Once the clocks have gone back there is more daylight and warm sunshine and so longer walks can be enjoyed. This walk is a joy to me because it ends with a boat trip. For this you need to plan your walk to fit in with the boat’s timetable. I chose this walk after finding an old postcard of Lingholme dated 1905. It was here that Beatrix Potter spent her summer holiday between 1885 and 1907. This inspired her to write about the area and I often wonder if she sent this postcard to her friends in London.
Portinscale is a pretty village about one mile to the west of Keswick. Take the A66 in a westerly direction and look out for a sign including Portinscale. Go through the village and turn left to find parking close to the Derwentwater Hotel, which is the starting point.
Length: 6 miles
Map reference: OS Explorer OL4
Grid reference: 252 236
1 Follow the road into Portinscale and turn left at a T Junction and follows the large signs indicating Launches, Nichol End and Derwentwater Marina. Pass a tea shop and the Marina but don’t rush as there is so much to see and enjoy.
2 Continue along a pavement to reach another Marina at Nichol End. Turn left away from the road and before you reach a shop go to the right by the side of a wooden gate.
3 You now enter an attractive woodland in which there is plenty of bird life to enjoy.
4 Emerge from the woodland at the entrance to Lingholm which was so loved by Beatrix Potter. Follow the obvious public footpath to Catbells and continue through woodland to reach an attractive little wooden footbridge. The route then ascends into another area of attractive woodland.
5 Approach a minor junction and take the second turning on the left to reach Hawes End Centre and here prepare yourself for lovely views of Derwentwater. The road sweeps gently to the left passing the centre.
6 Continue onwards until you reach a couple of gates on the left. Turn left and descend towards the lake passing a sloping grass meadow. Here is one of my favourite views of Derwentwater, which can’t have changed much since Beatrix Potter was ‘nubbut a lass.’ 7 The track is obvious here - and is well marked along the whole route - after passing through the gates, reach a small but often busy jetty. Turn right into Brandlehow Woods where there is a sign celebrating the success of the National Trust. Beatrix Potter played an important part in setting up the Trust. Once more here is a chance to enjoy a long nature walk. This is a place to listen to Jays and Woodpeckers working their way through the trees and in the spring there are lots of flowers to be seen.
8 At Brandlehow there is another small jetty and on the opposite bank is an attractive boat house. Brandlehow House was once a base for the novelist Sir Hugh Walpole (1884-941) who wrote books such as the Herries Chronicles and Judith Parish (1931) with scenes based in this area. Continue through a gate and descend along a track to view Rupert’s Wood. I first visited this area as a seven year old and I was wrongly convinced that this was the home of my favourite bear. Pass Abbots Bay House and then another dwelling called the Warren. Turn left here and into yet more rich woodland.
9 Pass another inlet on the shore and called Myrtle Bay and pass through a gate into a wood which then leads into an open area with panoramic views over Derwentwater. In the spring this area is popular with botanists because of the variety of orchids which grow here.
10 Cross the little span over the river Derwent and which is know locally as the Chinese bridge.
11 Approach a stile to reach the B5289 road. Turn left to view the Lodore Falls on the right. Here is an hotel and one the most attractive waterfalls to be found anywhere in Cumbria. Follow a sign indicating Keswick launch.
12 Take the launch from this jetty and disembark at Nichol End. There are splendid views from this little ferry.
13 From Nichol End retrace your steps to reach the starting place .
NB: Restrictions on space mean that this article provides a general summary of the route. It is advisable for anyone who plans to follow the walk to take a copy of the relevant Ordnance Survey map .