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Walking Windermere and Claife Heights

April 1, 2014

On one of those odd bright days we have been having recently, we walked down the shores of Windermere from Wray Castle to the Claife Viewing Station and returned along the high woodland path along the edge of Claife Heights.Walking Windermere and Claife Heights 009

Much of Windermere is difficult to access for the walker. The main roads are off-putting and there is an awful lot of private grounds – thank you all those Victorian industrialists who settled there – and pathless woods.  Much of Windermere is very busy and quieter corners are hard to access.

But all of these caveats are as nothing as you ramble the north-western corner of Windermere, from the National Trust car park at Wray Castle -free and the grounds open  dawn to dusk. Here is a beautiful path along the edge of the water, with quite excellent views across Windermere to the Fairfield Horseshoe, Wansfell Pike and the busier eastern banks of England’s largest lake.

On such a fine day there were a few people about, but nothing compared to the teeming hordes that would have been thronging Bowness.Walking Windermere and Claife Heights 013

We wandered the shores southwards, nearly to the ferry landing before heading uphill to the viewing station at Claife. Okay, you can’t actually go in at the moment as the National Trust is carrying out a massive renovation. But you can see from the views just why it was built at this spot – a place where early Victorian tourists would come to linger and soak up the sights.

On then, very steeply uphill, through the woodlands below Red Brow and along to the old packhorse trail leading from Windermere to Far Sawrey – how often Beatrix Potter, that saviour of much of Lakeland, must have wandered this way.

Then on to open ground along ancient pathways, past an entrancing unnamed little tarn and on to to a high path running a couple of miles through the Heald woodland and down to Belle Grange.Walking Windermere and Claife Heights 017

Such grand views across to Bowness and School Knott, and then the western peaks of the Kentmere Horsehoe – Yoke, Ill Bell, Froswick, Thornthwaite Crag and distant High Street.

After Belle Grange a quiet stroll back along the shores of Windermere to Wray Castle.

If you want to get the feel of the real Windermere, then this is the walk to do. You almost expect the Swallows and Amazons to beach their boats on the sands or come running through the woods disguised as pirates.Walking Windermere and Claife Heights 020

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 1, 2014 8:52 pm

    I haven’t done Claife Heights yet – or anything else much around that area. I think it’s one of the Wainwright Outliers though so it will be on the cards sometime in the future. You look to have got a great day there 🙂
    Carol.

  2. April 2, 2014 6:59 am

    Quite a lot to explore in this area. The free parking at Wray helps.

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