5 great spring walks in the Lake District

PUBLISHED: 09:00 09 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:27 17 April 2019

Near Smardale

Near Smardale

Lesley Williams

Since it launched 50 years ago, Milnthorpe publisher Cicerone has produced 400 walking guides. Here are five of their favourite routes.


Burneside to Bowness on Windermere

10.5 miles (17km), 4-5 hours

This walk begins with a delightful riverside walk along the banks of the River Kent, across pasture and ancient woodland to Staveley, where you can enjoy a variety of refreshments in the village and in Staveley Mill Yard. From Staveley you climb up over grassy slopes and rock-strewn hills, along narrow country lanes and through upland pastures. These are the Lakeland foothills that are rarely visited except by walkers of the Dales Way, and yet the views are broad and interesting and the proximity to the honeypot of Bowness is never apparent until you reach a bench on the final rise overlooking the town. Far below, Windermere stretches into the distance and your eyes are drawn to the high fells of Fairfield and the distant Langdale Pikes.

The Dales Way by Terry Marsh

Near SmardaleNear Smardale

Crosby Garrett Fell and Smardale Gill

7 miles (11.5km), 4 hours

This is a walk packed with interest and will be a delight on any day of the year, although the Smardale Gill National Nature Reserve is possibly best appreciated in the spring and summer months. The circular tour begins in the village of Smardale, which lies just to the north of the A685 and Ravenstonedale. First visit the sleepy village of Crosby Garrett before steadily climbing in a westerly direction up onto open Pennine moorland with broad sweeping views towards the Howgills and distant Lakeland fells. Next the route passes extensive prehistoric earthworks known as 'Severals', before picking up the course of the old South Durham and Lancashire Union Railway which supplied limestone from the kilns seen on the side of the track to the steelworks of Durham and Barrow in Furness. Cross the huge viaduct then enter the nature reserve before returning to Smardale.

Walking in Cumbria's Eden Valley by Vivienne Crow


The River Dee from Dent

6 miles (9.7km), 2.5 hours

A gentle circular walk from the historic village of Dent, with its cobbled main street in the heart of Dentdale, near Sedbergh. Most of the walking is through riverside pastures and on very quiet country lanes, but on crossing the river it's possible to take a path rising to a collection of farms on the northern hillside, giving good views across the valley to the Middleton fells which form the southern side of Dentdale. Returning to the village of Dent visit the heritage centre, or choose one of the lovely cafes for refreshments.

The Lune Valley and Howgills by Denis and Jan Kelsall

Caldew ValleyCaldew Valley

Keswick to Caldbeck

14.5 miles (23km), 8 hours

This is one of the highlights of the Cumbria Way, as you pass through the valley of Glenderaterra to the remote county 'Back o' Skidda'. From Keswick the route climbs into the hills to the north of the town before swinging deep into the valley that divides Skiddaw from Blencathra. After the initial climb the route is steady, passing near Skiddaw House, England's highest and most remote youth hostel, then swinging north east following the course of the river Caldew gently towards the roadhead from Mosedale. There are information boards describing the Carrock mines, once important for the extraction of tungsten. A steep climb takes you past the Lingy hut to High Pike, before a gentle descent path to Caldbeck, a delightful north Lakeland village.

The Cumbria Way by John Gillham

Three tarnsThree tarns

Pike o' Blisco and Crincke Crags

7.5 miles (12km), 6-7 hours

This is one of the classic days out in the central Lake District, but never fails to thrill with its magnificent views and interesting rocky terrain. It's a steep unrelenting climb up to the rocky summit of Pike o' Blisco, involving some scrambling near the summit which can be hazardous in bad weather or winter conditions. The main fun is the traverse of the Crinkle Crags, with the well-known 'bad step' on the second crinkle, which can be easily avoided. The views to the Scafell range are incredible and get better as you negotiate the rocky outcrops, before descending to Three Tarns, then a long descent back to the Old Dungeon Gill in the Langdale valley. u

Lake District – High level and Fell Walks by Vivienne Crow

Cicerone 50 years bookCicerone 50 years book

These walks were chosen by Lesley Williams, the marketing director at Cicerone. All the routes can easily be accessed by bus and/or train, with the exception of the walk from Smardale which is easier to access by car. To find out more about their books, go online to cicerone.co.uk.

Book marks 50 years

Cicerone, the UK's leading outdoor activity guidebook publisher, is 50 years old this month. The firm was set up with the aim of producing guides for walkers and climbers, written and produced by walkers and climbers. Fifty Years of Adventure is a hardback limited edition compilation of adventurous tales from Cicerone authors, illustrated with over 100 photographs from around the world.

Cicerone is giving £1 per book sold on their website during the year to The Bendrigg Trust, a Kendal-based charity that helps disabled and disadvantaged people experience the outdoors, and the Juniper Trust, a charity based in Keswick which is helping to rebuild a damaged school in Nepal.



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