Walk the Coffin Route Ambleside to Grasmere

Route Information

The Gables, Old Lake Rd, Ambleside LA22 0AE, UK


Route Summary:

Low level walk along an old corpse road between Ambleside and Grasmere

Distance: 6.5 Kms

Ascent: 190 metres

Time: 2 hours

Start and Finish: Ambleside - Grasmere


Pubs start and finish, cafes.


Public Transport:

There’s a frequent bus service in order to return to the start – Travel Line.


Parking Post Code for Sat Nav: 

Walk the Coffin Route Ambleside to Grasmere

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The Coffin Route or the Coffin Road is an easy walk between the two Lakeland bases of Ambleside and Grasmere, that can stand alone as an easy ramble or be used to connect a wide horseshoe around Helvellyn and Fairfield. It takes you high enough above Rydal Water and Grasmere to gain a view, but not to tire you out.

The Coffin Route is an old corpse road that was used in medieval times to carry the dead to the consecrated ground at St Oswalds in Grasmere for burial. Those following the route these days are a little more lively, and you probably won’t encounter any coffins on the way. Just think though, that when you stop for a breather on a nice flat rock – that it was probably where those undertaking the hard work of coffin carrying would have rested their casks for a well earned break!

The walk initially follows the road from Ambleside before it follows a good track to Rydal before crossing Rydal Park and the Nab, with views across Rydal Water. This is Wordworth country, and you’ll pass two of his homes along the way; Rydal Mount and Dove Cottage. Rydal Mount was where Wordsworth died in 1850 and provides tours and afternoon teas on appointment. Dove Cottage in contrast was Wordsworth’s first family home, has a museum and is worth a visit for anyone who want’s to know more about the poet.

While walking the Coffin Route in one direction is the easy option, with frequent buses passing between Grasmere and Ambleside, you could also walk it in both directions. Alternatively, you could return to Ambleside by following Loughrigg Terrace, returning over the hill of Loughrigg. A Further option is to return along the opposite shore of Rydal Water, and either rejoining the Coffin Route at Rydal, or following a minor road back to Ambleside.

Coffin Road Route Map

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This walk features as one of our Best Walks from Ambleside.

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1 Comment
  1. […] Ambleside as we’ll take you – which is technically walking distance if you take the Coffin Route! This Lakeland winter adventure by Local Expert – Dave Chick takes you up Helm Crag, yet […]

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