath. This runs through lovely pastureland to a farm on the far side of the tarn, and further paths from the farm bring you back to the Outgate Inn, perhaps for a pint of local ale. 1 ½ hrs.
A high ridge of land marked by evergreen woodlands and little tarns on the western shore of Windermere lake, there are many ways to access Claife Heights. We suggest parking at Near Sawrey and taking the track up the hillside from there. There are many paths and forestry tracks to choose from once you reach the top. This is prime mountain-biking country.
Well marked trails wind through the trees of Grizedale forest a short distance from Hawkshead. Look out for the wonderful sculptures concealed within the woods. You can start your walk at one of the many forestry commission car parks or the main visitor centre. Good walking can be had here even on bad weather days, as the trees give welcome cover from the wind and rain. The multitude of forestry tracks are ideal for mountain biking, and bikes can be hired at the forest’s visitor centre near Satterthwaite. Head from Hawkshead towards Satterthwaite to find the forest and visitor centre.
Tarn Hows ranks as one of the finest beauty spots in our beautiful region, and is part of the Monk Coniston Estate, which was once owned by Beatrix Potter, and now by the National Trust. The high path that runs from the disabled car park offers unmatchable views, and connects to the main lower path which itself is stunningly set in trees by the shores of the pretty tarn. Set on the high ground above Coniston, Tarn Hows is easily reached by car from Hawkshead, or indeed by foot. Park at the large National Trust car park near the tarn. 1 hr.
Just to the north of the village of Finsthwaite, near the bottom end of Lake Windermere, a National Trust car park marks the start of a short walk through wooded hillside to the tarns of High Dam. The walk is very pleasant, and the high tarn offers good picnicking opportunities. You can access the fellside behind the tarn to gain great views of the lake, too. 1 hr.
The chief fell of the Coniston range, and one of the most popular hill walks in the Lake District. We recommend making this a circular route, going past the fell on the Walna Scar Road and starting the ascent further on, before coming down on the main track through the disused slate mines. The views are wonderful. There is a car park on the fell side above Coniston village. 2 ½ – 3 ½ hrs.