Waterhead & Ambleside Walk

waterhead and ambleside harbour

Waterhead & Ambleside Walk

A circular, level walk (mostly), through the woods, along the lanes and fields to Waterhead returning via Ambleside

Clothing: Light waterproof/windproof jacket – depending upon the weather conditions, strong shoes or walking boots
Equipment: Camera, binoculars
Refreshment stops: too numerous to mention!
Conditions to be expected underfoot: mostly hard surfaces with occasional damp or muddy parts

For those who run out of time there is a regular bus service from Ambleside to Hawkshead stopping at SFCP Main Gate

Fitness level: Basic-moderate

Distance: 3-5 miles (one way, depending where you head to)

Time: 1 hour (walking one way - a whole day can be spent exploring Waterhead and Ambleside!)

Ancient woodlands at Skelwith Fold

For printed directions, please ask at Skelwith Fold Reception. These are available for a suggested £1.50 donation which goes to supporting The Great North Air Ambulance.

  1. On leaving Skelwith Fold Caravan Park Shop and Reception Area turn left then right and follow the signs to the ‘Children’s play area’. Take the path below the caravans into the wood (North by Pitch 74). Pass the remains of the old swimming pool on the left and descend along the path through the woods forking left (by a bench with beech saplings by it) until eventually descending to a metal gate. This leads to a lane (Bog Lane). Turn right. Continue along the lane (passing the cottages and Brathay Church on the right) and keeping the river on the left (a brief detour and back onto the footbridge could reveal some interesting wildlife) to where the lane meets the main road. Turn Left through the parking area by the River Brathay and continue along the pavement.
  2. Care should be taken as the pavement soon ends and it is necessary to walk along the road (it is suggested best to cross the road to face the oncoming traffic). Continue over the bridge and up the incline to the junction. Turn right and continue along the pavement until arriving at the Bronze Otter statuette, by Bronwell Nixton prior to crossing the footbridge over the River Rothay.
  3. Go through the gate and then turn immediately right through another gate into a field with the river on the right. Follow the path passing through two kissing gates, along a boardwalk with a small bridge, a gate (this is a NT reserve Birdhouse Meadow), another boardwalk and gate leading to a field in which the site of the remains of the Galava Roman Fort can be found.
  4. Head for the metal kissing gate to Borrans Park. Join the tarmac footpath to the right. Walk through the park and join the pavement by the road to Waterhead where there are many aquatic attractions such as cruises and boats for hire, cafes and eating establishments.
  5. The walk next leads to the village of Ambleside. Retrace your steps past The Wateredge Hotel, cross the road towards the timeshare apartments ‘Quaysiders’ and take the little road opposite (McIver Lane), then turn right one way traffic). The lane joins Lakes Road. Turn Left and continue towards Ambleside, Hayes Garden Centre is on the left and well worth a visit.
  6. Continue along into Ambleside and head for Tourist Information Centre near the Market Cross. A route plan of places of interest in the Village can be purchased for use on another day or today if there is time!
  7. For the return route, start at the Tourist Information Centre, turn right pass Daisey’s Café and along Rydal Road, pass a mini roundabout and The Armitt Museum. In 50 yds cross the road to Stoney Lane. Continue along the lane and onto the footpath leading to Miller Bridge, a beautiful stone footbridge over the river Rothay. Pause here to look back to the confluence of a fast flowing beck, with its little waterfall, with the River Rothay.
  8. Cross the bridge and turn left, along the lane (signed ‘Clappersgate). On reaching the main road take extreme care crossing over and follow the cycle route and footpath to the right (passing the otter) alongside the road to Clappersgate.
  9. Turn left along the Hawkshead Road, over the road bridge to eventually join the pavement. On reaching the parking area on the right, cross the lane and take the cycleway/footpath signed Bowness via Ferry. This route eventually emerges onto the road. Turn right (beware of traffic!). Within a few yards arrive at the main entrance to Skelwith Fold Caravan Park.
    Follow the drive up to Reception.

Rambling and hill walking can be strenuous and it is up to you to approach it with caution and if you are inexperienced, to do so under appropriate supervision. You should also carry appropriate clothing, equipment and maps and wear suitable footwear. Details given were believed to be right at the time of going to press but neither the author nor Skelwith Fold Caravan Park can accept responsibility for inaccuracies or mishaps. Please keep to public rights of way and observe the Countryside Code.

Walking map

You can click on the link below to load our walking map for this route. Please note that this is a rough guide only and should not be considered a replacement for an OS Map.

Open Map

How to find Waterhead & Ambleside Walk

Opening times: Always open

Distance from park
164 feet (approx. 1 min)

Dog Friendly location Dog friendly