Rydal Water Circular Walk

Difficulty
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Easy
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
1.5-2h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
4.5 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
205 m
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Directions to Trailhead
Rydal Water Circular Walk

The Rydal Water Circular is a 4.5 km walk in the Lake District that sets out from the village of Rydal and travels around the edge of a scenic lake. While out on the trail, you will experience picturesque views across the water that include the peaks of Loughrigg Fell and Nab Scar in the backdrop. The route features a variety of open and woodland terrain that is easily navigable, making this trail suitable for walkers of almost every skill level.

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Route Description for Rydal Water Circular Walk

Walking the Rydal Water Circular is a popular family-friendly adventure in the Lake District due to the scenic views and easy trail. Because of this popularity, parking near the trailhead can be limited during peak times. Make sure to arrive early enough to beat the crowds. Additionally, the trail can be a bit boggy in places, so remember to wear proper walking footwear.

With a laid back and easy-to-navigate trail, it makes sense why the Rydal Water Circular is such a popular route for beginner walkers and families. While out on the trail, you will walk the foot of Nab Scar and enjoy some amazing views across the lake before making your way south along the lower slopes of Loughrigg Fell for an opposite perspective of the water. This is a relaxing Lake District walk that you won’t want to miss.

Setting out from the car park, head east along the A591 for 0.1 mi and turn left along the road. Follow this for 0.2 mi, passing by the Tea Room and picking up the trail on the left. From here, head west along the foot of Nab Scar for 0.9 mi while enjoying the beautiful views across the water that include Loughrigg fell in the backdrop.

Arriving at a junction, turn left and begin to make your way downhill through the woodland terrain for 0.2 mi, passing through a gate to arrive at the edge of the road. Cross over to the other side and pick the trail back up. Here, you will find some toilet facilities on the right.

Keep straight along the trail for the next 0.1 mi, passing through the picnic area to arrive at a crossing over the River Rothay. Make your way over to the other side and keep left along the trail for the next 1.2 mi, walking the foot of Loughrigg Fell as it meets the southern edge of Rydal Water. Once you have reached a bridge over the River Rothay, cross over to the other side to arrive back at the trailhead where you began the Rydal Water Circular.

Insider Hints for Rydal Water Circular Walk

  • Parking near the trailhead can fill up very quickly. Make sure to arrive earlier enough to secure a space.
  • Certain parts of the trail can become a bit boggy. Wear proper walking footwear that is ideally waterproof to combat the muddy trail conditions.
  • Extending this walk a bit further south will allow you to visit the Rydal Caves, a man-made cavern that is free to explore.

Getting to the Rydal Water Circular Walk Trailhead

To get to the car park for the Rydal Water Circular Walk from Ambleside, head north on Rothay Road/A591 for 1.8 mi and turn right to enter the car park.

Route Information

  • When to do

    Marc-October

  • Backcountry Campsites

    Rydal Hall Campsite

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Circuit

Rydal Water Circular Walk Elevation Graph

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