Those familiar with Ullswater may be aware of a lovely stroll called the Ullswater Way. Becoming increasingly famous over the years, news of the walk has reached far flung corners of the globe to the extent where it may be more heard of than the lake it was designed to highlight.
To call the Ullswater Way a stroll is a slight understatement, as the 20 mile round trek of the lake would take the best part of anyone’s day. The stunning views you can get to without any real hiking however is unlike any other in the UK, and the variation in routes allows for a variety of walkers to feel confident taking up the challenge.
The centre piece of the walk is Ullswater itself, a ginormous body of water. Although the full 20 miles is something I would always recommend to put on the bucket list and a must for any avid walker who is able, the walk can be divided into smaller legs with the help of the Ullswater ‘Steamers’. The boats stop at four piers (Glenridding, Pooley Bridge, Howtown, and Aira Force) allowing for walkers (and their dogs!) to see more of the lake without all the leg work.
One of our favourite walks at the moment is the newly added Dalemain Loop. The walk can be picked up from Waterfoot Park if you are staying there, however can be started from multiple points due to the walk being a “Loop”. It may not be where you start, but its definitely a good place to finish being nearby to the cosy and rustic Horse & Farrier Pub – the perfect way to soothe sore walker’s feet.
Also known as the ‘Four Bears Marmalade Trail’ , the Dalemain Loop is situated at the North end of the lake. The whimsical walk takes in the stately Mansion of Dalemain and the ancient church of Dacre, with its four enigmatic stone bears (hence the name).
For those bringing along dogs too – on a hot day there are a few streams to jump in and out of to cool down too. The lakes are ideal for hounds that love a paddle in the summer as water levels are usually lower (so they won’t get swept away), and the risks of algae are low. As a rough rule of thumb, running water is usually safer for dogs than still bodies of water due to algae populations. Although the risk is generally low anyway, always take caution when out and about with your four legged friends! We usually go by the rule of “If I won’t drink it, they shouldn’t either!”. Do note however that the application of this rule is fairly limited, as there’s lots of things that Mags pictured here does that we definitely wouldn’t do…
Once you’ve taken in some heritage, a favourite walk for another day is the Pooley Bridge to Howtown stretch of the Ullswater Way. We wanted to get our steps up that day so ended up adding the new Lowther Loop into the mix to see some more historic sites and get some stunning views whilst we were at it.
This walk sets off from Pooley Bridge (again, only a 5 minute walk from Waterfoot Park if you happen to be staying there), and let’s you explore the historical Askham village, tranquil woodland, and the River Lowther. Look out for important archaeological sites on Moor Divock, including ancient cairns, burial mounds, standing stones, and ‘High Street’ Roman Road, including the Roman Seat. On a clear day you can also enjoy views of Ullswater and the Helvellyn mountain range from Askham Fell.
Coming back down we then went to Howtown Pier to get there just in time to get the Ullswater ‘Steamer’ back to Pooley Bridge for our well deserved dinner!