Ennerdale offers great opportunities for walking with over 30 miles of public rights of way, forest roads and tracks. The higher ridges offer some of the best views of the northern Lake District mountains and valleys including Wasdale and Buttermere.
There are many routes up and down the high ridges which provide access to some of the most famous Lake District mountain peaks including Pillar (892m asl), Steeple (819m asl) and Great Gable (899m asl).
Both Bleach Green and Bowness Knott car parks offer good start points for walking in the valley. In poor weather conditions consider a walk around the lake starting at either car park.
If you intend to do some serious walking ensure you buy a good map such as the Ordnance Survey 1:25000 Outdoor Leisure series The English Lakes North Western Area Map 4.
The Smithy Beck Path
The Smithy Beck Trail starts and finishes at Bowness Knott car park. Follow the red painted way markers and wander in the footsteps of medieval settlers past a magical waterfall and juniper spires. Enjoy views into one of England’s wildest valleys and look out for Red squirrels collecting acorns.
The walk is ideal for families but is not suitable for most pushchairs as the path is narrow in places. However the route from the Car Park to Smithy Beck is a surfaced forest road. The path has a couple of moderately steep sections lasting 20 to 30m each. There is also a longer climb of 100m at the end of the walk from the lake shore back up to the car park.
The path is 2 miles long and takes around an hour or longer if you can’t stop playing pooh sticks and enjoying the views.
Smithy Beck Falls
The bridge below the falls is a great place to play pooh sticks
Ennerdale Views (formerly Sawdust Lonning)
The Ennerdale Views trail provides a short level route for all abilities. The trail offers spectacular views looking across Ennerdale Water into the wild valley with Pillar and Steeple guarded by Crag Fell and Herdus. On a windy day the waves crash onto the sandy lake shore beaches whilst shelter can be found as the trail takes the visitor inland between larch, and birch trees. Suitability. The trail offers mostly level surfaces where two people can walk side by side and which are suitable for wheelchair users. A new trail guide has yet to be published but the trail loosely follows the route of the Sawdust Lonning trail.
The trail is 1.3 miles long and takes around half an hour depending on how long you stop to enjoy the views.
The Liza Path
The River Liza is one of England’s most natural rivers. From its source under the majestic peak of Great Gable the river flows through a glacial landscape past the iconic Blacksail Youth Hostel. Constantly eroding new routes it flows through the heart of the big forest before calmly entering Ennerdale Water where Arctic Charr spawn at Charr Dub. Suitability. The Liza Path meanders along narrow grass and gravel paths. A few sections are not well defined encouraging exploration. Some areas are wet or the surface is rough or there is a side slope. Walking boots are recommended.
The trail is 2 miles long and takes around 1 hour each way excluding travel time from either car park or other start point
Constantly on the move the River Liza is one of the most natural rivers in England.
Round the Lake
Ennerdale Water is important for its diverse lake shore habitats and nutrient poor waters which are home to Salmon, Trout, Arctic Char and otter. The lake supplies 60,000 customers in West Cumbria with fresh water. The surrounding landscape is of European conservation importance for its special habitats and is home to a range of wildlife including red squirrels, cuckoo, deer, marsh fritillary and peregrine. Suitability. This is a low level walk along forest roads, tracks and narrow footpaths. The path surface along the south side of Ennerdale is rocky with many trip hazards along much of its length and some sections that are regularly very wet. The climb over Anglers Crag is very steep and includes a short exposed scramble. with a significant drop into the lake.
The walk is 6.5 miles long and takes around 3 to 4 hours depending on how long you stop to enjoy the views.