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Buttermere

Hiking around Buttermere

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Photo: Tom

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The very name of Buttermere is evocative, conjuring an image of something delectable – it rolls off the tongue beautifully. Walks around Buttermere deliver on this promise; it is nestled in a truly gorgeous pocket of the Lake District. A dynamic place, depending on its mood Buttermere can be vibrant and picturesque or dark and spectacular.

The valley is dominated by some of the most dramatic peaks in Lakeland. Experience the sight of Haystack’s rocky ramparts reflected in the pristine waters of Buttermere, one of the iconic images of the national park. Discover the superb trails around the lakeshore and that of nearby Crummock Water. They make for wonderful family walks with stunning mountain views, lovely woodland and quaint tearooms for that all-important scone.

If you prefer something a bit more strenuous, there are a plethora of mountainous hikes around Buttermere. There’s everything from child-friendly mini mountains to lengthy ridge traverses across the higher peaks.


Top 20 best walks and hikes around Buttermere

    Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    1
    1
    Intermediate
    02:28
    5.81 mi
    2.3 mph
    275 ft
    275 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
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    2
    Intermediate
    01:51
    4.36 mi
    2.4 mph
    200 ft
    200 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
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  • 3
    Easy
    01:37
    3.89 mi
    2.4 mph
    125 ft
    125 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
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    4
    Intermediate
    04:07
    6.80 mi
    1.7 mph
    2,075 ft
    2,075 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    5
    Difficult
    06:12
    10.1 mi
    1.6 mph
    2,750 ft
    2,750 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    6
    Difficult
    05:03
    8.11 mi
    1.6 mph
    2,400 ft
    2,375 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    7
    Intermediate
    04:32
    8.30 mi
    1.8 mph
    1,675 ft
    1,675 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    8
    Difficult
    06:24
    11.5 mi
    1.8 mph
    2,850 ft
    2,850 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    9
    Intermediate
    03:25
    5.73 mi
    1.7 mph
    1,750 ft
    1,750 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    10
    Intermediate
    04:14
    8.34 mi
    2.0 mph
    1,475 ft
    1,475 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    11
    Intermediate
    02:38
    5.67 mi
    2.2 mph
    625 ft
    625 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    12
    Difficult
    01:52
    3.26 mi
    1.8 mph
    700 ft
    700 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.
    View
    13
    Intermediate
    01:48
    4.21 mi
    2.3 mph
    225 ft
    225 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    14
    Intermediate
    03:44
    6.46 mi
    1.7 mph
    1,375 ft
    1,375 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    15
    Difficult
    06:51
    11.1 mi
    1.6 mph
    2,900 ft
    2,900 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    16
    Intermediate
    04:51
    11.4 mi
    2.4 mph
    425 ft
    425 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    17
    Difficult
    07:04
    10.9 mi
    1.5 mph
    3,650 ft
    3,650 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    18
    Intermediate
    02:23
    3.98 mi
    1.7 mph
    1,250 ft
    1,250 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    19
    Intermediate
    04:36
    10.1 mi
    2.2 mph
    975 ft
    975 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    20
    Intermediate
    03:26
    4.03 mi
    1.2 mph
    1,975 ft
    1,975 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View

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More Information

Family-friendly shoreline rambles

The secret is out. Despite its secluded position, tucked away in the west of the Lake District, Buttermere is much loved and deservedly popular. Perhaps the classic walks around Buttermere are those that explore the lakeshore. If you want the trails to yourselves, weekends and public holidays are best avoided – though if this is not possible, start early. You’ll be richly rewarded with some of the most beautiful circular routes in the national park.

It makes for a glorious day out with the family and the dogs. The village of Buttermere is well equipped with a choice of pubs and tearooms for the post-walk bribery of an ice cream. If you’re hankering for a cheeky summit without detailed expedition planning, nearby Rannerdale Knotts is charming and boasts tremendous views across the mere. Just keep those dogs on a lead around sheep.

Some of Lakeland’s most scenic tarns

There’s a myriad of splendid objectives for your hikes around Buttermere. On a summer’s day, there is nothing better than dipping into a mountain tarn to cool off. Bleaberry Tarn is an absolute gem, tucked in the hollow between High Stile and Red Pike. Meanwhile, tarns are liberally scattered amongst the summit rocks of Haystacks, legendary guidebook writer Alfred Wainwright’s favourite fell.

The epic Western Fells

The best hiking trails around Buttermere are those that offer adventure up amongst the craggy Western Fells. You’re spoilt for choice, as magnificent mountain trails radiate from Buttermere like the spokes of a wheel. The imposing High Stile range dominates the mere and makes for an epic hike. Culminating in a 2,647-foot (807 m) summit, the view across wild Ennerdale to neighbouring giant Pillar is marvellous, whilst the extensive panorama of the Lake District’s peaks is sensational.

Buttermere is accessible by only three roads, two of which are over mountain passes: Honister and Newlands. A great way to quickly get up amongst the high trails is to park at the top of them and stride forth. Of course, the higher you go the colder and more severe the weather will be, so pack accordingly. Always be ready for rain regardless of a perfect forecast. In full winter conditions, the higher fells may require mountaineering skills and experience. If unsure, stick to lower objectives.

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