Circuit of Buttermere
Buttermere has one of the most scenic yet accessible lakeshore paths in the Lake District. The stretch from Buttermere village across the valley and up the far side of the lake to Gatesgarth is even accessible by wheelchairs or buggies. The views from anywhere around the lake are striking whether you're looking down the valley towards Melbreak, or across the lake to the ridge on the other side, and particularly when looking towards Fleetwith Pike and Haystacks at the head of the valley. The description of this walk is from Buttermere village though you could start it from either end of the lake. The circuit is 4.5 miles on mostly good paths with very little up and down.

  • 4.5 miles in length
  • Mostly good paths with little up or down

Start from Buttermere village
Park in Buttermere car park and walk past the Bridge Hotel and the Fish Inn heading across the valley. Your way passes the Fish Inn car park, becomes a lane, then a bridleway through fields. Keep left where the bridleway divides. On the far side of the valley you approach the lake and there is a stunning view before you cross the bridge over Buttermere Dubs. Look down from the bridge - there is the most amazing green weed here!
Turn left along the lake
Turn left when you reach the far shore of the lake. Where there is a choice of paths, keep on the level and parallel to the lake shore. Already there will be striking views up the valley and across to Robinson and the Dale Head ridge.
Continue along the shore path
You cannot go wrong with this path as it sticks pretty close to the shore of Buttermere. For a section there are conifers along your route.

Looking back you will see the Grasmoor fells - Rannerdale Knotts, Grasmoor, Whiteless Pike, and Wandope - rising up beyond Newlands Hause.

Across the lake lies Robinson and the Dale Head ridge.
Turn left beyond the end of the lake
Keep parallel to the shore when there is a choice of paths, and stay on the level to beyond the end of the lake. When you can, turn left through a gate and cross the footbridge - Peggys Bridge - over Warnscale Beck. The path now takes you directly across the valley past the campsite to Gatesgarth Farm and the B5289.
Walk along the road for a stretch
You cannot avoid walking along the road for a while here, but turn left onto the lake shore footpath when it reappears so that you can regain the shore. Melbreak is the shapely fell you will see ahead beyond the foot of the lake.

When you look back to the head of the lake, Fleetwith Pike and Haystacks form one of the most striking valley views in the Lake District.

In fact, you will want to keep turning around to take more photos!
Keep along the shore
Your path now follows the shore around the lovely Hassness promontory.
The NT boats are always scenic
You will pass the National Trust boats moored along the shore near Dalesgarth - and they always make for a lovely photograph.

Looking across the lake you will see the High Stile range bordering Buttermere to the south west. Here you see High Crag on the left and High Stile on the right, with hanging valley or corrie of Burtness Comb in between.

As you walk along the lake, the view changes to include Red Pike, seen here through the trees.
Follow the path to Buttermere village
Towards the end of the lake you will have a last glorious view back to the head of the valley before your path leaves the shore to pass through fields and Wilkinsyke Farm to the road. It is now only a short way left and down into Buttermere village to return to your car or stop for some refreshment in the garden of the Bridge Hotel or the Fish Inn.

Start from Buttermere village
Park in Buttermere car park and walk past the Bridge Hotel and the Fish Inn heading across the valley. Your way passes the Fish Inn car park, becomes a lane, then a bridleway through fields. Keep left where the bridleway divides. On the far side of the valley you approach the lake and there is a stunning view before you cross the bridge over Buttermere Dubs. Look down from the bridge - there is the most amazing green weed here!

Turn left along the lake
Turn left when you reach the far shore of the lake. Where there is a choice of paths, keep on the level and parallel to the lake shore. Already there will be striking views up the valley and across to Robinson and the Dale Head ridge.

Continue along the shore path
You cannot go wrong with this path as it sticks pretty close to the shore of Buttermere. For a section there are conifers along your route.


Looking back you will see the Grasmoor fells - Rannerdale Knotts, Grasmoor, Whiteless Pike, and Wandope - rising up beyond Newlands Hause.


Across the lake lies Robinson and the Dale Head ridge.

Turn left beyond the end of the lake
Keep parallel to the shore when there is a choice of paths, and stay on the level to beyond the end of the lake. When you can, turn left through a gate and cross the footbridge - Peggys Bridge - over Warnscale Beck. The path now takes you directly across the valley past the campsite to Gatesgarth Farm and the B5289.

Walk along the road for a stretch
You cannot avoid walking along the road for a while here, but turn left onto the lake shore footpath when it reappears so that you can regain the shore. Melbreak is the shapely fell you will see ahead beyond the foot of the lake.


When you look back to the head of the lake, Fleetwith Pike and Haystacks form one of the most striking valley views in the Lake District.


In fact, you will want to keep turning around to take more photos!

Keep along the shore
Your path now follows the shore around the lovely Hassness promontory.

The NT boats are always scenic
You will pass the National Trust boats moored along the shore near Dalesgarth - and they always make for a lovely photograph.


Looking across the lake you will see the High Stile range bordering Buttermere to the south west. Here you see High Crag on the left and High Stile on the right, with hanging valley or corrie of Burtness Comb in between.


As you walk along the lake, the view changes to include Red Pike, seen here through the trees.

Follow the path to Buttermere village
Towards the end of the lake you will have a last glorious view back to the head of the valley before your path leaves the shore to pass through fields and Wilkinsyke Farm to the road. It is now only a short way left and down into Buttermere village to return to your car or stop for some refreshment in the garden of the Bridge Hotel or the Fish Inn.