Rydal Water, as far as the main bodies of water go within the English Lake District is one of the smallest. But it is one of the most beautiful.
The circular walk around it is just 3 miles and relatively flat, so this is a walk that many standards of walker can undertake.
Rydal Water itself is only just over a Kilometre long and 3 to 4 hundred metres wide, so a circuit of Rydal Water is a walk that so many can enjoy, even the kids can enjoy the walk.
If you are in the lakes there can’t be any excuses not to really. The A591 between Ambleside up to Grasmere, then Keswick is a huge tourist trap, a road that a majority of Lake District visitors will travel.
Heading north from Ambleside, and not long before Grasmere, keep looking left, Rydal Water will appear and be tempting you. It is sometimes called ‘Wordsworths Walk’ due to the walk passing by where he used to live at Rydal Mount.
I use this walk around Rydal Water as a head clearer myself. Amongst a busy day in the area it is great to just pull in here and walk around without a care for a couple of hours or more.
Parking and Start Point
There are option for parking and where to start the walk. You could start in the village of Rydal itself but I personally prefer to use White Moss Car Park at the western end of the lake.
The postcode is LA22 9SE and it is a pay & display car park like most in the area.
I like this car park better for getting straight into woods and nature from the start of the walk. I go in an anti-clockwise direction.
Leaving White Moss car Park head south and into the woods. You will cross a bridge over the River Rothay and be straight into nature, lovely.
The woods only last a few hundred metres so enjoy them. As you come out of the tree line you have the option to turn left or right. The right turn is where we go to climb up Loughrigg Fell. For this walk we turn left and onto the shoreline path of Rydal Water.
Here you walk the easy path along the south shore. Plenty of places to stop and admire the views. You are beneath Loughrigg Fell with the hill called Nab Scar on the opposite side.
On a calm day here the reflections are incredible, the green fells and clouds reflecting superbly in the water.
There is something really magical about being beside water on a calm day. You can sit at the water’s edge and watch the colours not just above the horizon but below too.
If you want a small detour on this side of the lake you can turn right a few hundred metres up the slopes of Loughrigg and explore the Rydal Caves.
It is not just about a hike or landscapes though, there is nature great or small all over the place here, just sit for short while near the water’s edge or in the woods and it will all appear.
You will see insects, birds and animals all around you. It is never a good call to just walk non stop for this reason in my opinion.
Damselflies bright blue, dancing over the water in large numbers.
Where is beautiful water there are always ducks aren’t there? What a beautiful area they have.
It is so peaceful here on some days that this duck let me get quite close and he did not wake from sleeping.
If you come here in the summer, at either end of Rydal Water, in the woods on the River Rothay you will find lots of Grey Wagtails jumping around by the water. In fact birds of many kinds you will see if you want to relax and stay still.
Dogs and Wild Swimmers
Rydal Water is not just a place for walkers to enjoy. It is a perfect dog friendly walk.
People enjoying a picnic whilst their dogs enjoy a paddle in the shallow waters and exploring the rocks.
Rydal Water is also a very popular place for wild swimmers. Not just on a calm day like this, but I have seen people braving these waters in all kinds of weathers.
The size of the lake and the accessibility appeals to all kinds of people who enjoy being beside, on or in the water.
The Rydal End And Return
At the far end of the lake you will start to see signs of life again. The hotel and boathouse overlooking the water.
At this end there is a lovely cafe to enjoy some refreshments.
Once you meet the A591 again, turn right for just 200 metres and turn left up the lane passing the tea rooms.
The path will be seen off to the left where you start heading back along the other side of the lake.
Again you will gain magnificent views across the water but this time you are walking under Nab Scar and looking across to Loughrigg Fell. I love the variety.
When you eventually meet a junction of footpaths, take the left and head back down to the car park you started at. A walk enjoyed and hope the ice cream van is in the car park as usual.
Distance – 3 miles
Time – 1.5 hours
Download the GPX – Rydal Water Circular Walk
Wow! So glad I saw your picture on Twitter. You are super talented and the photographs are stunning. The water is so clear it makes me want to paddle! You capture the essence of the places you shoot and make me want to visit! Thank you! I look forward to seeing more of your articles. 🙂
Wow. Rydal Water looks like a beautiful, peaceful place!
it truly is Grace, thx
Stayed in Grasmere a few years ago – really very scenic by both Rydal Water and Grasmere lake. It’s a shame the road noise ruins the ambiance slightly. Easedale Tarn is worth a walk.
Great and beautiful photos
Beautiful photos. Inspiring description of a lovely walk.
While under going a triple bye pass operation in London hospital your photos have high lighted the real beauty of the Lakes especially those of Rydal Water today, reminding me of great holidays. The shear beauty of your photos is a great lift & challenge to get back on the trail again very soon. Thank you so much.
Yours, Chris Older (Kent )
Hi Chris. I am glad you like the pics.. We wish you a full and speedy recovery.
You have managed to make me homesick yet again!!!! Stunning images.
Hi Mike.. sorry and thanks 🙂