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Rydal Water Walk- a beautiful circular walk

Updated on March 18, 2017

Walk round Rydal Water, a great Lake District walk from White Moss House

This is one of the best short walks in the world.

The Rydal Round circles the lovely lake of Rydal Water, in England's Lake District. It takes most people about 2 hours. You are in the midst of some of the most beautiful scenery in the world- on what is often called the "Wordsworth Walk" in England's Lake District. Part of the walk is the famous "coffin route" from Rydal to Grasmere.

Hiking is my hobby, and this walk around Rydal Water lake is my favorite walk- I do it at least once a week. This hike is different every time- the weather, the seasons, the light, the wildlife- all constantly change the experience. Even on a gloomy winter's day there is lots to enjoy.

This Lake District walk is beautiful at any time of year. As the hike takes less than two hours, it can't really be described as "backpacking" though a good backpack with water, a snack rainwear and a torch is advisable on any hike.

Rydal Water circular walk is a short, low level walk, and it makes an excellent winter holiday walk.

You see all of beautiful Rydal Water lake.

You walk along the famous "coffin road", pass Rydal Mount, where Wordsworth lived when he was rich and famous ( you can visit inside the house and gardens).

You can visit the formal gardens at Rydal Hall, and have a great home made lunch or tea in the Old School Tea Rooms.

You can stop off at the Badger Bar for a local ale and a pub meal.

You can see the famous Rydal Caves

If it's warm , you can swim in the lake, or have a picnic.

If you are visiting the Lake District at Christmas this makes a perfect short winter walk.

If you are visitng the Lake District, take this with you - say hello if you see me!

( all photos are my own, or Cumbria Tourism photos, not for reuse)Intro photo by David Willis, not for reuse.

further note on the photos- if you can't see the photo, please click the link to see it. There is a problem with flickr photos which I am working on

UK readers can buy this essential map here.

The English Lakes: South Eastern Area (OS Explorer Map Series): South Eastern Area (OS Explorer Map Series)

The Ordnance Survey maps of the Lake District are quite simply the best.

The Lake District is divided into four sections, and the map for Grasmere, Rydal, Ambleside and all the area around White Moss House is this one.

Buy it from, and have the map delivered free to your door before you arrive.

White Moss House
White Moss House

Start your Rydal Water walk at White Moss

White Moss is the best starting pont for this walk.

My home, White Moss House, has been a world famous guest house for many years. We're now taking a break, and just enjoying living in such a beautiful spot. You can still rent our Grasmere holiday cottage, called Brockstone for a self catering vacation. The cottage is perched up on the hillside above White Moss, with amazing views.

Otherwise, park at White Moss Car park, on the A591. This is a pay and display car park.

Alternatively you can take a bus, number 555, and ask the driver to drop you at White Moss. Click here for your bus timetable.

Head uphill away from the main road by the side of the postbox.

The start of the Rydal Water walk is steep- it's good for you!

Look for the post box on the main road, on the same side as White Moss House. Keep the post box on your left, and head up the hill, passing the coach house on your right.

will be on your left. Don't go too near. Keep to the right, up the hill.

After about 5 minutes, go through a gate, and carry on up until your reach a path running left to right. There will be a cottage above you. This is our self catering cottage , Brockstone ( brock is an old world for badger)

Picture of White Moss Waterfall is my own. You may pin it, and reuse if you credit me

Brockstone Cottage. You can rent this holiday cottage - just contact me for details.
Brockstone Cottage. You can rent this holiday cottage - just contact me for details. | Source

The Rydal Walk now follows the "Coffin Road"

Turn right on the coffin road and head to Rydal Village.

Turn right in front of Brockstone Cottage

You are welcome to use this photo of Brockstone Cottage from whitemoss at flickr creative commons

This path is the old "coffin route" Lots of Lake District villages ( and also some in other parts of the country such as Cornwall) have "coffin routes" These are the paths used to carry coffins from villages that didn't have a chrurch to the nearest church. From Rydal, the coffins were carried to St Oswald;s Church, Grasmere.

A local historian told me that the bodies were wrapped in a local Kendal wool shroud, not a wooden coffin. This was enforced in a bylaw, to help the Kendal wool trade!

