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Looking east across Windermere to Bowness in the mist from the path on the top edge of Heald Wood
Looking east across Windermere to Bowness in the mist from the path on the top edge of Heald Wood

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Route No. 459 - Monday 5 March 2012
Bowness Ferry, Claife station, Claife Heights,
Belle Grange, Windermere lakeside circuit - 9km
English Lake District . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL7 The English Lakes South-eastern area


Car par full of boats near the ferry
Car par full of boats near the ferry

Almost all of the car park was taken up by yachts on their trailers but we managed to find a parking bay and then walked a few hundred metres along the road to the ferry. As foot passengers it cost us 50p each to make the crossing of lake Windermere to the Hawkshead side.

This week we're staying in a holiday cottage in the Lake District with my wife's two sisters and their husbands. Today my two brothers-in-law and I drove to the Hawkshead ferry in Bowness on Windermere and parked in a large car park near the ferry at map ref.SD398959.

Approaching the ferry landing on the Hawkshead side
Approaching the ferry landing on the Hawkshead side

Riding the ferry across Windermere from Bowness
Riding the ferry across Windermere from Bowness

Path from the road up to Craife Station
Path from the road up to Claife Station

The path up to Craife Station
The path up to Claife Station

Climbing up beyond Craife Station
Climbing up beyond Claife Station

This ruin is owned by the National Trust and was a tourist view point above Lake Windermere from the late 1700's to the mid 1800's. It was used not only to enjoy the landscape, but also for parties and dances too.

From the ferry pier we walked along the road for about 400m to map ref. SD388954. Here we turned off the road to follow a public footpath up the wooded hillside to Claife Station.

The path up to Craife Station
The path up to Claife Station

The ruins of the Craife Station viewpoint
The ruins of the Claife Station viewpoint

Climbing up beyond Craife Station
Climbing up beyond Claife Station

The hill top above Craife Station
The hill top above Claife Station (the lake is in the mist below us)

One of many fallen trees by the woodland path above Windermere
One of many fallen trees by the woodland path above Windermere

Path along the edge of the rough hill top of Mitchell Knots
Path along the edge of the rough hill top of Mitchell Knots

Large larch tree by the path
Large larch tree by the path

It was a dull misty overcast day although we did not get any rain, but the views across the lake were shrouded in mist. From the edge of the woods we followed the path across the edge of some rough open land with some trees on the hill top called Mitchell Knotts for about 500m to a track at map ref. SD383961.

From Claife Station we continued up the steep wooded hillside to the edge of the wood at the top of the slope.

Path along the edge of the rough hill top of Mitchell Knots
Path along the edge of the rough hill top of Mitchell Knots

Path along the edge of the rough hill top of Mitchell Knots
Path along the edge of the rough hill top of Mitchell Knots

Path along the edge of the rough hill top of Mitchell Knots
Path along the edge of the rough hill top of Mitchell Knots

Joining the track at map ref. SD383961
Joining the track at map ref. SD383961

Approaching our right turn onto another track
Approaching our right turn onto another track

We passed a pond on our left to the enter some more woodland. After about 500m in the woodland we took the right hand fork where a woodland track veered off to the left.

At the track we turned left and followed the walled track for about 450m to map ref. SD382959. Here we turned right to follow a track between the fields.

The walled track over the hill top
The walled track over the hill top

The walled track heading towards Claife Heights
The walled track heading towards Claife Heights

Looking back over the pond we had just passed
Looking back over the pond we had just passed

The path along the top of Heald Wood
The path along the top of Heald Wood

The path along the top of Heald Wood
The path along the top of Heald Wood

The path along the top of Heald Wood
The path along the top of Heald Wood

Cobbled ford on the way down to Belle Grange
Cobbled ford on the way down to Belle Grange

The views were lost to us in feint grey outlines. The path began to descend towards the lake side. Near the bottom of the slope we crossed a small ford paved with stone cobbles just before we came to a 'T'-junction in the track.

We followed this path along the top edge of a steep slope that fell away to our right down to the lake edge below. There would have been good views over the lake from this path but today everywhere was shrouded in mist.

Bright red fruiting bodies on the lichen by the path
Bright red fruiting bodies on the lichen by the path

Path dropping down to Belle Grange
Path dropping down to Belle Grange

Sign at the junction of the track to Belle Grange
Sign at the junction of the track to Belle Grange

A misty view of Lake Windermere - the mist did not lift all day
A misty view of Lake Windermere - the mist did not lift all day

The track by Lake Windermere from Belle Grange
The track by Lake Windermere from Belle Grange

Our track by the lakeside
Our track by the lakeside

A fallen tree on the lakeside
A fallen tree on the lakeside

After about 1km the track became a tarmac road and we walked along the road beside the lake back towards the ferry terminal.

We turned right to continue down the slope to the lakeside track at map ref. SD387989 near Belle Grange. We turned right to walk along the lakeside track.

Another misty view of the lake
Another misty view of the lake

Access road along the lakeside
Access road along the lakeside

Misty shapes across the lake
Misty shapes across the lake

Access road along the lakeside
Access road along the lakeside

Moorings at the edge of the lake
Moorings at the edge of the lake

From the Bowness ferry landing we walked back to our car and returned to our cottage near the Brockhole Visitor Centre. Our walk had been 9km and it had taken us almost 4 hours including our lunch stop, photo stops and general dallying about to enjoy this lovely countryside.

Just before we reached the ferry landing we turned off the access road to follow a pleasant path around the lake edge back to the road at the ferry landing. The ferry runs a 20minute shuttle service back and forth across the lake so we did not have long to wait for our ferry back to Bowness.

Start of the lakeside path back to the ferry
Start of the lakeside path back to the ferry

Lakeside path back to the ferry
Lakeside path back to the ferry

Our ferry unloading ready for the return trip to Bowness
Our ferry unloading ready for the return trip to Bowness