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Twelve Stunning Winter Walks in the Lake District

20 November 2016

When visiting the Lake District, going for a beautiful scenic walk is probably one of the first things that springs to mind when planning activities. The area truly is outstandingly beautiful, with its towering mountains, lakes, tarns, and valleys. Every corner you turn reveals another picturesque view more stunning than the last.

But what about in the cold, wet, winter months? Should you hang up your walking boots for the season and return to the fells once spring returns? Our answer to that question is a resounding no, as winter hikes are just as stunning as those in summer. The landscape transforms into a winter wonderland, and the crisp air and unique winter light is well worth experiencing.

So whether you want to climb up a snow covered mountain, or opt for something a little gentler and less treacherous, we’ve picked out twelve beautiful walks in the Lake District this winter!

Castlerigg Stone Circle

The Lake Districts answer to Stone Henge, the Castlerigg Stone Circle is well worth visiting in the winter with its panoramic views of the surrounding snowcapped peaks of Helvellyn, Skiddaw, Grasmoor, and Blencathra. The circle itself is made of local metamorphic slate, and is only a short walk from Keswick. Although there is not much walking to be done, it is well worth seeing the site in the winter.

Derwentwater Lakeshore

One of the miles without stiles routes which is suitable for all, this beautiful walk around the shore of Derwentwater is five miles long but can be shortened easily. The surrounding woodland is beautiful in the winter, particularly when there are still colourful leaves to be seen, and the terrain is very easy to navigate, with plenty of tarmac and stone.

Sticklebarn Blea Tarn Trail

An easy and safe walk, this is a great one for people of all abilities and offers the chance to take in some spectacular views of Lingmoor and Pike of Blisco in any season. This 1.8-mile walk will take you between one and two hours.

Easedale Tarn

Another easy one, this lovely wander from Grasmere up to Easedale Tarn will take you a little over two hours, and is suitable for walkers for any ability. Not too challenging in the winter months, and with lovely views from the summit, as well as a waterfall on the route, this is a great walk to try.

Sizergh Wildlife Walk

This wonderful walk from Sizergh Castle is a great family walk, and will be enjoyed by those who love wildlife as there is plenty to see in all seasons. This will take around two hours, and is an easy wander. A simple circular with plenty to see, in a quiet corner of the Lakes.

Latterbarrow from Hawkshead

Hawkshead is a great place to begin and end a winter walk, as there are lots of pubs to unwind in afterwards, with the Queen’s Head being a favourite with a lovely fire. The relatively short wander up to the summit of Latterbarrow hill offers views of Coniston, and is crowned by a tall beacon.

Hodge Close

This one is a dog friendly walk, and offers an insight into the industrial history of the area as well as fantastic views of the Langdale Pikes and nearby fells. Taking around two hours, this circular walk one of the most beautiful winter walks in the Lake District.

Aira Force

In the winter when there is typically more rain and groundwater, Aira Force is almost even more impressive than usual. With fantastic woodland walks, and several superb waterfalls, you can choose a longer or shorter walk depending on how much time you have and your ability.

Wansfell Pike, Ambleside

The walk from Ambleside up Wansfell Pike is quite easy to navigate, and straightforward. Though the climb is steep, it is hard to go wrong, and the views from the Pike are breathtaking. There is quite a lot of available parking in Ambleside, making it accessible.

Kentmere Horseshoe

This walk is possibly even better in the winter than it is in the summer time, as the fells look stunning in the snow. As parking is difficult in Kentmere, there will be less competition for a spot to leave your vehicle in the winter. The round walk features nine Wainwright summits, and incredible views of Lake Windermere, Morecambe Bay, Kentmere Reservoir, and the surrounding fells.

Red Screes

Red Screes is a great walk in the winter time, although directly ascending from Kirkstone Pass makes for a steep climb, and a bit of a challenge. For a slightly easier route, we recommend parking in Ambleside and beginning your walk from there. Enjoy views of Kirkstone Pass, The Struggle, and a tarn at the summit, which may be frozen in the winter.

Helvellyn from Wythburn

Unlike the somewhat more treacherous ascent from Striding Edge, this 8-mile walk is a great route to take in the winter. Helvellyn tends to catch the first snows of the winter, and although you have to take care to avoid any cornice that might form in the winter, the views from its 950m summit are impressive.

We hope this has given you some ideas for great places to go for a walk this winter, no matter what your ability and confidence levels are. Check out this great article from BMC on mistakes winter walkers make and how you can avoid them, and stay safe on Winter Walks in the Lake District.