Claife Heights Walking Trail
Craig Manor Lake District Walking Route: Craig Manor to Claife Heights
Trail description: Take the ferry to Claife Heights and explore more of our beautiful surroundings from across the water. The walk is mainly a flat woodland excursion, returning along the shore of Windermere, with stunning views out towards the village of Bowness-on-Windermere and the north of the lake.
Trail Notes: This walk escapes the hustle and bustle of the village to the tranquil woodlands of Claife Heights on Windermere’s western shore. All directions are clearly marked for a pleasant walk by the water.
Time: 2 hours+
Distance: 6.0 miles (9.66km)
1) Upon leaving Craig Manor turn right, heading in a southwest direction on Lake Road. Follow the road all the way to a slight left turn onto Crag Brow. After a short distance (approx. 2 minutes) turn left leading on to the A5074.
2) Pass through the village centre and after about 0.2 miles (approx. 5 minutes), where the road veers left, turn right onto Back Belsfield Road. Continue down the narrow winding road, keeping tight to the wall to your right. At the junction, turn left, walking along the road signed A592 and you’ll see a sign for Hawkshead Coniston via ferry. Follow this road keeping to the tarmac pavement which runs around the corner towards a right turn.
3) Here the path splits, turn right onto the B5285. After about 0.3 miles (approx. 6 minutes) the path is marked with a blue arrow towards the crossing. Follow this through the woodland until the path meets the lake side. To the left you will notice a wooden building with signs signalling that you are close to the crossing. Continue straight ahead to join queues waiting to board the ferry. In peak times queues are often longer, so if you would like to avoid a wait, we would advise that you set off early.
4) In less than 15 minutes you’ll reach the western shore and the peaceful woodland footpaths. Continue along the winding track leading from the ferry crossing towards the B5285 (approx. 2 minutes). Follow the narrow road to the right and continue northeast (ignoring any side paths) until the path crosses a gate leading to a much broader track. Go through the gate then continue left onto the main lakeside path – here you can take a closer look at the lake and the surrounding woodlands.
5) Take the path straight ahead, following the yellow arrows through the wooded gates into parklands. Ignore the sharp turns to the left, keeping parallel with the lake. As you wander up the gentle slope (581ft) you’ll finally reach your destination, where you’ll be rewarded with spectacular panoramic views of Windermere (see points of interest). From here, you can stay a while to enjoy the views and explore the area. Once you’re ready to return, simply retrace your steps back to Craig Manor.
6) Optional extra – If you have time to spare then a visit to Wray Castle would be the perfect way to wrap up your day. This mock gothic castle was built in the 1840s and is open to visitors from Easter to the end of October. It has toilet facilities and a café for that well-deserved pitstop. Turn left and follow the main track for a short distance. Look out for a gate on the right with a well-surfaced path that will take you beside the lake and up to the castle (approx. 10 minutes). When you’re ready to return, retrace your steps back to the main lakeshore path mentioned in point 4.
Points of Interest
The Crier of Claife
Watch out for the Crier of Claife on your travels. This particularly noisy ghost is rumoured to be the spirit of a monk whose mission was to rescue fallen women. However, he fell in love and was sadly rejected – it’s said that he lost his sanity and died. Eventually the Crier was exorcised.
Mitchell Wyke Ferry Bay
Ferry Bay is situated in an unrivalled position on the tranquil western shore of Lake Windermere, away from the busier tourist locations. As you walk down the winding path from the crossing, Ferry Bay is to your right. This is a lovely spot to catch a glimpse of the boats on the lake or to tuck into a mid-way picnic.