Walk Distance: 2.2km
Walk Duration: 1hr 15 at preschooler pace
Ordnance Survey: OS Landranger 90 Penrith & Keswick; OL7 Explorer Lake District South-Eastern Area
Suitable for: Babies in carriers, little legs, all the family. Off-road pushchairs possible on part of the route.
Walk Features: Paddling, great scenery, waterside walking, pooh sticks opportunities, public toilets, car park, option to extend or shorten route.
‘We walked this White Moss walk when stopping off at the Lake District for a few hours whilst on a road trip up to Scotland. It’s a fantastically varied leg-stretcher, including riverside, lake, fell-side and woodland in a very short distance.
White Moss is a popular spot with families and walkers. You will not get secluded paths but the paths are easily accessible, suitable for young families and with plenty of options to extend the walk to Grasmere for refreshments or scale Loughrigg fell if you need a bigger (but still achievable with good junior walkers) challenge. There are also pushchair friendly routes & public transport links to neighbouring Rydal & Grasmere.
Leave plenty of time in your schedule for tree climbing, pooh sticks and paddling. There’s a great little beach you can paddle from by Grasmere. Rydal and Grasmere villages are nearby for refreshments.’
The White Moss Woods & Waterside Walk starts from the White Moss car park just off the A591 between Grasmere and Rydal Water.
Begin the walk on the main footpath near the information board at the lowest area of White Moss car park.
Follow the footpath as in weaves through woodland and over a small footbridge, or straight through the ford if your children are anything like mine! The public toilets are just up the path to the right here, should you need to take that detour!
The path brings you out to the side of the River Rothay near Rydal Water. There’s a popular little beach here for paddling and family water play.
Continue on the main path past the beach, hugging to the river. You will come to a wooden footbridge – one of several perfect pooh sticks spots along the walk. Cross over the bridge and continue on the path into the woods straight ahead, leaving the riverside behind for now.
Take the main path as it bends round to the left and begins to climb slowly uphill.
n.b. Just as it bends to the left there is an alternative small track that leads temptingly straight ahead up a very steep wooded bank. At time of writing there was a large fallen tree at the top, great for some scrambling for the kids. Technically a woodland track does continue and links up with the main route on the fell-side beyond the woods but the link-up is not entirely obvious at the end, leading to the temptation to scale a dry stone wall or go through the undergrowth – neither responsible nor recommended.
Take this footpath and continue on it climbing through the woods. As the paths split, keep to the right hand path. This emerges from the woods onto the hillside beyond.
Turn right and follow the edge of the woods and a stone wall as the path continues to climb gently upwards. You will be rewarded with a lovely view of the surrounding fells and a hint at Grasmere below. It’s a lovely view for such a family-friendly walk.
N.b.The path up until this point is manageable with a cross-country pushchair, albeit with quite a bit of uphill pushing through the woods. The circular route described here beyond becomes too narrow in places to take a pushchair, although there are options to continue on a long route to Grasmere via Loughrigg Terraces and Red Bank on the scenic lake-view lanes ( no pavement) into Grasmere Village. You can return to White Moss Common, very close to White Moss car park, via the 555 bus from Grasmere.
Continue on the main path until a smaller side trail splits off to the right. Unless you have time, resist the urge to follow the Loughrigg Terraces walk as it passes temptingly along the side of the hillside. Instead, take the side-path, beginning to walk downhill towards Grasmere waterside. The lake comes into full view as you descend.
The path brings you down to the waterside. A small detour left along the path here will bring you to the popular beach on the side of Grasmere. It’s a scenic spot for paddling.
Return along the footpath to the wooden footbridge. Cross over the River Rothay at the foot of Grasmere. On the other side take the path straight ahead that leads up a few steps into Penny Rock Wood.
From here, follow the shady path straight on through the woods, ignoring the side path to the left.
Eventually the path emerges from woodland into a meadow, rejoining the riverside.
Through the gateway you will find yourself back by the first footbridge. Retrace your outward steps back to White Moss car park and the end of the walk.
Map of Route:
The White Moss walk starts at White Moss car park, which is currently a paid car park with the fee paid online (you can pay up to 24 hours after your visit via the website listed on the car park fee information board). At time of writing the cost was £2 for an hour up to a full day fee of £7. There are alternative car parks on the opposite side of the road at White Moss Common.
Those travelling by public transport can access White Moss by bus from nearby Rydal and, Grasmere or the larger centers of Windemere and Keswick, via the 555 bus. Check Traveline or local bus timetables before you travel as things change and times are different off-season and during holidays and weekends.
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