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Walks in the Lake District

If you enjoy walking, there is no better place than the Lake District to stretch your legs. With walks to suit all ages and abilities, the Lake District offers some breathtaking trails and guided walks through some of England´s most beautiful countryside.

The Lake District is home to sleepy villages, bustling market towns and places of outstanding natural beauty, and the walks vary from easy to challenging. Whether you fancy a leisurely stroll around Lake Windermere, a climb to the summits of England´s highest mountains or a kid-friendly trek in the woods, you can find it all in the Lake District.

With many unique characteristics and literally hundreds of fantastic attractions for all the family, the Lake District has been popular with tourists since the Victorian times, when wealthy families had holiday houses there. The tranquil splendour of the lakes and the clear air of the countryside was said to benefit health in those early days, when hundreds of city dwellers would arrive by horse and carriage.

The diverse landscape of the Lake District offers visitors a range of rugged and wild terrain, mountains and fells, and of course, magnificent lakes. The lonely tarns and dales make the Lake District a walker´s paradise that it would be hard to surpass anywhere else in England.

Famous for being the inspiration of well known authors, poets and artists, including: William Wordsworth, Arthur Ransome, Beatrix Potter, John Ruskin and Heaton Cooper, the Lake District is home to historic houses, farms and attractions. Many of their works and original houses in the Lake District can still be seen today, and Beatrix Potter´s Hill Top remains virtually unchanged since her death in 1943. The famous author of children´s books left her house to the National Trust, on the condition that it was left unchanged for visitors to enjoy.

If you are planning to spend a walking holiday in the Lake District, you can choose from over 2,500 places to stay, eat, drink and shop, including boutique hotels in Windermere, guesthouses in Coniston, Campsites in Ullswater and B&Bs in Penrith and Carlisle. If you want to combine walking in the Lake District with a visit to other attractions, take a trip to The Brockhole National Park Visitors Centre or sail across Windermere in a steamboat.


Many Lake District walks are concentrated around the central area of the lakes, but you can also find some interesting trails and tracks between Arnside, Morecambe Bay to the south and Silloth on the Solway Firth in the north. If you are staying near Howgills and Appleby-in-Westmorland, you can find plenty of outdoor pursuits for the whole family.


Miles without stiles

Miles without Stiles are 39 routes across the National Park which are suitable for people in wheelchairs, and also for walkers with pushchairs. Perfect for a family walking holiday, particularly if you have younger children, Miles without Stiles offers differently graded routes to suit all ages and abilities.


Grading is based on gradients and surface conditions and all distances shown on the Miles without Stiles information sheets is shown in kilometres for a return trip. As a general rule of thumb, walkers should walk on the right hand side of roads to be seen by oncoming traffic.


Routes for all in the Lake District


If a walking route in the Lake District
is listed as being a ´Route for all´, it is suitable for everyone, including those pushing buggies and people operating their own wheelchairs. Gradients will be no more than 1:10 and the surface will be tarmac or smooth, or compacted stone with a diameter of 10mm or less. Path width will be a minimum of 1 metre with easy places to pass other walkers or path users.

 

 

Lake District routes for many


If a Lake District walking route is marked as being ´for many´, it means it is suitable for assisted wheelchair users and all-terrain type buggies. Gradients are no more than 1:10, although newly built gradients can be up to 1:8. The surface of the path will be rougher stone of 4cm in diameter or less.

 

 


Routes for some in the Lake District


Routes that are advertised as being suitable ´for some´ in the Lake District normally have slopes of greater than 1:8, with an improved surface or handrails. These routes may also have some low steps or breaks in the surface up to 10 cm in height, and stone surface material may also be up to 10cm in diameter. Make sure you weigh up your route choices carefully before starting out, as some routes are slightly more challenging than others. Facilities, including bus timetables and toilets may change, so check these before you start your walk when you arrive in the Lake District.


Walking and cycling routes in the Lake District


If you are interested in walking and cycling in the Lake District, several routes are designed to ensure visitors don´t have to retrace their steps. The routes are in the south of the National Park, around Bowness, Hawkshead, Coniston and Grizedale. If you are planning to stay in any of the areas above, check out the great range of hotels and accommodation in each.
Recommended Lake District walks include:

• Walking on Water – this walk is 2 miles in total and can take up to 1 and a half hours, plus a 20 minute boat ride. The walk will take you along the shores of Coniston Water to Torver Pier.
• The North Circular Cycle – this cycling route is 4 miles in total and normally takes up to 2 hours plus a 35 minute boat ride on Coniston to Brantwood, the former home of John Ruskin. A perfect ride for all the family.

• The Tarn Walk is 5 miles in length and can take up to 3 hours, 30 minutes to complete. The route takes walkers from High Cross to Coniston via Tarn Hows amid some breathtaking scenery.
• Windermere Wheeling Cycle is a 5 mile cycling route which takes around 2 hours to get around. This is a great cycle ride for the family which goes along the shores of Windermere and off road through the forest of Claife.

• Claife Heights Potter Walk is 6 miles in length and takes around 4 hours. The walk takes in Beatrix Potter´s former home, Hill Top and the Gallery.
• Grizedale Getaway Cycle Route is 7 miles long and takes around 3 hours. This is a cycle ride for the more experienced riders, and cyclists can enjoy the delights of Grizedale Forest along the route.

Kid-friendly walks in the Lake District


If you are looking for child-friendly walks in the Lake District, there are plenty of routes to enjoy, and you can find information about these from any tourist information centre. If you plan to take small children walking for the first time, and you´re not sure how they will react, here are some top tips to make the holiday a happy one for all the family:

 

 

1.Make the walk an adventure for the little ones, and suggest ´going on an outing´ rather than ´going for a walk´. Make sure there is a park, a playground or woods involved in your walking route.

2.Look out for small animals and wildlife in the woods around the Lake District and point them out to the children. They may even have read about some of them in the Tales of Beatrix Potter.

3.Make it a treat for the kids and take along a picnic.

4.Start by taking some easy routes that are not uphill and not too long, until the children get used to it and are able to walk for longer periods.

5.Make sure they have comfortable clothes so they are not too hot and not too cold. You can always carry extra layers in your bag if you need to, and make sure their shoes are comfy.

6.Cut the walk short if they get tired and only walk at their pace or they will feel pressured to keep up.

7.Always take sun hats and sun cream, plus cream for stings and bites, particularly if you are walking in late spring and summer.

8.Give them a small rucksack or light bag to carry so they feel involved.

9.Let them take a friend so they have someone their own age to interact with.

10.Make the walk into a treasure hunt or play Eye Spy along the way. This will keep their minds off tired legs.Whether you are hiking, walking, cycling, sightseeing or relaxing in the Lake District, you will find plenty to see and do. If you are looking for accommodation in the Lake District, including luxury hotels, guest houses and B&Bs, you will be spoilt for choice.

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