30 May 2014

The wild, wild west

Bowness, Ambleside and Windermere are great places to visit whilst holidaying in the Lakes, they provide a welcoming environment as a base for your stay. However, for the first time hiker, walking can be a little thin on the ground (no pun intended) and maybe you lack a bit of confidence in finding your way around a Cumbrian fell or negotiating footpaths?

Well I would like to tell you about a neat little bridleway that is situated on the western shore of Lake Windermere, which might seem like a different world when looking at it from Bowness, but I assure you come rain or shine the bridleway is a fantastic introduction to hiking and the transport links to and from it run regularly and like clockwork.

This flat 4 mile walk starts at Ferry house, just under the shadow of the currently in development Claife Viewing station. Viewed as the London Eye of it's day, it was built in 1799, and was the destination for the earliest tourists to the Lake District who would admire the very best view of the Lake through different coloured glass windows. It was deemed as a 'adventurous' place to visit as it took visitors out of their comfort zone and took them to an area that was seemingly inaccessible.

To reach the western shore of the lake, you can board a ferry from either Bowness; Ambleside or Brockhole which will take you down to Ferry House. At this point I reccomend a quick toilet break before setting off on your adventure.

From the toilets and keeping the Lake on your right at all times, follow the road for apx 100metres until you get to a footpath through a gate. Follow this path to a quiet lakeside road and turn right, and quite literally follow your nose.  Eventually the road becomes a track (bridleway) and you just keep heading north for apx 4 miles where you will see finger posts for Wray Castle. By this point you will have worked up a thirst, so nip into the Cafe at Wray Castle for a well earned brew and cake.

Your ferry home can be boarded from the jetty at Wray Castle and you'll have one of the best nights sleep you've had for a long time.

It really is that simple! The views are spectacular along the path, especially at Red Nab and if you don't fancy doing the full route, you can catch a ferry back from Bark Barn which will shorten your journey by one mile.

It's also worth noting that with this path being a bridleway, you can use your bikes.  Windermere cruises provide a bike service. Look at the map attached to alter your route accordingly.

Good luck and enjoy your visit, and if you see any of our Rangers (usually in red) be sure to say hello.

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