With its breath-taking beauty, and unspoiled green landscapes, it’s easy to understand how the Lake District fells offered such a source of inspiration to Beatrix Potter. Her popular children’s books, full of eccentric characters and English scenes, have delighted young children for many years, and continue to draw coachloads of tourists to the local area.
Follow us as we go on a virtual Beatrix Potter Lake District adventure. Then why not lace up your hiking boots and experience this inspirational landscape for yourself?
Beatrix Potter walks: Claife Heights
The Claife Heights walk is one of Wainwright’s Outlying Fells, and is perhaps the most famous Beatrix Potter walk of all. The route starts from Potter’s home – the village of Near Sawrey. But it’s worth noting that this area gets clogged up with tourists in the summer months. So, if you fancy a quieter time take the path from Far Sawrey and join the track further up.
Claife Heights walks give great views for minimal effort due to the small fell’s central location amid the larger Langdale and Coniston ranges. This easy walk passes two tarns – Moss Eccles – thought to be the home of Potter’s Jeremy Fisher, and Wise Een, picture perfect with its Langdale Pikes backdrop. It then continues up to Latterbarrow, the highest point of the Claife Heights walk. Return is via the same route, or by way of a path through woodland along the Windermere side of the fell.
Beatrix Potter’s home
While you’re in the area be sure to visit Hilltop, the famous Beatrix Potter home where she spent the last 30 years of her life breeding her beloved Herdwick sheep.
As you wander, it’s easy to get carried away with the romance of it all. To imagine you see cheeky Benjamin Bunny and his friends scampering along, playing tricks on their arch-enemy Mr Tod, the long-suffering fox. While impish Squirrel Nutkin swings through the trees overhead, and kind Mrs Tiggy Winkle pegs out her washing to dry.
Ambleside to Windermere walk
Of all the Windermere walking routes, this is our favourite. Up over Wansfell, through the village of Troutbeck and down to the shores of Lake Windermere. The walk is not long, but includes a waterfall, a woodland, a steep ascent and panoramic views. What more can you wish for from a Beatrix Potter walk?
This Ambleside to Windermere walk begins in the centre of the town following signs to Jenkins Crag and Troutbeck. Passing Skelghyll Force, through woodland and across farmland, the path rises quickly, with extremely steep sections. As you leave the bustle of Ambleside behind, don’t forget to turnaround occasionally for stunning views over the town. It’s worth taking a well-deserved coffee stop at the top to gaze across Windermere as far as the eye can see.
From here, there is a signposted bridleway to Troutbeck, before returning along a route through the wooded banks of Windermere.
Beatrix Potter Lake District: On location
While you’re in the area, why not explore some of the locations from the film Miss Potter, released in 2006. Start from the Skelwith Bridge Hotel for a beautiful, non-strenuous route up to Loughrigg Tarn, tracing Renee Zellweger’s footsteps along the path skirting the top of the tarn.
Wander around Grasmere Village and imagine Beatrix Potter shopping in the little gingerbread shop (and make sure you buy some to try – it’s divine!).
Did you know that 2017 marks the centenary of Beatrix Potter’s Appley Dapply’s Nursery Rhymes? From Mr Pricklepin who doesn’t have a cushion to stick his pins in, to Diggory Delvet whose mounds you can see all over the ground – when you walk in the Beatrix Potter Lake District it’s easy to picture her strolling through the fells accompanied by her little friends. Which were your favourite Beatrix Potter characters?
Planning a longer adventure? Take a look at our Lake District location guide for more things to do while you’re visiting the area.