This route offers spectacular views of some of the Lake District’s most iconic landmarks without requiring walkers to follow any overly difficult terrain. Though tricky in places the route offers some amazing views and more than rewards the obstacles to be overcome.
Circular | 8.9km (5.5 miles) | Difficulty: Medium
|Please note that the route given is a rough guide and should not be relied upon solely when planning a walk. Remember to plan ahead, get a proper map and ensure you have the right equipment.|
The route starts in the Glencoyne Valley where there is easy to access to a National Trust car park but could also be started in the village of Glenridding. The route is detailed assuming walkers follow it anti-clockwise. Following the route this way from Glencoyne means the ascent isn’t too steep and is tackled early. The route is short but the gradual ascent and later steep descent make it quite tricky in places.
1: From the car park the route follows the path South next to the wall which follows the road to Glenridding. Eventually this path stops and walkers will need to cross the road to follow it for a short while along the lakeside before it climbs back up to the road and crosses it again. The route then follows the track leading uphill towards Seldom Seen.
2: After passing some houses the track climbs away from the Glencoyne Wood and along Glencoyne Valley, slowing ascending up Bleabank Side. Eventually the track splits in two, the route follows the track to the left which continues climbing uphill for a short distance.
3: Walkers have a choice, they can continue straight ahead in bad weather along a track which eventually leads down into the Glenridding valley or can otherwise continue towards the peak of Sheffield Pike by following the track heading uphill on the left. (The OS Map only shows the track down to the Glenridding valley but the track up to the pike is the much clearer one in reality.) The track up to the pike traverses some moorland, which is very boggy in places, and a few steep sections before reaching the summit. From here walkers get a clear view of Helvellyn and can look back to see Ulswater too.
4: The route now heads South East across the plateau at the summit then heads downhill towards Heron Pike. There are a few faint tracks to follow along this section, as long as walkers head towards Heron Pike they should come across the track the route follows for the descent. The track to follow down for the next section can be found near the small tarns next to Heron Pike. The route doesn’t actually go to Heron Pike but passes by it. However, walkers can choose to visit it for a view of the descent before returning to the route.
5: The route now follows a track down from Heron Pike towards Glenridding. This descent is difficult as the track in places is stony, muddy and quite steep. Walkers are advised to take their time on the way down. The route follows the track near the top of the South side of ridge until it crosses over the top after a brief bog and follows a descent down along the North side. This part is deceivingly difficult as the track disappears and walkers must navigate mossy rocks and muddy sections along the edge of a steep field before they reach the wall at the bottom. Once reaching the wall walkers should follow it to the right till they reach the gap in it.
6: Walkers now have 3 options. If they have had enough they can head left and follow the track which descends through Glencoyne Wood and leads them back to towards Ulswater where they can follow the road North back to the car park. If walkers still have enough energy they can climb the track to the left which goes to the top of Glenridding Dodd for another peak to conquer before doubling back to this point. Otherwise the route heads South and descends further towards the Valley floor. This descent isn’t as bad as the previous section’s but walkers are still advised to take their time and be extra careful.
7: Once reaching the road walkers are advised to head downhill towards Ulswater and into the village of Glenridding. There are several routes walkers can follow through the village, the most simple is to follow the same road all the way to its end and head right at the end and across the bridge. Here walkers can find refreshments or souvenirs at the shops and cafés.
8: The final section is long but relatively flat and straight forward. It follows the main road North out of Glenridding. Walkers could stick to the road but the pavement at the side disappears after a while so the route follows the safer option of crossing the road and following a lakeside path found shortly after leaving Glenridding. This path follows the edge of the lake with a few ups and downs before leading back onto the road. Walkers must follow the road a short distance until a path to the right appears again. The route then follows the path which continues along the road side. This eventually takes walkers back to a path followed at the start of this route which leads across the road and back to the car park.
As Glenridding sits on this route there are many options for getting to it by public transport (such as by bus or by boat from Pooley Bridge). There is accommodation available in Glenridding in addition to the options it offers for refreshment. The rocky and marshy sections of this route make it unsuitable for the worst of the winter weather and during the summer the paths may become difficult to follow on top of the pike with the heather covering it, but otherwise this route is well suited for any time in the year.