Along the path there are large "coffin stones" to rest the body on. Some of these are still there.

One of the stones on the Coffin Route from Rydal to Grasmere.

A "coffin stone" .
A "coffin stone" .

Don't forget to stop and look at the views

The views from this path are spectacular- over Rydal Water, to Loughrigg, Wansfell, Nab Scar and Silver Howe- beautiful Lake District hills, know locally as "fells"

Where do you start this walk? See White Moss House on the map - White Moss is the start of your walk round Rydal Water

From White Moss to Rydal along the "Coffin Route" path, then back along the shore of Rydal Water. This is a great little hike.

White Moss House my home, once owned by Wordsworth:
LA22 9SE

get directions

On the edge of Rydal Water

Rydal Village- spend some time here.First stop Rydal Mount

Take the chance on your walk to visit Wordsworth's home, Rydal Mount

Picture of Rydal Mount thanks to flickr creative commons

Once you reach Rydal Village, pause and enjoy it.

There are no shops, but there are many interesting things to see- plus refreshments!

You first come to Rydal Mount, the home of William Wordsworth from 1837 to his death in 1870.

Visit the house, see the beautiful gardens, and maybe visit the tearoom.It's a wonderful stop on your walk round Rydal Water.

Next Stop Rydal Hall

Visit the historic Rydal Hall, its gardens and its Tearoom

Across the way is Rydal Hall, built by the wealthy local landowners, the Le Fleming family in the 19th century. The hall was sold to the Diocese of Carlisle in the 1950s, and is now used for a multitude of events, retreats , conference and camping. You can even stay in a yurt!

The photos are thanks to Cumbria Tourism , and may only be used by members. Please do not reuse these photos.

The Gardens at Rydal Hall have been lovingly restored over the last 10 years, and you are welcome to visit and look around them.There is no charge, though donations are requested.

If you feel the need for a home made bowl of soup, great sandwiches and superb home made cakes, then call in at the Old School House, Rydal Hall tearooms.

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Rydal Village has its own Church, St Mary's

There was no church in Rydal when Wordsworth arrived to live there. That's why the "coffin Road" was needed.

William Wordsworth was one of the people who helped raise money to build St Mary's Rydal, and he was later a churchwarden.

This is a lovely small church. The garden was redeveloped and replanted by the people of Rydal Village to commemorate the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002.

Enter the churchyard through the gate on the right of the road, walk round the church and out through the gate to Dora's Field.

William Wordsworth planned to build a house for his daughter, Dora, here, but it was never built. Today in spring, it is a mass of the lttle wild daffodils that Wordsworth loved

Picture of daffodils in Dora's field thanks to Cumbria Tourism. My only be used by members and with permission.

Rydal Village has its own pub, the Badger Bar.

Call in for a pint of local beer.

At the bottom of Rydal Hill, or Dora's field, turn right and you will see the Badger Bar.

Lucky enough to be walking on a hot day? Have a pint and a bar meal in the garden.

Cold, or wet? Pop in and warm up by the log fire in this 17th century pub.

Photo thanks to David Willis and Cumbria Tourism -not for reuse.

From Rydal Village to Rydal lake shore

Photo thanks to Cumbria Tourism , not for reuse.

Cross the road at the Badger Bar, go through the hole in the wall, and cross the River Rothay on the footbridge.

Turn right to Rydal Water, and just keep walking through Rydal woods and then along the lake shore by Rydal Water.

There are lots of places to picnic- or even to swim ( be warned- the water is very cold, even in summer).

Alternative route from Rydal Village taking in Rydal Caves

Cross the road opposite the Badger Bar, and go through the hole in the wall, over the bridge, turn right , through the field and through Rydal woods.

At the end of the wood, you can take the left path, up the hill, which will bring you to Rydal Caves. The National Trust has put a barrier up with a safety warning- most people ignore this ( don't say I told you- its all about Health and Safety!)

Looking out from Rydal cave.

Photo thanks to twak and flickr creative commons

After the cave, walk along the path, forking gently right, until you come to the wall with the kissing gate in it.

Back through White Moss Woods to the start of your walk

At the end of the walk along the lake shore, the path pulls away from the lake and goes uphill. Look for a kissing gate in the wall on your right, and go back down through White Moss woods to the start of your Rydal Water walk.

