Lake District Adventures: Walla Crag and Ashness Bridge

9 August 2019

On a week off in July, I set off for a day trip back to the Lake District for a walk around Derwent Water in Keswick. Wanting to challenge ourselves a little more, we chose a walk with a steeper accent, reaching to 379m. It was a fantastic walk, with spectacular views across Derwent Water and the impressive peaks of Cat Bells, a fell reaching to 451m, in the distance. We wandered through mossy woodlands, walked through a jungle of ferns, stopped at the beautiful Ashness Bridge and climbed all the way to the Walla Crag viewpoint.

We set off early for our journey, that took us around 3 hours to arrive at Keswick. The weather kept changing as we drove further up North, one minute it was bright and sunny then the next it was dark and cloudy. We were both hoping for more moody clouds, but once we arrived in Keswick the sun came out again and it was starting to warm up.

We parked the car at the Great Wood car park, where if you have a National Trust membership card, you can get free parking for the whole day! Now this is where our walking route changed slightly, the map told us to follow the path beside a picnic bench at the top corner of the car park. It wasn't until the end of our trail that we realised there were two picnic benches and we followed the end path. It was certainly all part of the adventure!

Walking through the Great Wood we had to take a slight diversion due to work being done on the forest, but once back to our trail again we headed up some steps towards Cat Gill waterfall where we walked across a footbridge and took a rocky path out of the woodland. Although hazy, the views of the mountains in the distance were absolutely beautiful to see. We both stopped for a moment, to sit on a large rock surrounded by ferns to take in the views across Derwentwater. I was so excited to see patches of purple heather beginning to bloom across the hills surrounding us, around late summer is peak time for seeing heather across the landscapes!

After walking for a while, the path then took us back to the road where we came to Ashness Bridge. This charming little bridge is one of the most popular photographed packhorse bridges in the Lake District. After stepping across rocks towards the bottom of the bridge to take photographs of the rushing water, we took a steep climb to take us towards Walla Crag.

It became a lot cooler in temperature as we climbed higher amongst the hills. We stopped again at a beautiful viewpoint, where the pine trees stood tall along the slope of the hill and we could just make out Bassenthwaite Lake in the distance. We hopped along a little stream and headed upwards towards a stile where we made our way up along the rocky ground towards Walla Crag. It was extremely windy standing at the top of the crag, but we stood at the rocky platform for a while, admiring the views of Cat Bells and Derwentwater. The path back towards Great Wood car park was a little tricky at times, having to always watch our step as we made a steep descent down a rocky path. But once back to the trees again, we followed the route back to the car park, where we stopped for our lunch before setting off out of the Lake District.

National Trust walking trail

Walk: 5/5 
Views: 5/5
Difficulty: Moderate 

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