Ashness Bridge, the Bowder Stone and Watendlath Tarn
A Day out in Borrowdale
South from Keswick, the B5289 winds along close to the shore of Derwentwater, offering magnificent views across the lake to Catbells and Maiden Moor. The National Trust Great Wood Car Park gives the motorist an opportunity to leave the car and stroll down to the lakeshore through the woods.
A mile or so further on a minor road branches off steeply to the left, leading to Watendlath over and past one of the most photographed bridges in the Lake District. This fine small bridge, striding over a fast running beck, is a perfect foreground for the view north over Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite with the mass of Skiddaw rising steeply above Keswick. Even more dramatic is the Surprise View panorama a little further up the hill overlooking Keswick and Derwentwater.
The narrow wall rimmed lane twists its way along a 'hidden' valley to the hamlet of Watendlath, the home of Judith Paris in the novels of Hugh Walpole. If arriving by car it is advisable to park in the car parks at Surprise View and enjoy the easy two and a half mile walk to Watendlath. There is a footpath along the other side of the river for the return journey if you have adequate footwear. The hamlet has a seven acre tarn of the same name stocked with trout for fishing. Watendlath is entirely owned and protected by the National Trust as are many of the farms, much of the lake and most of the surrounding fells in the Borrowdale Valley. The minor road comes to an end in Watendlath and beyond this a path leads up into the fells and over and down into Rosthwaite.
The Bowder Stone
Back on the B5289, just past the attractive village of Grange in Borrowdale with its double arched bridge, a short walk from a car park leads to the Bowder Stone, a massive fallen rock which can be climbed by ladder and which is so perched that hands can be joined underneath its 2000 ton bulk. The chalky marks on the sides of the rock show the handholds of the 'boulderers' trying to climb the overhang.
The main Borrowdale valley road then winds along beside the River Derwent to the traditional Lakeland villages of Rosthwaite and Seatoller. Then Honister Pass rises steeply up to Honister Slate mine at the summit, a working slate mine and popular visitor attraction.
A day out in Borrowdale can be enjoyed using the local bus services. The Borrowdale Rambler operates all year round and goes from Keswick as far as Seatoller at the head of the Borrowdale Valley. Operating during the summer season only the Honister Rambler takes in Borrowdale, the spectacular Honister Pass, Buttermere, the Lorton Valley and Whinlatter. Explorer tickets are available for one or several days so you can hop on and off as you wish. To visit Ashness Bridge take the Borrowdale bus service 79 and get off at the Derwentwater Youth Hostel bus stop. From there it's only a short stoll up the lane to the bridge and along a footpath to Surprise View. If you want a longer walk it is about 4km to the hamlet of Watendlath with its tarn and cafe.