5 of the best Lakeland walks your dog will love
- Credit: Emily Rothery
Take a trip to the Lakes with your furry friend.
Skelwith Bridge to Elterwater
Distance: 2.4 miles/4km
Starting point: A593, between Coniston and Ambleside. Parking spaces on the road to Langdale
For little effort – and less energetic dogs – this enjoyable walk packs a punch. From Skelwith Bridge pick up the path alongside the river Brathay towards Elterwater. Follow the short woodland track and within minutes you will hear the roar of water as you approach Skelwith Force. Although one of the Lake District’s smaller waterfalls, this cascading force is impressive, especially after heavy rain and is well worth a visit.
The walk then opens out into meadows. The path is level and easy going and is a great walk to do in any season. The river widens as you reach the shores of Elterwater, set against the dramatic backdrop of the Langdale Pikes, with quiet reedy bays and woodland to explore. Although a popular walk, there is plenty of space to sit and enjoy the views and wildlife.
The final part of the path alongside the great Langdale Beck is wide with a stone cobble surface that is smooth enough for wheelchair users and takes you into the village of Elterwater.
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Refreshments are available at the family and dog friendly pubs and cafes in both Skelwith Bridge and Elterwater.
Hoad Hill and monument circular walk
Starting point: Ford Park, Ulverston. Turning right at the first traffic lights there is parking on the streets just off the A590 or town car parks. Look for the blue sign to Hoad Hill monument
A trip to Ulverston wouldn’t be complete without a walk to the Hoad monument, the iconic memorial which was built in 1850 in honour of Sir John Barrow, a naval explorer and Second Secretary to the Admiralty, who was born in Ulverston. This pleasant walk begins from Ford Community Park where there is a designated area for your dog to play.
A stroll through the gardens takes you to the base of Hoad Hill. The path is even and the steady climb is well worth the effort as you are rewarded with impressive views over Morecambe Bay and the town of Ulverston. Soon, an optional short diversion to the right will bring you to armchair rock – named for obvious reasons and if you are tempted to tarry here be aware of the precipitous drops.
The final climb reveals fine views of the Lake District fells and leads you to the monument – a replica of an early version of the Eddystone lighthouse. If the flag is flying, usually on Sundays and Bank Holidays, then the monument is open.
It’s worth taking time to take in the varied views – on a clear day you can see Blackpool Tower and the Welsh mountains. A gravel service track takes you down past a kissing gate to a walled path which soon opens out and leads to the gardens of St Mary’s and Holy Trinity Church. Turn left here and then a short walk will take you back to Ford Park. To round off your walk visit one of the many dog friendly bars or cafes in Ulverston.
Coniston Water lake shore and Torver Common circular walk
Distance: Approximately 4 to 4.5 miles/7km
Parking at Sunny Bank on the A5084 about a mile from Torver towards Ulverston. Follow the public footpath sign ‘Coniston via lakeshore’
The well-defined path wends its way along the west side of Coniston Water with access to open shorelines. Your dog can enjoy scampering along and sniffing in the varied vegetation along the way and water-loving dogs can swim while you sit and enjoy the views.
On crossing the second small beck that runs down to the lake it is worth taking time to stop at the shingle spit and admiring the views to Piel Island. On reaching a larch and oak plantation, after two and a half miles, prepare to turn left after the fenced area, just before Torver Jetty. Follow the uneven track up the hill to a six barred gate and after about 150 metres turn back left on a green farm track which goes over the shoulder of the hill and soon forks right on a rising narrow grassy track towards a dry stone wall. Follow the wall until the path forks left and takes you over a beck by rocky slabs.
You can now enjoy the quiet open spaces of Torver Common but be aware that native Herdwick sheep graze here and your four-legged friend should be kept on a lead. There are rewarding views from the tops towards Wetherlam, Fairfield and the Coniston fells, Grizedale forest and the lake. An alternative route is to take the lower path which leads to tranquil tarns – Kelly Moss and Long Moss, which are a good places to sit and enjoy the wildlife and waterlilies. From here a short climb takes you over a rise and back to Sunny Bank.
There are dog friendly pubs at Torver for well-earned refreshments.
Staveley in Cartmel to Simpson Ground reservoir circular walk
Distance: Approximately 3 to 3.5 miles/5.5km
Parking at Church House Forestry car park, just off the A590. Turn at the sign to Staveley about a mile from Newby Bridge towards Lindale
This quiet walk which your dog is sure to love starts on the wide forest track. After about half a mile, turn right on the first signed footpath, stopping to admire the views of the southern end of Windermere. The path leads upwards and is the perfect place for well trained dogs to let off steam and investigate the exciting scents of the forest plantation before reaching a more open area of mixed deciduous and evergreen trees and woodland flowers. This section can be wet underfoot but soon brings you to a forest track where you turn left and soon afterwards follow the marked bridleway on the right to Simpson Ground Reservoir.
Having followed the reservoir wall to the end there is the option to walk out onto a rocky outcrop – a peaceful spot to rest by the water and enjoy the peace and wildlife. Then continue to follow the woodland path crossing the board walks over boggy areas and a babbling beck. These watercourses, ponds and bogs provide habitats for a wide range of flora and fauna and are noted for their insect and aquatic life. Enthusiasts will be rewarded by the variety of fungi found here, especially in late summer. For dogs it is simply a chance to have fun and enjoy the great outdoors.
The path leads back onto the forest track, with open views to Kirkby Moor, and takes you back down to the car park.
The Newby Bridge and Swan Hotel are both happy to welcome your four-legged friend.
Helsington and Scout Scar circular walk
Distance: 4.5 miles/7km
Park at St John’s Church Helsington, just off the minor road between Kendal and Brigsteer. Turn at the sign ‘Helsington Church and Viewpoint’
Before starting the walk from St John’s church there is a grassy area for sociable dogs to enjoy a run around and a chance for you to admire the extensive views across the Lyth Valley, famous for damson growing, to Morecambe Bay and the distant Lake District fells.
To start the walk, take the track back to the road, turn right and follow the footpath sign to Scout Scar on the left. The walk onto the limestone escarpment is delightful whatever the time of year and is stunning in late summer as the colours start to change.
Follow the grassy track along Helsington Barrows and bear right at the fork by the large larch tree. Pass the gate and keep the wall to your left as you climb to the limestone uplands.
As the fells come into view, pass through the gate at the point where two walls meet. Keep the rounded cairn on your left and follow the ridge path until you reach the triangulation point where you pass through the gap in the wall. Continue to the summit shelter, locally known as the mushroom, which was built in 1912 as a memorial to King George VI.
On a clear day there are commanding views to the Lake District fells and an incredible panorama that also takes in parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire. There is a view finder of the skyline that identifies the principal summits, including the Langdale Pikes, Scafell Pike and Coniston Old Man.
The walk is popular with local dog walkers and there is ample opportunity for well-behaved canines to explore but caution is advised on the next part of the walk which drops down to the edge of the escarpment where there are open views but precipitous drops. Cattle graze here too. Follow the track along the edge or follow a slightly higher path through weathered juniper, holly and hawthorn trees. On reaching the gate in the wall any path will take you down.
The nearby Wheatsheaf pub at nearby Brigsteer is more than happy to welcome your dog.