Our Guide to a walk around Buttmere, in the English Lake District.
Buttemere Circular Walk
Approx 5 Miles
Spending the first night of 2022 in The Lake District was just about the perfect start to the New Year, an afternoon walk at Coniston followed by a meal at The Magic Roundabout in Bowness, before heading off to camp just north of Grasmere.
Mother Nature had her say of course, with a typical Lakes storm breaking out just as we were setting up for the evening, a broken night’s sleep with the noise of the rain & wind (outside!) was soon forgotten when we woke to a misty but still morning. The rain had stopped & the wind gone, we had a chance!
After breaking out the stove for a good coffee and porridge, we made our way through Keswick and out on The Honister Pass towards the different world that is Buttermere.
Parking at Buttermere.
Parking is available either in the village, or at a National Trust Car Park just on the way out, but we chose the ever popular Gatesgarth Farm, at the foot of the imposing Fleetwith Pike.
£4 for the whole day is a snip in the Lake District, and the car park in the perfect spot if you want to hike Fleetwith, Haystacks, or as we did, the route around Buttermere itself…but have change with you, the machines are cash only.
Hiking at Buttermere.
Leaving the car park we took a clockwise route, so set off down the track to the right of the farm. Following this route, very soon you will reach Peggy’s Bridge, with fantastic views over the lake, or to your left, the perfect vista of Haystacks and Fleetwith Pike, having wanted to climb Fleetwith for some time, (but currently restricted with a damaged knee) this was the point I thought no thanks! Of course, I still do want to make the top, but looking at the sheer size of the fell from this angle is a daunting sight. It’s not the highest by any means, in fact at 648m is low compared to many, but the route direct up the nose does look like a good workout, and one needing a head for heights!
Soon after you’ll pass through a gate and have a choice of paths, to take the circular of the lake keep right, following the lower path towards the water. You’ll head into a small pine forest, lookout for the fantastic Red Squirrels, and have plenty of chance to head right down to the shore for a rest and snack. The path is obvious the whole way and reaching the end of the lake you’ll come across Sour Milk Ghyll powering it’s way down the rocks, and have a great view of Rannerdale Knots and the impressive Grasmoor towering above. Head through the gate and follow the shoreline. In good weather here you are right by the water’s side, perfect for a photograph, or if you’re brave enough, a paddle! Your four-legged friends will love this spot, our boy Reggie was in heaven, sticks and water all in one place, we were there a while!
At this point you are close to Buttermere village so may want to head to one of the local Cafes or pubs for refreshments. Otherwise just carry on following the shore until you start to head back towards. From here the views are still amazing, but for a while you are less close to the water, generally walking at a higher level, through the trees and over a couple of rocky parts, though still on an easy to follow and well-maintained path.
As you drop down to water’s level you’ll pass through a short tunnel in the rocks which comes out to the shore’s edge where you can again spend time by the water, with incredible views again of the horseshoe formation featuring Haystacks and Fleewith Pike.
The final short section of the route takes you along the road and back to Gatesgarth.
Though this is my preferred way around, many favour the Anti-Clockwise route, and most will start from the village. Whatever your choice, the views the whole way round are incredible, it really is one of the most special places you will visit, and with the ever changing Lake District weather, every time is different.
It’s a simple walk, easy to follow and with no climbing or high gradient suitable for all levels. A few rocky areas on the path but nothing to be wary off, just tread carefully in the wet.
You could probably so the whole route in a couple of hours, but take longer! Take your time, relax, and enjoy the scenery in this amazing part of The Lake District. Then plan your next visit!
Photography at Buttermere
The world is your oyster! There are countless opportunities for Landscape Photography at Buttermere. Haystacks and Fleetwith Pike are perfect subjects for your Lake District prints. Sour Milk Ghyll, Red Pike, High Style, and High Cragg surround the lake, Grasmoor towers above the village with Rannerdale Knots just below.