Walk around Buttermere

Further Details

Route Summary:

A walk around Buttermere lake is one of the best lake circuits in the Lake District. The walk is relatively easy and level with excellent views

Route Start Location: Buttemere village

7.6 km 141 m 1-2 hours

Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.

Activivity Type: Moderate Walk

Summits and Places on this Route


There are two pubs in Buttermere (the Bridge Hotel and The Fish Inn) along with a handful of tearooms and cafes. A public toilet (paid) is located at the main National Park car park


No specific hazards – you may need a torch to light your way through the short tunnel – a smartphone will suffice. At some points, the path is directly next to the lake so young children should be supervised.

Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Mountain Safety , Navigation and what equipment you’ll need.

Parking : National Park (Buttermere village) - CA13 9XA National Trust - CA13 9UZ - Gatesgarth Farm - CA13 9XA

There are a couple of car parks in Buttermere. The LD National Park car park is located behind the Fish Inn while there is a National Trust car park a short distance north-west of the village.

Additionally, there is a private P&D carpark at Gatesgarth Farm – an alternative starting point for this walk

Public Transport:

Honister Rambler service 77 from Keswick to Buttermere (Seasonal – April to October) You’ll need to check the Stagecoach site for information to see if the buses are currently running as there are no timetables available online.

Traveline for UK Public Transport

Recommended Maps


Walk around Buttermere Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

Download file for GPS

Walk around Buttermere

The small village of Buttermere, sandwiched between the famed lakes of Crummock Water and Buttermere (lake), has an irresistible quality that has drawn visitors since the beginning of tourism in the Lake District.. The lake and village are surrounded by fine fells, notably the craggy and dramatic High Stile range to the south-west, and Fleetwith Pike, and Haystacks dominating the south-east.

A walk around the lake at Buttermere has all the makings of a perfect Lakeland outing, suitable for the whole family thanks to a well-maintained circular path (it may be a little tricky in places for those using a pushchair). A clockwise circuit is arguably the best as you’ll be walking towards the dramatic outlines of Fleetwith Pike. This guide describes a clockwise circuit from Buttermere village.

Buttermere Lakeside Walk Route

1 – From the Bridge Hotel, walk uphill along the road, passing the small, white church hall on your left. Take a right into the farmyard where you’ll find the Syke Farm Tea Room (the left-most of the two farm entrances). Pass through the yard then along a track until you reach a pair of gates. Pass through the right gate, heading along a path, down towards the lake.

2 – The path turns left then crosses a footbridge over Bowder Beck before heading into a small stand of trees. Follow the path through the trees to the shores of Buttermere.

Walk around Buttermere

3 – At a junction of paths at the shoreline, keeping heading straight on, heading south-east with the lake on your right. The path is called Pike Rigg and doesn’t deviate much from the lakeshore. As you reach the woods at Dalegarth, the path enters a short, dark tunnel. Beware the low roof and puddles which form in the darkness as you pass through the tunnel.

Walk around Buttermere

4 – The path hugs the shore after the tunnel, squeezed against the lake by a craggy outcrop. The path emerges onto a gravelly beach with sublime views of Fleetwith Pike and Haystacks at the head of the valley. Continue along the shore until you reach a fork. Bear right on a more eroded path adjacent to the road at the south-east end of the lake. Join the road as it bends round to the left.

Walk around Buttermere

5 – You will need to walk along the road for approximately 500m until you reach Gatesgarth Farm. Cross the bridge over Gathesgarthdale Beck and turn immediately right, through a small gate next to a red post box. The path follows the stream, past the farmyard to a gravel track. Follow the track southwest to Peggy’s Bridge.

Walk around Buttermere

6 – Cross the bridge then pass through a gate. Take the next right to join the southern shore path back towards Buttermere village. After you cross a footbridge over Comb Beck, the path forks. Take the right-hand branch which stays low to the shoreline (marked as a Permissive Path on OS maps).

Walk around Buttermere

7 – Follow the Permissive Path to Sourmilk Gill, crossing it by using one of two footbridges. Follow the path around to the right and cross Buttermere Dubs (the outflow to the lake) via another footbridge. From the footbridge, a track leads along the field boundaries back to the village. A further Permissive Path along the lakeshore will lead to the path at Pike Rigg, taking you past Buttermere’s famed ‘lone tree’ – popular with photographers. Please note, the Permissive Path is closed between 1st April – 30th June for bird nesting.

Walk around Buttermere

Dave is our Lake District local expert, often found in the depths of Cumbria he's the author of his own part on the web, All the Gear but no Idea.

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