Picture of the walk through White Moss Woods is mine- you may pin or use if you credit andlink to this page

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This is my favorite walk- from my door! Please let me know what you think-

If you are planning a visit, or have any questions, please leave a message- I'm happy to help!


This is my favorite walk from the door of my home, White Moss House - My favorite local walk the Rydal Round

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    • profile image

      Sarah. Keith & Alfie the Schnauzer. 

      2 years ago

      Hi Sue;

      My daughter lives in Ambleside and attends uni here. We are up from Essex for the week... most days Charlotte has been our tour guide but today she has lectures all day. I jumped on line and found your descriptive walk details. What a great walk we had with easy to follow instructions, historic info and wonderful scenic views. Thank you so much. Looking forward to doing it again. S X

    • LoriBeninger profile image


      7 years ago

      Lovely pictures, lovely lens. I haven't been to the Lake District in more than 20 years...but were I to return, White Moss House will be a destination.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very nice lens about a beautiful place!

      Reading it made me think to take a short trip up the mountains, feel the fresh air, the spring spirit and simply enjoy the beauty of nature! :)

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 

      9 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      What a beautiful place. I would love to walk the Rydal Round.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      9 years ago from Colorado

      Beautiful! I'd love to take several walks in your corner of the world. :-)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      It looks like such a beautiful place to visit.

      Gorgeous photos.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      The Lake District is one part of our lovely country that I have never visited and I really must put that right. This looks like just the sort of walk we would enjoy, particularly as I love waterfalls.

      Beautiful lens :)

    • Grasmere Sue profile imageAUTHOR

      Sue Dixon 

      10 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      @anonymous: You're right Simon- I must remember not to take it for granted.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      when you live somewhere like this it must be easy to find inspiration to make great lenses like this one. Thanks for the insite.

    • Grasmere Sue profile imageAUTHOR

      Sue Dixon 

      10 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      @pkmcruk: Thank you phmcr for your visit and comments- much appreciated.

    • Grasmere Sue profile imageAUTHOR

      Sue Dixon 

      10 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      @anonymous: Thanks Tipi, the cave is a great attraction.

    • Grasmere Sue profile imageAUTHOR

      Sue Dixon 

      10 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      @LouiseKirkpatrick: Thanks CDT- it is a lovely place, but sometimes it would be nice to have the facilities of a town!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Beautiful place to take a walk. I am drawn to the cave, got a thing for them.

    • Grasmere Sue profile imageAUTHOR

      Sue Dixon 

      10 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      @paperfacets: I'm glad you like the walk- thank you for your visit.

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 

      10 years ago from La Verne, CA

      This is a nice tour. Doing it for real would be wonderful.

    • LouiseKirkpatrick profile image


      10 years ago from Lincolnshire, United Kingdom

      Oh WOW - imagine having all that literally on your doorstep! I am sooooooooooo jealous!!

      (I live in Slough you see, which is about as far from "scenic" as you can get). Anytime you want to do a house swap though, just say the word... ;)

      Glorious...simply glorious :)

    • pkmcruk profile image


      10 years ago from Cheshire UK

      What a stunning lens about a stunning area and delighted to hear your news about it in the SquidU Forum - now have this picture of you dancing your way along the walk :-)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I'm doing this walk today! I've printed it off- maybe I'll see you!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I've never heard of this, but it looks like an amazing place! I'd love to visit someday.

    • semas profile image


      10 years ago

      Fabulous walk! 5*-I would love to visit your place!

    • Grasmere Sue profile imageAUTHOR

      Sue Dixon 

      10 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      Thanks to you all for your visit- glad you enjoyed it!

    • oztoo lm profile image

      oztoo lm 

      10 years ago

      Yes, I agree. Your lenses make me want to visit too. What a beautiful walk.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Your lenses always make me want to visit!

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 

      10 years ago from Washington KS

      Your lenses are always visually beautiful and intriguing. Wish I could visit there.


    • RuthCoffee profile image

      Ruth Coffee 

      10 years ago from Zionsville, Indiana

      Absolutely fabulous! You live in such a beautiful place, thank you so much for sharing these photos.


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