Considering Esthwaite is one of the lesser known bodies of water in the Lake District, we were very lucky to discover it’s charm and beauty on the first walk of our holiday. Situated in the south lakes, and just a stone’s throw from our accommodation at Hawkshead, Esthwaite was Beatrix Potter’s favourite. In fact, the eponymous nature trail which follows the shoreline around the south of the lake pays homage to Beatrix, who drew on the inspiration of the area when creating the famous frog character, Jeremy Fisher.
The walk is mainly along B roads, which means the five or so miles are easily achievable in casual footwear. Sadly there is no footpath for much of the route, which makes it less suitable for those with dogs or young children. We did spot a planning application notice appended to a fencepost along the road which runs by the eastern shore, suggesting a footpath may be in the offing in the future. Liz and I both agreed getting away form the road would improve the walk significantly.
Our adventure took around three and a half hours, with time spent exploring some of the attractions in Hawkshead, and frequent stops to take in the scenery and shoot some photographs. A little more time in my case -having just thirty six shots per roll of film, I wanted to make every one count. If you are staying elsewhere, Hawkshead is well worth a visit before or after you set off for your walk. There are shops, pubs, cafes, public toilets and ample pay and display parking. We stopped off for a spot of cake at the excellent Sun Cottage cafe and bakery, and were blown away by the exceptional choice (and size) of their scrummy wares.
Esthwaite is privately owned, and as such access to the water’s edge is restricted almost all of the way around. I would recommend taking the short walk along the public footpath near Roger Ground to access the shore at Nab, which would make a perfect spot for a summer picnic. Alas, our bellies were already full of cake! Alternatively, you can get very close to the water indeed by hiring a boat from the Osprey Safari. If the thought of getting on the water is too much, you can make use of the public car park to access the shoreline or meander along the Beatrix Potter nature trail.
We were pleasantly surprised by the number of attractions and activities available in such a small corner of Cumbria. The walk may not be the most challenging or technical under foot, but the breathtaking views and variety of wildlife along the way make Esthwaite a great pace to visit.
Have you visited Esthwaite water? Perhaps you’ve found an alternative route? We’d love to hear all about it.