This is one of the best low-level walks in the Lake District, and perhaps the best circuit of any of the lakes, combining some breathtaking mountain scenery with a comparatively short walk.
Ascent: Virtually none
Length: 4.4 miles
Map: The English Lakes - North Western Area (OS Explorer Map Active)
Last Walked: 2009
We start in the National Park car park in Buttermere village.
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Head out of the car park, with the Fish Hotel on the right. At the entrance to the car park swing to the right, around the hotel. This brings us onto a lane that heads south out of the village, and after three bends brings us out onto a field at the foot of Buttermere lake.
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We are going to head clock-wise around the lake. Head down to the lake shore, and then turn left onto a path that runs along the shore.
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At the northern tip of the lake this path climbs up a small slope and reaches a T-junction with a second path. Turn right onto this path, and follow it as it runs down the northern shore of the lake. This beautiful path runs along the edge of the water for almost the entire length of the lake, even passing through a short tunnel at one point! Just before reaching the far end of the lake the path finally runs out of space, and we have to take to the road, which brings us to Gatesgarth Farm (and its refreshments).
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Look out for the signposted footpath that leaves the road to the right just before the main farm buildings at Gatesgarth (almost opposite the entrance to the car park). Turn right onto this path, and follow it as it runs south-west across the head of the lake.
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We follow this path as it crosses Peggy's Bridge. Just after crossing this footbridge the path passes through a wall, and splits in two. One path turns slightly to the right and begins to climb the slope above, heading for Scarth Gap. The other turns sharply to the right, and runs along the southern shore of the lake. Follow this second path. Just before the path enters Burtness Wood it splits again. Once again take the right-hand path, which runs closest to the lake, and provides some delightful places to stop and rest.
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At the far end of the lake follow the path as it curves around to the right, crossing a footbridge over Buttermere Dubs. This brings us back into the opposite end of the field we first visited at step two, so head along the length of the field to return to the lane that leads back to Buttermere.