Things to do in the Lake District and, in particular, near Bawd Hall
The Lake District boasts an unrivalled range of activities and places to visit. Whether you want to be active or rested, stimulated or relaxed, there is plenty to appeal to everyone’s needs. We hope this page provides you with a reasonable introduction to what you can do during your stay at Bawd Hall. Click on each of the headers below to see what might interest you. Alternatively, as a general guide, why not visit the following web sites?
Walk straight out of the house to enjoy a wide variety of walks, including the famous “Newlands Round” (aka “Catbells Horseshoe”, comprising Catbells, Maiden Moor, High Spy, Dale Head and Hindscarth). Easier, but still with great views, is the fine ridge of Ard Crags. Nearby is the “Coledale Round” comprising Grisedale Pike, Hopegill Head, Crag Hill and Causey Pike.
Maps and guides
Also buy an OS map for the area where you intend to walk – the local map is OL4: Lake District NW.
We provide a full set of Wainwrights and maps in the house, as well as other guides such as walks for children, but these are for planning purposes - please use your own copies when you are out walking.
If you want to plan walks on the internet then there is a large
number of sites which can help – just put “Lake District Walks” into your
search engine. Some make a charge, whereas others are free but may be
less reliable. One good free site is
John Dawson’s Lake District Walks – see the section on the North-Western Fells for the local walks.
Energetic types may wish to attempt the Bob Graham Round. This comprises 42 Lake District fells traversed within 24 hours. One of the original pacers for Bob Graham when he completed this in 1932 was Phil Davidson – architect of Bawd Hall.
Getting to the start of the walk
All of the following mountains can be climbed from the house without having to drive and park: Catbells, Maiden Moor, Dale Head, Hindscarth, Robinson, Knott Rigg, Ard Crags, Aiken Knott, Sail, Scar Crags, Crag Hill, Causey Pike, Grasmoor, Hopegill Head and Grisedale Pike. The other North-Western and Buttermere fells are within a short drive.
Driving and parking in this part of the Lake District is usually a lot easier than in the central areas. Buttermere is about 10 minutes drive away. A further 15 minutes or so leads over Honister pass to Borrowdale Head and the big climbs up Scafell etc.
As Bawd Hall is on the western side of the Lake District, Wasdale is also reachable and offers the best climb up Great Gable.
Bring a bike – this is great cycling country and the house has lockable bike storage in the garage. There are a number of excellent quiet roads towards Derwent Water and Borrowdale, and along the Newlands valley.
The most famous cycle route is the C2C or coast to coast. The route travels through the northern Lake District close to Bawd Hall and over the Pennines. C2C is not a clearly marked cycle route but employs roads, old railways, and bridle paths combined with unspoilt hills and countryside to provide a truly exhilarating cycling experience.
For those who prefer good summer’s day rides as a way to see the lake district, then:
- the Derwent Water and Crummock Water routes provide an excellent way to view the lakes and provide perfect picnic days;
- Cockermouth to Bassenthwaite is an unspoilt and secluded route and provides great views of Bassenthwaite lake.
For keen road cyclists, the most famous local bike ride is the Fred Whitton Challenge. This takes place in May each year and is a gruelling 112 mile sportive challenge ride for charity around the Lake District, run in memory of Fred Whitton. It starts & finishes at Coniston, and the route includes the climbs of Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Hardknott & Wrynose passes. The route can be followed at any time either at your own speed or as a timed self-led challenge ride, called the Four Seasons Fred Whitton.
There are two specially-constructed mountain bike trails at Whinlatter Forest, a “moderate” one and a “difficult” one.
- the Altura Trail puts the mountain back into biking and has been built for experienced riders with good off road skills and a higher level of fitness and stamina. The trail is a 19 kilometre red grade mountain bike route which includes 15 kilometres of single track;
- the Quercus Trail is 7.5km long with a shorter 3.5 km option. It is a gem waiting to be discovered: expect flowing single track with gentle berms, rolling jumps, wide gradual climbs with technical features for the adventurous riders.
Bike hire is available from Cyclewise at the Whinlatter Centre.
The Borrowdale bash provides quite a challenging ride with a good mix of road and off-road conditions. There is a detailed guide here.
For more routes and ideas, see the Lake District National Park web page on cycling.
If you can’t bring your own bike, try hiring one from Cyclewise or The Keswick Mountain Bike Centre (017687 75202).
Messing about in boats
The lakes are ideal for sailing, canoeing or just cruising about. Derwent Water and Ullswater both have launch services with various landing points. Rowing boats can be hired on nearby Derwent Water.
Keswick launch serves 7 stops on Derwent Water.
Further afield is Windermere Lake Cruises.
For lots of activities, see Keswick Tourism.
Rookin House Farm (Troutbeck, south off the A66 near Penrith) provides equestrian, off-roading and other activities. Learn to climb in safety at Keswick climbing wall & activity centre. They have a new indoor climbing wall and also offer a wide range of outdoor activities such as Ghyll Scrambling , Canoeing , Archery and High Ropes. If the weather keeps you indoors then, other than the climbing wall, you can try:
- racing a go-kart at West Coast Indoor Karting, Maryport;
- work out or have a relaxing swim at Keswick Leisure Pool and Fitness Centre;
- or play table tennis at Bawd Hall.
For an evening at the theatre, try the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick, situated close to Derwentwater. You can park close by in the Lakeside car park – parking charges apply until 7 p.m. You can arrange a pre-theatre meal at the venue or the Highfield Hotel is just a short walk away.
