Walla Crag from Great Wood

Walla Crag

This is a fairly easy walk to the top of Walla Crag via Ashness Bridge and finishing with a walk around Derwent Water. Walla Crag is by no means the highest crag in the Lakes but trust me when I say the views off this small crag are as good as any from most higher mountains in the area. On the walk you will visit the beautiful Ashness Bridge, one of the most photographed and painted bridges in the country and when you see it for yourself with Derwent Water and Skiddaw as its backdrop you'll understand why. The second leg of the walk is a quiet river side walk through natural woodland and then on to the third leg. Finally a walk round the shores of Derwent Water where you can sit at Friar's Crag and enjoy one of the best views in the Lake District, a view that inspired many a famous poet. A great half day walk with varying views and interests along the way.

Route Directions

  1. This walk starts from the National Trust's Great Wood car park. The car park entrance is just over a mile south of Keswick off the B5289 Borrowdale Road at grid reference NY 271 214.
  2. From the car park head south along a track through the wood. This track eventually turns in to a path and crosses Cat Gill over a wooden footbridge.
  3. After crossing Cat Gill the path is fairly flat and opens up to reveal views to the right over Derwent Water to the Derwent Fells, most noticeably Cat Bells.
  4. Keep on this path heading south towards Ashness Bridge with the crags of Falcon Crag on your left and the views to Derwent Water on your right. After just over a kilometre you will reach Ashness Bridge.
  5. Ashness Bridge is one of the most photographed and painted man made structures in the Lake District. As well as being an impressive stone bridge, its elevated position gives it a fantastic backdrop to the mighty Skiddaw over Derwent Water.
  6. After taking in the stunning views from Ashness Bridge head back to the same path again but this time turn right and head up the path ascending towards Falcon Crag. On your way up this path make sure you look out for the birds that give it its name.
  7. The path flattens out as it reaches the top of Falcon Crag and heads north east across the moorland of Low Moss. Head in a north easterly direction on the obvious path to round the top of Cat Gill above Great Wood.
  8. The path crosses a few boggy areas and then reaches a wall on the left where a stile can be crossed to reach the true top of Walla Crag known as Lady's Rake. The views from the top of this impressive crag are absolutely stunning.
  9. Looking south you will see the high Central Fells above the Borrowdale Valley. Ahead or west the view that really sucks you in is that over Derwent Water to the Derwent Fells. North the view is dominated by the mighty bulk of Skiddaw and to its right its little but just as impressive sister Blencathra.
  10. From the summit head back over the stile to the main path and turn left in a north easterly direction to descend the grassy path to Rakefoot. The views ahead and to the left now over the stone wall are to Blencathra.
  11. At the bottom of the descent cross the bridge over Brockle Beck and head north through the farm and on to the exit road. After just a hundred and fifty metres head left following the footpath signs to another small bridge back over Brockle Beck.
  12. The path now heads north west through Springs Wood following Brockle Beck. This woodland's floor is awesome in spring when covered in Bluebells. After the wood the path meets the end of the tarmac road known as Springs Road.
  13. Walk along the road with fields on the left and houses on your right for half a kilometre and then had left along the footpath across a field to Castlehead Wood.
  14. When you reach the wood head through it on a path that goes slightly right and then almost immediately left heading towards the higher ground in the wood. The higher ground is worth a visit as it gives a great viewpoint. Head back down to the main path then turn left and head west towards the busy Borrowdale Road.
  15. At Borrowdale Road head left for a hundred metres on the path behind the road side. After a hundred metres cross the road to another path which crosses a field to another woodland area known as Cockshot Wood.
  16. Head slightly right through the wood or right round it to reach the landing stages and boat house at the edge of Derwent Water.
  17. Head south along the shore of Derwent Water and after three hundred metres you will reach the peninsula of Friar's Crag. This incredible view point was the inspiration for many a famous poet.
  18. Continue round the shore line in the same direction and cross the small footbridge at Strandshag Bay. The path now leaves the shores and heads round a woodland area knows as The Ings.
  19. The path continues south and reaches another peninsula then heads round to Calfclose Bay. Head east through the woods to the Borrowdale Road and cross it to reach the Great Wood car park. On your way home there is of course plenty of places to fondle gear, eat, drink and stay in Keswick.

Maps for this walk

Paper maps for this walk

Click to buy OS Explorer OL4 Map Click to buy OS Landranger 90 Map Click to buy Harvey Super Walker Lakeland Central Map Click to buy Harvey Lake District Mountain Map

GPS files for this walk

Route map of this walk

Photos & Trip Reports

Planning for a walk

Check the weather

The weather is a very important part of hill walking. Weather conditions and daylight hours will dictate where you walk, what gear you will need to carry, how far you walk, and may even decide if you go at all. The following links will help you gather information on weather conditions for areas of Britain...

Plan your journey

Planning your journey before you set off for your walk can save you vital hours on the day. You need to make sure you know the area surrounding your starting point as many factors can influence or change the place you park. Don't forget change for parking meters and fees.

Maintenance of your vehicle and being ready for breakdown situations when driving to remote areas is also vital. Pack a full spare petrol can in your boot, and take de-icing tools in winter, including a shovel. The Transport Direct website below is a great resource for anyone wanting to get to the start of their walk using public transport...

Pack the right gear

Carrying and wearing the right gear is essential for walkers to remain comfortable and safe while hill walking in Britain. However, the best gear in the world is of no use to anyone who doesn't know how to use and care for it. Knowing how to use your gear will give you a much more enjoyable experience. The following items are, in my opinion, the essential items to wear and carry for a hill walk in Britain. It would be foolish to head into the hills and mountains of Britain without these essential items and the knowledge of how to use them. Check out the gear section of this site for techniques and gear lists...

  • Footwear
  • Clothing
  • Rucksack
  • Warm Clothes
  • Waterproofs
  • Map & Compass
  • Emergency Kit
  • First Aid Kit
  • Food & Drink
  • Seasonal Gear

Know what to do in emergencies

It is good practise to tell someone where you are going, and when you expect to return. If you don't get in contact when you said you would on your return, and those you told can't get hold of you, at least they will be able to provide the search party with your general location.

Emergency equipment in the check list above means items such as a survival bag, whistle, and emergency food rations. This isn't anything special; any whistle will do, the orange emergency bags only costs a few pounds, and basic food rations can consist of a couple of chocolate bars. Carrying a head lamp is also an important component and a vital piece of kit used for signalling when you require rescuing.

You should always try and get out of a difficult or emergency situation using your own gear, knowledge and energy. If you cannot do this, then you should dial 999 and ask for the police. Use all the gear you have to keep any unwell or injured members of your party or yourself safe and warm, and use your signalling devices to let the rescuers know your whereabouts. To do this blow six good long blasts on your whistle, or flash six flashes of your torch. Stop for one minute. Repeat. Carry on with the whistle blasts until someone reaches you, and don't stop because you've heard a reply.

Never contact mountain rescue unless absolutely necessary, but on the other hand don't ever feel guilty for having to do so, especially if you are a prepared walker. The Mountain Rescue teams are full of fantastic like-minded souls who love nothing more than people who are prepared for being safe in the mountains.