Ashness Bridge is probably the most photographed bridged in The Lake District and it’s thankfully, it’s easily accessible too. With a car park adjacent to it and another car park closer to Surprise View, it can be done by both car and on foot. Here’s how you can take the Keswick Launch anti-clockwise around Derwentwater, get off at Ashness Pier & walk up to Surprise View.
You’ll Need To Disembark At Ashness Pier
Disembarking at Ashness Pier you arrive at the road that takes you up to Ashness Bridge. It is all well signposted.
Ashness Pier Up to Ashness Bridge
From the Pier and walking up to the bridge is about a ten minute, up-hill walk and it is all on a tarmac road. The road runs parallel to the river of Barrow Beck so there is an opportunity to deviate a bit, if you wanted to.
The Road Up To Ashness Bridge
The road up towards Ashness Bridge wasn’t busy but nor was it very quiet, so do be careful of vehicles, if you go.
Ashness Bridge is a traditional stone-built, pack-horse bridge that is the gateway to Surprise View and the mountain of Watendlath. It gives views across Borrowdale towards the mountain of Skiddaw and is always busy with people.
Take The Hill Up Towards Surprise View
Carrying on walking up the hill leads you through typical Cumbrian, picturesque countryside. The snow-topped mountain of Watendlath dominates the views to the south and Skiddaw the views to the north.
Again you share the road with cars so do keep an eye out.
Arriving At Surprise View
What awaits you at the top of the road is called ‘Surprise View’ and is quite simply a breathtaking spot to look out at, if you can get a space! Because there’s a car park adjacent to the view, it can get quite busy.
From Surprise View, you can see Borrowdale to the south, the whole of Derwent Water and on a clear day the lake of Bassenthwaite to the north. You can just make out Bassenthwaite to the top right-hand side of the photo below.
Watch Out For Local Animals
The woodlands of the surrounding fells are oak trees, they are home to a wide range of bird species, red squirrels and deers.
Descend Via The Victorian Water Falls
Descending back past Ashness Bridge, on your left-hand side is a small wooden swing gate belonging to the Derwentwater Independent Hostel. The route then follows a designated path through the woodlands following Barrow Beck.
Walking Through The Hostel Grounds
We walked through the hostel grounds, around the side of the hostel and cut down the hill until we reached a path (parallel to the road) that runs through Ashness Woods and along to Lodore Hotel.
The path meanders through the woods and at times crosses the road where the path continues along the shores of Derwentwater. When we walked through, the path was wet and muddy so we were very glad we had sturdy boots on.
Arriving at Lodore Pier
The path takes you to the Lodore Falls Hotel, where directly opposite is the entrance for Lodore Pier. Here we caught the Keswick Launch back to Keswick.
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