Places to visit
The history and houses
The whole area is steeped in history. Below are just a few of the interesting places to visit.
- Castlerigg stone circle
- Wordsworth House, Cockermouth where the kids will be amused and the adults interested
- Senhouse Roman Museum, Maryport
- Haig Colliery mining museum, Whitehaven
- Cumberland pencil museum, Keswick
- Dalemain historic house & gardens (nr Ullswater)
- Hutton-in-the-forest historic house & gardens
- Muncaster Castle is well worth a visit (especially in spring) for the Sino-Himalayan gardens alone. Even better is to go when the house is open: the family still live there and provide a very personalised audio tour
- Blackwell, near Windermere is a fascinating arts & crafts house.
Entertainment & wet days
Kids can be difficult to persuade out onto the fells if the weather is
bad and need to be kept amused. Try the following:
The nearest town is Keswick which is about 6 miles (15 minutes drive) away and has an excellent range of shops catering for the walker’s every need: we particularly recommend George Fisher who, although they may not be the cheapest, carry a good range of quality clothing and have knowledgeable staff. There are also shops selling local produce and a good supermarket (Booths). On Thursdays and Saturdays there is a market. There are several taxi firms. 20 minutes away is Cockermouth – a prosperous market town, famous for being the birthplace of Wordsworth. It has a good range of general shops, especially antique shops, a fine delicatessen (Shills of Cockermouth in South Street), an excellent fish shop and 3 good butchers, as well as a Sainsbury’s supermarket.
To save time, Tesco.com, Asda.com and Sainsburys.co.uk will deliver groceries to the door. If arriving from the south via the M6, then try the Westmorland (Tebay) Services farm shop just north of junction 38. Penrith has a large Morrisons and Booths, plus a Sainsburys, and Rheged (1st roundabout on A66 after Penrith) stocks local specialities. Also, there is a well-stocked village shop at Braithwaite, where you turn off the A66 to go to Bawd Hall. Please support the local businesses and producers wherever possible.
Eating and drinking
Keswick is particularly well-supplied with pubs and restaurants, which serve a variety of mostly traditional food. Of the pubs, the Dog and Gun is a favourite (it also has free wi-fi), with beer from the newly established Keswick Brewery. We also like the George Hotel for evening dinner.
For luxury dining, then The Cottage in the Wood along the Whinlatter pass is highly recommended, as is The Highfield Hotel & Restaurant in Keswick. The Pheasant Inn at the top of Bassenthwaite lake is also very good (with a choice of bistro or restaurant).
The Lake District abounds in wildlife, some of which is quite rare in England. In particular, we have ospreys and red squirrels. Bawd Hall is an ideal spot for observation. We provide binoculars and a bird book, so that you can observe from the warmth and comfort of the garden room or lounge. Because of the elevated position of the house, you can look at the buzzards at their own level as they circle over the valley.
The following is a list of the wildlife recorded by guests as having been seen at Bawd Hall:
- redstarts fledging from their nest;
- tawny owls on the landing windowsill;
- red squirrels;
- all sorts of tits – blue, great & coal;
- finches – greenfinches, chaffinches, yellowhammers etc.;
- lots of different members of the crow family;
- buzzards, sparrowhawks, kestrel;
- greater and lesser spotted woodpeckers;
- and the usual assortment of robins, wrens etc.
We provide birdfeeders and food – just keep them filled to enjoy watching the birds.
As well as the wildlife of the fells and valleys, there is the additional variety created by the forests and the seaside.
Whinlatter Forest is famous for its red squirrels, mountain biking (see “cycling”) and its live webcam of the Osprey nest. It also has pleasant forest walks and a nice cafe.
For those who want a change from the mountains, it is not far to the seaside, which features cliffs, sandy beaches and good birdwatching. Take a look at The Solway Coast.
Cumbria Wildlife Trust has loads of information on wildlife, nature reserves and things to do.
The weather in the Lake District is often either beautiful or dramatic. Rain is necessary to keep the lakes filled and create the lush landscape, but the statistics can be misleading as the rain when it falls can be heavy. We often get beautiful sunny days, particularly in the period from March to June, when other parts of the country are covered in grey. Similarly, we often escape the worst of the winter weather, although the fells will be covered with snow. To understand the weather here, we hope that the links on this page will be helpful, or at least interesting.
Most forecasts are pretty unreliable as the topography of the Lake District means that the weather varies quite a lot from area to area. A good tip when planning a walk in doubtful weather is to go to the “leeward side” of the mountain district. So, if the wind is from the west, then High Street from Haweswater might be a good idea. In a south-easterly, try the north-west mountains such as the Grasmoor range. Also, unless the weather is settled, then any forecast more than a day ahead is quite likely to be wrong, particularly as regards the timing of events. That said, here are some of the most useful forecasts:
The mountain forecast is always a good starting point, as is the forecast by the Lake District Weatherline (this should be the same as the telephone-based service on 0844 846 2444).
The BBC forecast is a good way of understanding the overall weather pattern. Click on the link and then use the “forward” button to step through the forecast.
The Met Office site has useful tabs for both forecasts and actual weather and allows you to view rainfall radar etc. as well.
Below is the Met Office weather forecast for Keswick.
There are a number of useful webcams and weather stations in the area. A good collection of webcams can be found on the Lake District National Park Authority’s site.
Our own weather at Mosser (about 8 miles west of Bawd Hall) is shown in the clickable image below. See here for full details of the weather at Mosser.