Keswick to Rosthwaite walk via Ashness Bridge, Surprise View and Watendlath

A 7.5 mile linear walk, full of interest, starting from Keswick, taking in Walla Crag, Ashness Bridge and Surprise View, with its fantastic vantage point over Derwentwater. It takes you via Watendlath beck to the hamlet and tarn of the same name before going up and over Puddingstone Bank to Rosthwaite. You can then take the bus back to Keswick.

  • Distance - 7.5 miles
  • Time 4 hours
  • Starting Point - Moot Hall, Keswick
  • Public transport (for the return trip to Keswick from Rosthwaite), no.78 all year round, no. 77 summer only. Click here for timetables.
  • Feedback - Please contact Keswick Tourism Association email [email protected]

1. Start from the Moot Hall in Market Square & head between Gregg's Bakery and The Royal Oak at Keswick into St John's Street. Pass the George Hotel on your left and shortly after pass St John's Church on your right. The road curves to the left. Just before the road starts to go uphill turn right into Springs Road. 

2. Follow the road as it bends first left and then right until it ends at Springs Farm. Go through the gate and up into Springs Wood. Walk up through the wood with the stream on your left. Shortly the path splits in two, take the right-hand path. The path bends to the left and as it continues upwards the views over Derwentwater to the fells beyond open up as you climb giving you the opportunity to catch your breath and take a photo. The path continues past a mobile mast.

3. Go through a kissing gate and continue through a wooded section to a wooden bridge over the steam. Cross the bridge and continue up to a gate. Turn right onto a lane and shortly at a fork take the right hand one sign posted Walla Crag. Cross the stream over a wooden bridge and follow the path uphill signposted Walla Crag 1 mile. The path soon goes through a gate and continue upwards. After a short but steep climb take time to enjoy the views over Keswick, the Skiddaw range, Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite Lake.

4. The path drops down to where there is often a boggy patch and then rises to meet a wall next to a cairn. Here you have a choice of routes, you can go through a kissing gate on your right which takes you to the summit via a rocky path close to the edge of the crag with fine views over Derwentwater. Alternatively, for the less agile or with younger children continue forwards up the grassy path beside the wall. The path goes down and back up again, again it can be quite boggy in the dip. At the top of the next rise, a stile on your right takes you past a cairn to the summit of Walla Crag.

5. After enjoying the summit views head down to a stile which leads over to a short rocky section. At a cairn take the left hand of two paths and then keep right at a fork in the route. Keep to the same rocky path downhill for just over a mile crossing streams as you descend. Go through a gate. Soon you will see another gate leading to a bridge. Don't go through this gate but turn right downhill signposted Ashness Bridge 150m. Go over a stile and bear left to Ashness Bridge, a much-photographed spot.

6. Over the bridge, continue on the road up two hill sections, passing Ashness Farm on the left. You soon reach Surprise View on the right, with a wonderful panorama across Derwentwater, Keswick and Skiddaw. Continue along the road, then in a few minutes turn right off the road onto a broad track leading signposted Watendlath 11/2 miles. The path takes you downhill through woodlandand through a gate. Turn right here and cross the footbridge.

7. After the bridge spot the triangular slate signpost on the ground. Follow the left arrow to Watendlath along the beckside path. Go over a bridge. Soon the path rises away from the beck up stone steps to a gate. Keep forward to another gate, over a small bridge and through another gate. The path curves and heads down to the hamlet of Watendlath. Go through a gate to the right hand side of the packhorse bridge. Don’t go over the bridge but continue forwards on the path to the right hand side of Watendlath Tarn. Go through a gate to a lovely spot to pause a while on the edge of the tarn.

8. Now turn immediately right uphill onto a bridleway signposted Rosthwaite. A short climb up a stony path gives way to a gently undulating path. Shortly go through a gate and then the path drops down towards Rosthwaite. Go through a gate, from here Rosthwaite comes into view over to the left. Continue downhill. When you reach a gate turn right through it signpostedRosthwaite. The path goes down through a gate and comes to a bridge. Turn right to go over the bridge and down to the road. The bus stop to return to Keswick (with shelter) is on the other side of the road just to your left.

Did you know? - The small glaciated Watendlath Valley is a 'hanging' valley, left behind when the large Borrowdale glacier eroded the main valley so much more deeply.

Download pdf of Keswick to Rosthwaite Walking Route

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