This medium length walk takes us from the pretty but busy village of Hawkshead to the unusual National Trust house of Wray Castle, using a series of surprisingly quiet footpaths. On the way we pass Blelham Tarn twice, and briefly visit the shore of Windermere.
Length: 6 miles
Map: Lakes South East
Last Walked: April 2013
We start at the pay and display car parks at the southern end of Hawkshead
1: SD 353 980
From the car park head back onto the road, turn left and follow the footpath alongside the road. When the road turns sharply to the left look out for a public right of way on the opposite side of the road. Turn right onto this right of way and follow it past some buildings. Our path crosses a footbridge, then turns left to run alongside the stream. Turn right at the next junction and follow the path into a wet field. Head across this field to a dry way across another stream and a gate into another field Turn left in this field and follow the footpath up to a lane. Turn left onto the lane, then almost immediately right. Follow this path through three fields until it reaches a minor road.
2: SD 356 990
Turn left onto the lane, then right onto a signposted right of way (just past some farm buildings). Follow this path as it runs along a track. This brings us to the first of two large fields - follow the footpath signs across both of these fields, aiming for the far corner in both cases. At the end of the second field follow the path as it runs around the right-hand edge of a smaller field then onto another minor road.
3: SD 363 998
Turn left onto this minor road and follow it towards Hole House. At the house the road turns right while a right of way continues on straight ahead - follow this right of way as it runs along a lane and then a clear footpath all the way to another minor road.
4: NY 371 004
Turn left onto this road and follow it towards the gateway to Wray Castle. Just before we reach the gate a recently resurfaced footpath branches off to the right, passing to the right of a church. Turn onto this path and follow it down to High Wray Bay on the western shore of Windermere.
5: NY 375 004
Turn left at the lake and follow a permissive footpath through the grounds of Wray Castle. After about a quarter of a mile Wray Castle comes into sight on a rise head of the path - at this point the path splits - take the left-hand branch which climbs up towards the castle (National Trust).
6: NY 375 010
After exploring Wray Castle follow the drive back to the road.
7: NY 371 007
Turn right onto the road and follow it downhill. At the base of the drop the road curves to the left and climbs gently. After a short distance take a permissive footpath to the left of the road.
8: NY 369 009
This brings us to a public right of way that heads left away from the road, towards Blelham Tarn. Turn left onto this track. After a short distance the track splits - take the left-hand branch (the right hand branch heads across private land to Randy Pike). Follow this track as it runs west/ south-west, with Blelham Tarn to the left. Ignore the permissive footpath at the western end of the tarn and follow the track as it runs through Spicka Coppice.
9: SD 355 999
The track eventually emerges onto the main road to Hawkshead just to the north of Outgate. We can avoid part of the road by following a footpath through a small Woodland Trust forest. At the end of this woodland continue straight ahead along a track then turn right to come back to the road. Turn left onto the road and follow it past the Outgate pub.
10: SD 355 997
Turn left onto a footpath on the far side of the Inn. This path runs through a series of narrow fields, then passes the end of an impressive garden (held up by large slate slabs) and emerges into the corner of a large park-like field (ignore a second path that branches off to the left, heading east).
Follow this path south across this field. This brings us to a short band of woodland. On the far side of the woods the path splits - turn onto the right-hand path and follow it to another country lane.
11: SD 354 991
Turn right onto this land, and follow it downhill until you reach a track that branches off to the left. Turn left onto this track and follow it until you reach a footpath that heads off to the right (this is the path we used near the start of the walk). Follow this path through two fields then turn right to return to the wet field from earlier - head diagonally and left across this field and follow the path back into Hawkshead.