One of the joys of visiting the Lake District National Park is being immersed in picture postcard views at every turn. While the views are indeed spectacular there is nothing better than walking a lakeland trail, experiencing not only the majestic vistas but also the sounds and smells of the countryside.
The Trout Hotel in Cockermouth is ideally situated on the edge of the North Western fells within easy reach of some of the Lake District’s most iconic walks. Whether you are looking to experience the high fells or are looking for a gentle stroll after dinner on a summers evening, the Trout is the perfect location.
A Gentle Stroll Around Buttermere
The walk around Buttermere is equally enjoyable as an early morning stroll with the mist slowly lifting off the lake or at the end of a summer’s day with the sun’s rays casting ever changing shadows.
The accessibility of Buttermere makes this a perfect walk for all the family and at just under five miles can be comfortably walked in around 2 – 3 hours.
Starting off from the Bridge Hotel in the centre of the village, you follow the path down towards the lake, passing to the left of The Fish Hotel. From here the path to the lakeside is clear, being gravel most of the way while passing through several gates.
Once you reach the lakeshore bear left and follow the path as it meanders through Burtness Wood. Just over half way along the lake you leave the wood behind coming out onto the fell side, which in Autumn is a spectacular golden orange as the bracken changes colour.
Towards the end of the lake the path crosses fields and over Peggy’s Bridge heading towards Gatesgarth Farm. Once past the farm you come onto the road for a short stretch before once again turning back towards the lake.
Follow the path along the side of the lake and through Crag Wood, once out the other side you come across a most unexpected surprise. The path goes through a narrow tunnel that has been hewn out of the rock, which in summer is cool and welcoming. Once through the tunnel continue on the path back until the end of the lake, where you pass through the national trust field back towards the village.
Dodd Wood Summit and Osprey Viewpoints
Slightly more strenuous than the casual walk around Buttermere is the walk to the top of Skiddaw – Dodd, or Dodd Wood as it’s known locally. The wood is a Forestry Commission plantation and as such has a number of different routes. The main route to the top is the circular Dodd Summit Trail, a three mile circular route that passes through wooded slopes, dramatic open hill and spectacular scenery.
This walk is more strenuous but the rewards are well worth the extra effort, Dodd’s summit gives unrivaled panoramas of Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite Lake, through to the Solway Coast and the hills of Dumfries and Galloway beyond. The views on this walk are simply quite breathtaking!
Rather than follow the Dodd Summit Trail initially we prefer to pick it up after visiting the two osprey viewing points. This route is not quite as steep and we have done it many times when our children were younger.
The starting point is the Old Sawmill Tearoom, which has ample “pay and display” car parking. From the car park follow the signs for the osprey viewpoint, this will take you to the lower of two osprey viewing points. This viewpoint is open daily between 10am – 5pm when the ospreys are resident in the area (April – September). From here you can see them fishing in Bassenthwaite Lake as well as circling above.
The upper viewpoint is approximately half a mile further up the forest track and this is manned by volunteers and gives views down into the nesting area and the nest itself. They do have telescopes available allowing visitors to get a bird’s eye view of the majestic ospreys and their nest.
Once you have left the osprey viewpoint keep on the track and continue heading up keeping to the left at any forks. The track curves to the left eventually coming to the bottom of Carlside Fell where it joins the Dodd Summit Trail. It is here that you join the Summit Trail continuing up out of the tree line towards Dodd’s summit. There are numerous viewpoints from the top of Dodd all giving spectacular views across the lakes and fells.
The top of Dodd Wood has to be one of my favorite picnic spots, just taking the time to sit and soak up the magnificent views and scenery.
In order to return to the car park, retrace your steps back to the spot you joined the Dodd Summit trail just below Cartside Fell. When you get there take the path you left heading down from the top, this is a fairly straight route back to the car park.
Spending time in the fells is the perfect antidote to today’s hectic lifestyles. Helping you to reflect and clear your head away from the constant interruptions of texts, calls and emails. The fells have an uncanny knack of bringing people together while creating memories that will last a lifetime.
If you would like to take a picnic with you on these or any other of the outings from The Trout Hotel, please ask reception for a picnic request form and the chef will make your lunch up for you.