Ashness Bridge and the Surprise View above

A Lake District view, that has to be said as one of the most popular to be seen in Cumbria. For those that visit Cumbria and peruse the postcard or calendar section in any of the shops, there is no doubt the image of Ashness Bridge, with Derwentwater and Skiddaw behind will be there……

Ashness Bridge and the iconic view to Skiddaw

Getting There

What makes the view from Ashness Bridge more popular is the fact that it does not force the view admirer to climb up to it. You can drive up direct to this old Grade II listed packhorse bridge, and especially in the Summer months the banks of the beck are adorned with families, walkers and photographers.

If coming from Keswick, head past the Derwentwater car park and into Borrowdale. After a few miles you see a small road off to your left heading uphill with a sign to the bridge. There is a car park on the right just after you cross the bridge itself. Be careful it gets quite narrow and steep.

Ashness Bridge and the Surprise View above 1
Ashness Bridge river

Enjoying the area, paddling, having a picnic and plenty of people trying to get that spot to take a picture themselves. It is rather difficult to get a shot without people or a car as you can imagine. Out of season, early or late on is best for a ‘just nature’ shot. The stones by the side of Barrow Beck just above the bridge are  worn down and smooth from the thousands and thousands of people whom have stood and adjusted to see what they had seen on just paper before.

Different weathers bring whole new views. Skiddaw often hides its top in the clouds. A great iconic mountain that is framed above the bridge and by the hillsides either side.

looking down to the bridge

The View a Big Surprise

Now then behind and above Ashness Bridge, where you most probably parked, is Ashness Wood. From here you can walk up through the woods full of Red Squirrels and ancient trees or you can drive up a bit more in the car. What awaits you is simply called ‘Surprise View’ and is quite simply a breathtaking spot to stand at and look out.

View of Skiddaw from Surprise View Borrowdale

Again there is a car park, this time on the left. But to your right you see the gap in the trees and a view you will not forget.

looking over Derwentwater

Down and before you are the Lake District delights of Derwentwater with Bassenthwaite Lake behind, Skiddaw rising above the town of Keswick. You can look up, down and across Borrowdale with the River Derwent and of course fells in all directions.

Across the water is the unmistakable Catbells, a climb that is a fond one of so many people in the area. You may get to see the trails of people marching up.

This is a spot I thoroughly give as a tip to venture to in each season. Every time I come here the view is changed by the colours of seasons or by the weather that be, each time individually dramatic.

Derwentwater and bassenthwaite lake

For the view seeker this area is amongst the best in the Lake District. For a free day out with the family you can do much worse than take in the nature and learning this area creates. For a less of a walking day too it is a perfect escape.

old lake district building
splashing stream

Two incredible views in one, up an obscure road up the hill. If you are visiting Keswick or Borrowdale, go for it, take in the fresh air and the views.

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  1. Avatar of Julie Brown Julie Brown says:

    This article is sheer perfection in every possible way.
    Thank you,
    Julie Brown

    1. Avatar of Paul Steele Paul Steele says:

      Hi there! Thanks so much

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