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Situated close to the busy tourist hub of Ambleside, and just a stone’s throw from Windermere and a whole host of awe-inspiring lakes, fells, waterfalls and woods, Skelwith Fold is the ideal location for a Lake District walking holiday.

Here, we’ve put together five of the best Lake District walks within easy reach of Skelwith Fold. From short, gentle strolls suitable for all the family, to longer, more challenging routes, this is just a snapshot of some of the beautiful Lake District walks that Skelwith Fold has to offer. Enjoy!

Tarn Hows

4.Best Lake District Walks – Tarn Hows

Daybreak at Tarn Hows. Credit: blinking idiot.

Tarn Hows is a popular destination for walkers in the Lake District, and it’s easy to see why. This small, artificial lake was specifically designed by the Victorians to be breath-taking from every angle, and as a result is nothing short of idyllic.

Walkers can start their journey from Glen Mary Bridge, then follow a circular route to Tarn Hows and back that meanders through charming oak woodland and past cascading waterfalls. Be sure to bring a picnic to enjoy at Tarn Hows itself (and don’t forget to pack some extra bread for the numerous geese, ducks and moorhens).

Distance: 2.5 miles

Time: 1-2 hours

Difficulty level: Easy

Skelwith Force, Colwith Force & Elterwater

Best Lake District Walks – Elter Water

View of Langdale Pikes across Elterwater. Credit: alh1.

This walk is a gentle stroll that’s suitable for all ages and abilities, and never ventures more than a few miles from Skelwith Fold. It begins with a visit to two waterfalls: Skelwith Force and Colwith Force. The former is the more compact, while the latter is a multi-spouted series of cascades set against stunning woodland scenery.

After seeing the waterfalls, a short detour brings you to Elterwater – a beautiful little lake nestled in the heart of the Great Langdale valley. The views are breath-taking, so this is a great spot to stop with a picnic before looping back.

Distance: 4 miles

Time: 1-2 hours

Difficulty level: Easy

Loughrigg Fell

Best Lake District Walks – Loughrigg Fell

Loughrigg Fell peeping out through the mist. Credit: Peer Lawther

To the north of Skelwith Bridge lies Loughrigg Fell, a large hill dotted with woodland and tarns, and flanked by water on all sides, with the River Rothay, Rydal Water and Grasmere to the north and River Brathay, Elterwater and Windermere to the south. As one can imagine, this makes for some stunning vistas.

From the bottom of the fell, make your way to Loughrigg Tarn, a small hilltop lake that Wordsworth once compared to “Diana’s looking-glass… round, clear and bright as heaven”. From there, follow signs to the fell’s summit, which gives you a clear view out towards Lake Windermere.

Distance: 6 miles

Time: 3-4 hours

Difficulty level: Moderate

Wansfell Pike

3.Best Lake District Walks – view from Wansfell summit

A walker admires a panoramic view of the Lake District from the Wansfell summit. Credit: Andrew Bowden.

Climbing Wansfell Pike is one the most popular things to do in Ambleside – hardly surprising, given its proximity to the town.

The route up Wansfell Pike from Ambleside is a surprisingly easy ascent. The path runs alongside a ghyll before winding its way up the hillside. The traditional stone walls act as agricultural fencing for the herds of sheep farmed around this area. The ascent offers excellent views towards Fairfield and the Langdales before reaching the Pike’s summit and scrambling along the ridges. At its highest point, altitude surpasses 1,600 ft, so try to time your climb with a clear day to ensure the best views.

Distance: 6.5 miles

Time: 3-4 hours

Difficulty level: Moderate

The Fairfield Horseshoe

View of Rydal Water, Ambleside and Lake Windermere, taken from the Nab Scar summit

View of Rydal Water, Ambleside and Lake Windermere, taken from the Nab Scar summit. Credit: Peer Lawther.

We’ve left the best – and most challenging – until last. The Fairfield Horseshoe starts and ends in Ambleside, taking walkers on a large loop that offers stunning panoramic views across the fells that surround the Rydal Beck valley.

Although it is a high-level walk, the ascent is fairly gentle, and the ridges make for comfortable walking. Overall, the walk includes the peaks of Low Pike, High Pike, Dove Crag, Hart Crag, Fairfield, Great Rigg, Heron Pike and Nab Scar – but don’t worry, you can stop for a pub lunch en route!

Distance: 11 miles

Time: 5-6 hours

Difficulty level: Moderate/hard


We hope you’ve enjoyed this taste of the beautiful Lake District walks that Skelwith Fold has to offer. Want to recommend another walk in the area? Feel free to post on our Facebook page and let us know your favourite route.

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