Ambleside, Lake District Sunday 24th March 2013

Today’s Walks

These walks were cancelled because of bad weather conditions – ice and extensive snowdrifts.

Strenuous Leader: Jimmy Need     Distance: about 10 miles

First port of call is Skelghyll Wood which will bring us up to Skelsick Scar, followed by Jenkin Crag – nice viewing point here. We then make our way over to the hundreds for a little flirt. From here Wansfell and Wansfell Pike open up in front of us. We make our way down off Wansfell, to and through, Stockghyll Park and Strawberry Wood back to Ambleside.

Moderate Leader: Cynthia & Dave Prescott     Distance: 8 miles, Height Gain 210 metres

This walk is described as ‘An inspiring low level walk, amidst beautiful Lakeland fells and woodland, with magnificent views across Wordsworth country’. We would not quite call it ‘low level’ as you go uphill on a number of sections, but it is a walk with great scenery, which encircles Loughrigg Fell rather than climbing up to the top.

From the park in Ambleside we head up to Ivy Crag and then down to Loughrigg Tarn. We go up the lane and then on to Loughrigg Terrace where the views over Grasmere and Rydal Water are wonderful. The walk passes the caves before heading down to Pelter Bridge and then follows the lanes and tracks back to Ambleside.

Leisurely Leader: Derek Lee     Distance: 7 miles

We start by passing the Roman fort and following the river to Rothay Bridge, then skirting Ambleside and through Rothay Park to join the minor road to Rydal and along the side of Rydal Water. We then cross the river and main road and return along the coffin road to Rydal, through Rydal Park and back to Ambleside. There then remains a half mile bonus walk back to the coach at Waterhead.

Easy Leader: Hazel Anderton & Ruth Melling     Distance: 6 miles

Waterfalls, woodland and wonderful views. We wanted to find a walk that is different from what the other groups are doing, and it is a bit longer than usual as we have to make our way into the centre of Ambleside before starting the walk proper. But there is a cut off point to make the walk a lot shorter if needed. Firstly we walk along the valley past Stockghyll Falls and then turn north and walk, following another stream, as far as a little packhorse bridge called High Sweden, before turning back to Ambleside. Much of the walk is quite good underfoot and there are only a few stiles. We do quite a bit of rising but most is gentle. If you want to start with the usual refreshments, we recommend the hostelries near the coach. A bit dearer than normal but the toilets are far better than the ones in the car park.

Notes On The Area

Once a mill town whose becks and rivers provided power for waterwheels, Ambleside long ago made its peace with visitors and started to provide for their needs. There are book shops, outdoor pursuit shops and gift shops too numerous to mention, whilst the streets throng with people spilling off the pavements, and cars gyrating in a gigantic roundabout. But in spite of all this, Amblesude still retains its charm. The architecture is principally that of a Victorian town, whilst up the hill leading to the Kirkstone Pass some houses date from the 15th Century. The earliest sign of man, however, is much earlier as the Romans built their fort, Galava, on the shores of Windermere. There are no impressive columns or walls still standing, for only a few stones remain poking through the grass, but nevertheless they are a reminder that Ambleside has been inhabited for nigh on a thousand years.

In the centre of Ambleside the quaint little Bridge House, built over the River Rothay like something out of a fairy tale, dates from the 17th Century. It was probably a summer house for Ambleside Hall, though in 1843 Chairy Rigg lived here with his wife and six children. With one room up and one room down, how they all fitted in is a mystery. An attractive subject for any artist who can brave the inquisitive passers by, it was painted by JMW Turner on one of his northern tours. In 1926 it was bought by the National Trust and in 1956 became its very first information and recruiting centre in the country.

Stockghyll Force, a popular beauty spot from Victorian times, still has the remains of the railed viewpoints where Victorian ladies stood to admire the scene. It is well worth visiting after heavy rain. Beside the stream, one of the old mills has been converted to holiday flats.

In the Ice Age, the undulating top of Loughrigg Fell was scraped clean by glaciers, leaving a landscape of bare rocky outcrops and boggy hollows, now occupied by tarns and pools. Though little over a thousand feet in height, and barely a square mile in extent, there is more scenery packed into Loughrigg Fell than practically anywhere else in Lakeland.