28th July 2013

Ashness Bridge, Surprise View, Watendlath and Bowder Stone


Walk Overview
Time 1:30 to 5:35pm
Duration 4 hr 5 min
Distance 7.9 mile
Ascent 1500 ft
Walking with Jennifer
Ashness Bridge - Surprise View - Watendlath Beck - Watendlath - Puddingstone Bank - Frith Wood - Bowder Stone - Grange - Borrowdale road (path) to Derwent Water - Barrow Bay
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Car park, bottom of the Ashness Bridge Road, Borrowdale

A nice and handy little car park that gets you into the Keswick end of Borrowdale, offering easy access to the Ashness Bridge / Watendlath areas and of course Borrowdale itself.

Parking is free, but there are only a limited number of spaces, most of which are often taken up by inconsiderate parking.


Route Map

The Fort.

Ashness Bridge. Everyone has seen it on the post cards and the calendars and now they're coming to see it in the flesh (so to speak). Unfortunately for those who arrived early, it was a bit cloudy. Had they waited until the end of the afternoon they'd have seen it at its best.

It must have put some pile of water down last night. Puddles had appeared on the roadside, every stream and rill had water flowing once again and there was even water running down the road leading to Ashness Bridge. Here you see Barrow Beck as it flows from under Ashness Bridge.

Ashness Farm.

The view from Surprise View.
I think it's absolutely disgusting that people are now being charged to park here. The reality is, 99 out of every 100 people that come here by car stay for no more than 10 minutes. And as fantastic as the view is, this is all there is here, , , , , unless you're having a cuppa and a bite to eat there's no reason to hang around. You either turn around and go back to Ashness Bridge (where you have to pay again) or you continue to Watendlath. And yes, you have to pay there as well.

We left the road shortly after passing Surprise View and followed this path down to Watendlath Beck.

Watendlath Beck.

I don't envy that lot over there spending last night under canvas with the amount of rain that must have fallen.

I can't resist taking a picture from this vantage point.

I couldn't help but notice how few people were in Watendlath this afternoon. Surprising when you consider it was turning into quite a nice day and the holiday season is now in full swing.


Looking back down to Watendlath.

Today's late start meant that we'd already had something to eat before setting off so there was no need to carry food around with us. However, I was a bit concerned that we might get caught in a snow drift or something so I brought along a cherry madeira cake just in case. It was at this point I decided it would be easier to carry it in our stomachs than in my bag.

Heading down to Borrowdale. It doesn't look anything like as nice over there as it is here.

The rough bit on the path down to Borrowdale. Last time we walked down here Jennifer slipped. Today, she took no chances and placed every footstep with care.

"Why don't we go that way? It's been years since we've been to bowder Stone so it'll make a nice change."


The woodland walk we followed from the Watendlath path down into Borrowdale.


I thought it would have been busier here. All the better, we wouldn't have as long to wait to get our turn at the top. There isn't much room up there and once 3 or 4 people have climbed the ladder, it becomes a bit precarious.

The view from the top of the stone. Worn smooth with thousands of people sitting and (or) standing up here over many many years.

It's a good job the tide is out otherwise I wouldn't be standing here taking a photo of the bridge at Grange.

What a lovely afternoon it had turned into. Sunny and hot but without the haze of recent weeks to hide the views.

A similar picture to the previous one only without the road.

Passing by one of the many nice houses and cottages alongside the Borrowdale road.

Looking across the fields to Troutdale.

Winter bedding waiting to be collected from the end of the track that leads across to Chinese Bridge.


The Lodore Falls Hotel. Amongst other things it used to be called Swiss Lodore Hotel. I remember coming past here when we were kids and thinking how posh it looked, how well to do the people must be that stayed here and I also thought how much better it would be to stay there than in our caravan. It's funny what bothers you at ten years old when you're better off with what you've already got. Had we ever stayed in there I'm sure it would have been my worst childhood holiday ever. It's only when I grew up I realised what we did was much better than staying somewhere 'posh'. I'm sure the hotel staff wouldn't have been too pleased at me wanting to play football, climb trees, run about and on one holiday I almost managed to dam up a river; until I ran out of time and we went home.

It's only a short walk alongside the lake around the headland to Barrow Bay and it was so nice walking along here I was wishing it was twice as far.

A view back down the lake.


Barrow Bay. We're walking around to the landing stages you can see over there and then crossing the road to get back to the car.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks