Brant Fell above Bowness-on-Windermere
Brant Fell overlooks the little town of Bowness-on-Windermere, which is often referred to as just Bowness or Windermere. The way to the fell is quite steep and can get a bit muddy but on a clear day the views from the top are certainly worth it though. Across the town, to the north, stands the diminutive Orrest Head which a certain Mr Wainwright visited on his first excursion to the Lake District and to the west across Windermere is Grizedale Forest.
The walk starts in the centre of Bowness, the most suitable landmark being the mini-roundabout right in the middle: you can’t miss it. You quickly leave the shops and bustle behind, climbing steeply along Brantfell Road to reach the fields and fell above the town. This early part of the walk is part of the Dales Way which starts 81 miles away in Ilkley and finishes here. Turning off after a few hundred metres you visit the little viewpoint of Post Knott before turning your back on the views for a short bit to finish climbing to the top of Brant Fell itself. At the summit is a forlorn gateway with no fence or wall still in existence. The large outcrops of rock here have vertical faces of some 6 to 10 feet high so don’t trip over the bits of old metalwork still rusting away. To return you narrowly avoid the outward path and descend back to the shops along Helm Road.
Although we suggest a minimum of an hour, you should allow a couple of hours so as not to hurry on this walk.
Biskey Howe, Bowness
There are many viewpoints around Lake Windermere, offering spectacular views of the largest lake in England. However, none are as central as Biskey Howe, in Bowness-on-Windermere. Just a 15 minute walk from the centre of Bowness Village, Biskey Howe offers a peaceful respite from the busy shops offering all sorts of treasures and tasty treats. A steady ascent from its approach on Helm Road, but worth the effort once at the top with panoramic views across to the North and South of the Lake.
After it fell out of use as a quarry in the late 1800s, the rugged rock outcrop above served as a viewpoint for the many tourists making the journey to Windermere and Bowness each year. The beautiful rhododendrons around the perimeter and the narrow stone steps cut into the craggy outcrop are all that remain of its Victorian heritage.
Now the viewpoint is also enjoyable as a natural woodland with impressive yew, birch, sycamore, oak and poplar trees. There is lots to explore, with numerous paths winding their way around the viewpoint and surrounding woodland. Many species of birds and insects also enjoy this wildlife corridor.
Grasmere and Rydal Water
This is a rather pleasant, nicely varied, circular of both Grasmere and Rydal Water even with the unavoidable road walking. Part of the route is along the old Coffin road, so called as it was the route used to take the dead of Rydal to the church in Grasmere for burial.
It also passes Dove Cottage which was the home of the Lakeland poet William Wordsworth from 1799 to 1808. And the Wordsworth Trust Shop.
There are a number of car parks in Grasmere from where the walk starts, with the one on Stock Lane – the road into the village from Ambleside, being the most accessible.