Ennerdale: An Outdoor Lover’s Paradise
There are walks to suit all levels of ability; the only limit is your imagination. How about a walk along the shoreline of one of the nearby lakes? Heckbarley is only 1 mile from Ennerdale Water. Loweswater can be reached in 15 minutes by car, whilst Buttermere is a 30 minute drive away. For the more adventurous fell walker, the opportunities locally are endless. You can also walk along the cliffs at St. Bees Head. For some of our own local walk ideas click here.
Ennerdale Water is two and half miles long and 148 feet deep and the water is crystal clear. Most of the shoreline is owned by the National Trust and the woods by the Forestry Commission. Unlike most major lakes in the Lake District, no public road runs along the shore, making Ennerdale a peaceful haven for wildlife.
The Hidden Places of the Lake District and Cumbria Guide book writes of Ennerdale Water: “This is truly a hidden place lying in the secluded valley of Ennerdale which has limited access by car. Tranquil and quiet, the lake and valley offer superb walks around the shore and along river banks, valley paths and forest tracks which together offer a tremendous variety suitable for all ages and capabilities. Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk runs the whole length of Ennerdale and the general consensus is that this section is by far the most beautiful“.
From the carpark and picnic area at Bowness Knott there is a choice of way-marked forest trails and stunning views across the lake to Crag Fell and Anglers Crag. The nearest car park to Heckbarley is at the weir. An entire circuit of the lakeshore takes several hours, a highlight being the traverse of the rocky outcrop, Anglers Crag. No boating is permitted on the lake, as the water is a reservoir providing drinking water for Whitehaven.
Ennerdale is a long glacial valley with its origins as a stream high beneath the severe crags of Great Gable. The head of the valley is at the well named Windy Gap between Green and Great Gables. Looking west the valley extends some eight miles to the western end of Ennerdale Water. The valley enjoys thrilling ridge walks on both its northern and southern flanks (High Stile ridge to the North and Haycock, Steeple and Pillar to the South). For long expeditions, a mountain bike may prove useful for the approach by track as far as Ennerdale YHA at High Gillerthwaite. There are also routes onto little known fells such as Blake Fell, Heckbarley, Grike and Haycock.
The demanding Ennerdale Horseshoe fell race takes runners on a 27 mile circuit along both ridges. Click here for a description of the Ennerdale Round (reastically this is a 2 day expedition! – if you fancy an overnight adventure why not book into the YHA’s best kept secret in the Lakes, Black Sail Hut tel: 07711 108450).
Loweswater, the smallest of the Lakes, is one and a quarter miles long and half a mile wide, by 60 feet deep. This quiet lake, owned by the National trust, has a splendid walk around its shoreline. The north shore is wooded with the best views from the far end of the lake. Loweswater is famous for its wildflowers and bluebell woods usually at their best in late May early June.
“Buttermere is a beautiful lake set in a dramatic landscape. To many, particularly connoisseurs of the Lake District landscape, this is the most splendid of them all. The walk around Buttermere gives superb views of the eastern towers of Fleetwith Pike and the great fell wall made up of High Crag, High Stile, and Red Pike.” – The Hidden Places of the Lake District & Cumbria.
Buttermere is one and a half miles long, three quarters of a mile wide and 75 feet deep and owned by the National Trust. You can hike over from Ennerdale or drive round and park in the village. The walks from Buttermere are superlative: a circuit of the lake is a delight, whilst fells such as Haystacks, Fleetwith Pike and High Stile also beckon.
Larger than its neighbour Buttermere, Crummock Water is less frequented. The stroll from Buttermere village to the lake is a delight and more intrepid explorers can hike to Scale Force.
The classic climbs of Pillar Rock, Kern Knotts, Napes Needle and Burtness Combe are within easy reach, making this an ideal location for anyone wanting to try some of the routes of the early pioneers of Lakeland rock climbing.
Trekking for all ages and abilities available at Ennerdale.
The cottage is not far from the Whitehaven to Ennerdale cyclepath, a 10 mile long surfaced route, with unique sculptures providing interest along the way. This track is part of the C2C cycle route, the jewel of Sustrans national cycle network. For more off-road cycling, Ennerdale forest offers rides on sheltered, low level forest tracks and Whinlatter Forest Park also has a network of surfaced trails.
Boating and fishing are possible on several local lakes. Fishing permits and boats for hire:
Loweswater – Mr. & Mrs. Leck, Water End Farm, Loweswater (01946) 861465
Buttermere – Mr. & Mrs. Parker, Dalegarth, Buttermere (017687) 70233
Crummock Water – Mrs. McKenzie, Woodhouse, Buttermere
In the Summer you can visit the nesting Ospreys at Whinlatter Forest Park, near Bassenthwaite Lake. Or for seabirds and the chance to see a puffin (if you’re lucky!) visit the RSPB clifftop reserve at St. Bees Head.
View more pictures in the gallery