It’s that time of year when we all like to indulge ourselves a little and spend a bit of well-earned time relaxing in a comfy chair. However, all that lovely Christmas food and drink will only taste even better after a bracing winter walk. This low-level circuit around Great Langdale is never too taxing, but is just long enough to give you an appetite. It follows mainly very good paths with a steep and slightly rougher section in the woods above Elterwater.
From the Three Shires Inn to Elterwater
From the Three Shires Inn turn left (with the inn behind you) and head along the road as far as Wilson Place farm where a footpath sign points off to the left. Go through the farmyard and gate and follow a footpath which is confined narrowly between two fences. Pass through another gate and then turn left, to follow a path through a field with good views down the valley.
This path reaches another gate which opens onto a wide gravel track. Turn right on the track and head slightly downhill to another gate on the edge of woodland. Keep on following the track, which is rough and slippery in places and which heads downhill, eventually leading to the road at Elterwater. Turn left and follow the road into the village.
Elterwater to the New Dungeon Ghyll
Follow the road as far as the bridge across the river. Before the bridge turn left following a wooden signpost in the direction of Chapel Stile. Follow the tarmac until you reach a large footpath sign written onto a block of slate. Here a gravel path heads downhill (signposted to Chapel Stile and Langdale). Follow the gravel path, which overlooks the Langdale resort.
The path drops down next to the river and then leads to a footbridge. Cross over on the footbridge to emerge onto the road leading into Chapel Stile. Turn left and follow the road past the front of the Wainwrights’ Inn. Another path then leads off to the left after the pub. Follow this path behind the school and look out for another footpath sign written on a wooden plaque on a wall next to a white house. Follow this path, which eventually runs parallel to the main road and leads down past buildings to a bridge.
Follow the bridge over the river and then follow the wide track which runs beside Great Langdale Beck. In the summertime this area is usually busy with campers. You will come to another bridge leading off to the right across the river. Go over this and follow the track until you can turn left and follow a very wide track down the valley (signposted to Great Langdale). This track leads across fields to the national park car park on the road near the New Dungeon Ghyll.
If you’re feeling the need for sustenance at this point, the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel and Stickle Barn, which is next door, are both great options for a mid-ramble beer.
New Dungeon Ghyll to Baysbrown Wood
Follow the road for a short distance down the valley (with the large National Trust car park on your right) and then turn left through a gate in the wall, signposted to Oak Howe. Follow the track across the field to reach a farm and then follow the path up the fellside. This path is not very high, but still offers a lovely outlook back down Great Langdale.
The path begins to drop back down to the valley floor and eventually leads to the little collection of buildings at Oak Howe. Here, turn right and follow the path which leads into woodland. The path heads through the woods until it reaches Baysbrown farm. After the farm, keep following the track, which eventually turns to tarmac and continues through the woods.
Baysbrown Wood to the Three Shires Inn
The tarmac eventually brings you to a stone house where a path leads uphill (signposted to Little Langdale). Follow the path, which is quite steep and a bit rough. This path eventually flattens out and then leads to the gate on the track you encountered at the start of the walk. Follow the track uphill until you get to the gate on the left. Follow the path across the field back to Wilson Place farm and the Three Shires Inn.