June Walks Giveaway: Buttermere, Lake District

June Walks Giveaway: Buttermere, Lake District

This walk is reproduced from our popular walking book 'Lake District - A Dog Walker's Guide'A dog isn't required, but if you do have one, they will LOVE this walk. 

📥 To download this walk and take it with you, click here!


Distance: 3 miles 


Buttermere is nestled away in a remote valley south-west of Keswick, at the far side of the mountainous Honister Pass. Buttermere is a popular place for walkers but much quieter than the more central, easily accessible hiking bases.

The name of this delightful place comes from a Norse Chieftain known as Jarl Boethar, who stamped his authority on Buttermere by naming the valley at a time when many Vikings were settling in the region. Boethar was regarded as a hero for the way he stood up for remote Cumbria against the Norman forces in the 11th century. Today, Buttermere is a much more peaceful place, with an isolation and rugged landscape that draws people in.


The Fish Inn is great, though dogs are not allowed inside. Elsewhere, try Walkers Bar at the Bridge Hotel in Buttermere, where you’ll find great food and dogs are allowed. 


Buttermere can take a while to reach, it being further west than the more central walking areas. But, of course, that is also the appeal of the place. If heading down from Cockermouth, take the B5289 out of the town and follow signs for Buttermere. From Keswick, take the B5289 to Seatoller and Honister, finding Buttermere after negotiating the Honister Pass.

Park at the pay and display car park in Buttermere village, close to the Fish Inn.
(GR NY173168) Map: OS Explorer OL4 The English Lakes: North-western area.


1. We start this lovely walk by Buttermere from the car park next to the Fish
Inn. Beside the pub is a track that is signed down to the lake. Follow this track, bending first to the left and then to the right. Keep a look out for the waterfall up to the right as Sour Milk Gill crashes down the hillside.

Before you pass the National Trust sign for Buttermere, there is a bin for dog mess on the left should you need to use it. Turn right here and continue down the path, with the lake away to the left. Cross a couple of footbridges over streams flowing into the lake.

2. Make your way through a gate and turn left, to the lakeside path. This is a generally easy-access path, although sections can be a little bumpy. Your dog will love this section as it gives a chance to paddle and also roam between the pines. There are great views here over the lake towards the white house on the other side, and it’s a joy to follow this section of the route as it sticks close to the water.

You travel over quite a few streams feeding into Buttermere, including one that has a small wooden footbridge, and then continue straight ahead through a gate. At this point you leave the wood and enter an area of bracken with the waterfalls of Comb Beck up on the right.

3. Just before you get to Comb Beck and before the bridge, look out for a track on the right that doubles back on the lakeside path and heads up the hill towards the trees. Take this and begin the diagonal ascent to the wood. When you reach it, go through a gate and continue straight ahead along the track into the middle of the woods. The path forks in two; our route sticks to the left. There are several small streams to cross, one with stepping stones and others requiring you to splash through them.

You can see the lake down on your right all the time as you keep pressing on along the path, which starts to climb. There’s another path turning off down the hill, but whenever the lake is on your right you need to take the path on the left and stay on the hillside. You’ll eventually reach a set of rocky steps down to the right. Go to the bottom of these and through a gate, then over the bridge. You now find yourself on the track you set out on. Follow this as it winds a steady way back to the pub in Buttermere.

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  • Alex Batho
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