Watendlath from Surprise View

Ashness Bridge, Borrowdale, Lake District
Submitted: 8Aug10

Date Updated: 

Recommended Map:  Explorer OL4


Difficulty Rating: 

20% Complete (warning)

An easy family outing, fairly level

Danger Rating: 

20% Complete (warning)

See below

Time to complete: Allow 2 hours

Distance: About 5.5 km (or 3.5 miles)

Car Parking/Walk Start: 

Car parking areas at Surprise View.


Overview of Walk:

Derwentwater from Surprise View, Borrowdale, Lake DistrictNestled high up (263m) in between Thirlmere and Derwentwater is the remote hamlet of Watendlath.  This walk is an easy family walk which is fairly level for a walk in the Lake District.

DANGER NOTE: Although there is a long section of road walking, vehicles travel slowly, so there should be no problems.  The greatest danger is at Surprise View, which is a cliff edge (children in your group should be warned).

Bridge of Watendlath Beck, Borrowdale, CumbriaWatendlath Tarn, Borrowdale, Cumbria


There’s a cafe at Watendlath (the mid way point of the walk).

Wheelchair and Push Chair Suitability: 

Point A to B provided you can overcome the two cattle grids.

Public Transport: 

None to Surprise View.  Buses and ferry to B5289 but its a much longer walk from there.


Watendlath from Surprise View Walk Description:

A funny walk, as it starts and ends where the views are the best: Surprise View.  You therefore get to enjoy those marvellous views over Derwentwater twice!  You also cross over the most photographed bridge in Lakeland, Ashness Bridge, en route to Surprise View.  Have your camera at the ready.

From the car park at Surprise View, follow the quiet road in a southerly direction on towards the hamlet of Watendlath.

At Watendlath go over the stone footbridge, which is actually a traditional packhorse bridge, and return on the footpath with Watendlath Beck on your right.

You eventually arrive at a stone wall with woods beyond: take a right and go over the footbridge, crossing Watendlath Beck.  Then take your first left going up through the woods, rejoining the minor road and back to the car parking area at Surprise View.

Map of Watendlath from Surprise View

Points of interest: Watendlath and its tarn were given to the National Trust by Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Louise, in memory of her brother, King Edward VII.  Watendlath Tarn is a popular place for anglers; it is stocked with brown and rainbow trout.

If you’re lucky enough you might spot the kind old man who fishes Watendlath Tarn and gave us a super trout to enjoy for our supper.

Reecastle Crag, Near Watendlath, Borrowdale, Lake DistrictLooking North from Watendlath


User Review
3.19 (43 votes)

0 = worst; 1 = disappointing; 2 = average; 3 = a really good walk; 4 = I recommend this walk; 5 = one of the best walks I’ve done

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Signs used in the maps

Whilst we try our very best to ensure the accuracy of this information, we accept no liability for anyone getting lost or injured.  You should always consult your ordnance survey map for exact details and wear appropriate clothing for the weather conditions.