Today we had a really fab family walk at Ennerdale Water, in the north west Lake District. We parked up in the medium sized free car park at GR 109154 on OS map OL4.
From here there’s an easy, well sign posted 2 mile long trail along the lake shore, including a short loop up to the Smithy Beck water falls and bridge and back to the car park. The official trail guide for this walk can be found here.
Being the adventurous types, we decided we would try and get to the top of Bowness Knott, which looms behind the lake, offering spectacular views. On the official trail, you don’t actually cross the river at Smithy Beck Bridge…
But, if you want to get to Bowness Knott, like we did, you cross over and follow the forestry trails all the way up to a quarry (see annotated map photo below). The path up to this point was easy. Nice wide track and gently uphill. However, once past the quarry, the path steadily disappeared and it was a case of following our noses over the bumpy and lumpy ground, and just keep heading up to the top.
The children were starving by now, so we cheated a bit and had our picnic on the top of the mound just before the actual top. Kids didn’t notice, views were still spectacular and it meant we didn’t have to carry our 2 year old over the difficult terrain any further! In addition to this, we were the ONLY people there on a bank holiday weekend! Ennerdale is such a quiet, peaceful spot.
We re-traced our steps back to the bridge at Smithy Beck and rejoined the red trail back along the lake shore towards the car park. Our excursion to Bowness Knott added 2 miles onto our walk, making it 4 in total. You could of course just do the shorter, easier 2 mile trail.
Just before you get to the car park, it is well worth taking the small footpath down to the “hidden beach” at GR 110152. Kids went for a paddle, threw stones and we enjoyed the utter peace. You can’t hear roads, railways or anything from this spot!
There are several other trail guides for this area, including a circular route round the entire lake, an out and back on the Liza path to the east and the Sawdust Lonning trail at the western end of the lake. They can all be found on the Wild Ennerdale website.
We headed off to Ennerdale Bridge to visit the Fox & Hounds, but it’s worth noting that they only serve food until 2pm. So we went to the Shepherds Arms Hotel instead. The grub was delicious, home made and we got a warm feeling from the place, with friendly staff and a relaxed environment.
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