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Walk the Coffin Route Ambleside to Grasmere

By Dave Roberts   

on March 6, 2018    5/5 (2)

Walk the Coffin Route Ambleside to Grasmere

Further Details

Route Summary:

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

Route Start Location: Ambleside - Grasmere

6.4 km 184 m 2 hours

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

Activivity Type: Easy Walk, Trail or Fell Runs

Summits and Places on this Route


The walker is spoilt for choice for pubs and cafes at either end. Visit our best Walks from Ambleside and Walks from Grasmere for more information.


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 :

Public Transport:

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

Traveline for UK Public Transport

Walk the Coffin Route Ambleside to Grasmere Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

Download file for GPS

Walk the Coffin Route Ambleside to Grasmere

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

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

Dave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader. Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.
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