We all know that getting active is beneficial to our health and walking is one of the best ways. Harvard Medical School says that just 20 minutes walking a day can boost your immune function, which is extremely important right now. However, with all the stresses of working from home, juggling childcare and adhering to lock-down rules our mental health can take a quite a hit. It’s time to get away and escape to the Lake District.
Taking time to pause and appreciate the wonder of nature and our surroundings can have a positive effect on your health. According to research performed by UCSF and Trinity College Dublin, taking just a 15 minute “Awe Walk”, a week can give ‘increased positive emotions and less distress’ in your daily life.
We’ve curated five awe-inspiring walks which will help you to disconnect from your busy lives and enjoy nature in all of its dramatic beauty.
Orrest Head, Windermere
2.7 miles | 1 hour | Parking available in Windermere
Orrest Head is so awe-inspiring that it transformed Wainwright’s life. This was his first walk in the Lake District and so it’s the perfect place to start your walking journey.
Setting off from the railway station, you’ll weave your way through Elleray Woods and the Heywood Memorial stones. Take time to appreciate all the textures and colours that Autumn brings to the woods. At the summit, you’ll find dramatic views over Windermere and the Wainwright Diorama which gives you a pictorial guide of the fells in front of you.
Catbells, near Keswick
3.7 miles | 2 hours | Parking area near Hawse End
Catbells sits just outside Keswick and is a popular walk for many visiting the area. While it can be steep, with a little scramble to start, the paths are clearly defined and so suitable for most walkers. You ascend from Hawse End to Skelgill Bank, where you are faced with a small but easy scramble before striding on to reach the summit.
The view from Catbells provides a feast for the eyes with views to the north of Skiddaw and Blencathra. Keswick and Derwentwater lie below with Maiden Moor and High Spy fells to the rear. When you’ve taken in the views, make your way down the path to Hause Gate and then onto the Catbells Bridleway. Here you’ll find a bench where you can sit, have a drink and take in the view over Derwentwater.
Lanthwaite Wood & Crummock Water, Loweswater
4 miles | 2.5 hours | National Trust Car Park at Lanthwaite Wood
This walk not only provides a sense of peace and awe but also a chance to see relics of the past. Enjoy the gentle sounds of the River Cocker as you wend your way along the path to its source and Crummock Water.
Along the shores of Crummock Water lookout for signs of early industry including a kiln and bloomery site where iron used to be produced. Take time to appreciate the views of Lad Hows, Rannerdale Knotts, High Stile, Red Pike and Mellbreak.
You will then make your way through High Wood, along the base of Brackenthwaite Fell and towards Liza Beck where you’ll find an Iron Age homestead at Lanthwaite Common. You will then follow the edge of Lanthwaite Wood to Brackenthwaite Hows, which was once a popular Victorian viewing station. The perfect place to stop and enjoy the view.
Dodd Wood and Fell, nr Keswick
5 miles | 3-4 hours | Pay and Display Car Park at Dodd Wood
On the edge of Bassenthwaite Lake, under the shadow of Skiddaw, sits Dodd Wood and Dodd Fell. The wood is looked after by the Forestry Commission, there are plenty of well-marked paths if you fancy a shorter walk. However, combining the two means you can revel in a spot of forest bathing but also marvel at the awe-inspiring views of West Cumbria.
The path through the Dodd Wood is marked clearly so you can enjoy your surroundings. Look out for red squirrels and ospreys as you wind your way through ancient Douglas Fir trees. Once you reach the summit of Dodd Fell you will be treated to a never-ending vista of the western Lake District. On a clear day you will see Derwentwater, Bassenthwaite Lake, the Solway Coast and even the hills of Dumfries and Galloway. Not to mention the many fells including Catbells, Helvellyn, Scafell Pike and Great Gable.
Ennerdale Water, Ennerdale
6.5 miles | 3.5 hours | Car Park at Bowness Knott
This walk is one of West Cumbria’s best-kept secrets and perfect for a good amble to blow the cobwebs away. The paths are well-formed and the majority of the walk is easy-going with just one scramble.
There is plenty to see, so it’s best to immerse yourself in the surroundings and turn off any distractions. The area is of European conservation importance and includes many special habitats. While you walk, look out for wildlife including red squirrels, cuckoo, deer and peregrine.
As you walk around the lake, the path will take you to Angler’s Crag which is a short scramble but worth it for the view. It’s worth taking some time to sit and Look over Ennerdale and the dramatic fells of Great Borne, Bowness Knott, Starling Dodd and Knock Murton.
Now you’ve heard all the benefits of an escape to the Lake District, why not book your stay at the Trout Hotel.