logo Walking Britain

Lake District Walk
Colwith Force and Skelwith Force from Elterwater

Nat Park - Lake District - Lake District Central Fells

County/Area - Cumbria

Author - Peter Smyly

Length - 4.8 miles / 7.8 km    Ascent - 650 feet / 197 metres

Time - 3 hours 0 minutes    Grade - easy/mod

Start - OS grid reference NY327047
Lat 54.433257 // Long -3.037461
Postcode LA22 9HU (approx. location only)
what3words start wreck.delay.social

Maps Ordnance Survey Logo Anquet Maps Logo

Ordnance Survey Explorer OL7Sheet Map1:25kBUY
Anquet OS Explorer OL7Digital Map1:25kBUY
Ordnance Survey Landranger 90Sheet Map1:50kBUY
Anquet OS Landranger 90Digital Map1:50kBUY

It is recommended you take a map. The preferred scale is 1:25k.

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Colwith Force and Skelwith Force from Elterwater Photo from the walk - Colwith Force and Skelwith Force from Elterwater Photo from the walk - Colwith Force and Skelwith Force from Elterwater Photo from the walk - Colwith Force and Skelwith Force from Elterwater Photo from the walk - Colwith Force and Skelwith Force from Elterwater Photo from the walk - Colwith Force and Skelwith Force from Elterwater
Click thumbnails for larger images.

This circular Lake District walk explores part of the Langdale and Elterwater area of Lakeland. While no tops are included, two waterfalls provide picturesque landmarks, Colwith Force and Skelwith Force. The latter is not clearly seen from the footpath on the west side of the River Brathay, but to see it properly requires only a minor detour on the other side of the river.

Starting outside the Britannia Inn at Elterwater village, cross the bridge over the river and follow the narrow tarmac road due south-west, then south, as it goes past the Youth Hostel on the right, though it was due for closure at the time of writing (August 2013). Pass the Eltermere Hotel on the left and leave the road to follow a bridleway uphill on the right, due south-west. As the track gradually turns left, a view opens out, also on the left, with a distant glimpse of Wansfell Pike.

The path passes another path coming in from woodland on the right as the landscape opens out to the left. Take a left turn along a signed public footpath to follow a route down to the farm at Wilson Place in half a mile with the whaleback shape of Wetherlam especially apparent ahead. On approaching Wilson Place, the knobbly outline of the lower height of Holme Fell forms the skyline, seen beyond the track to Stang End.

Just beyond Wilson Place, take care with any oncoming traffic as you follow the narrow tarmac road left for about fifty yards, then take the next public footpath to the right down a grassy field and across a narrow wooden footbridge over a stream, the outflow of Little Langdale Tarn, to continue up to Stang End. The track ahead to the right leads south to Hodge Close but continue left along the narrow lane to the next farm at High Park where the route leads downhill to the left to reach woodland and Colwith Force is just a few minutes walk away. A narrow path skirts round to the left to reveal a series of mini cascades in addition to the principal fall of water seen from the main path.

The path continues through woodland up a series of steep steps before descending to a road. Turn right here and then take the next public footpath on the left, the Cumbria Way, which you follow past Park Farm and Park House. Follow it all the way back to Elterwater village, passing Skelwith Force on the right before a footbridge. The view across the lake of Elterwater towards the Langdale Pikes, just before Rob Rash Woods, is quite possibly the best shoreline view of the lake which otherwise tends to remain elusively hidden.

Other walks nearby

Walk 1141 An Elterwater circular - easy/mod - 4.0 miles/6.5 km

Walk 2715 Skelwith Bridge & Loughrigg from Elterwater - easy/mod - 5.5 miles/8.9 km

Walk 1684 Lingmoor Fell & Langdale from Elterwater - easy/mod - 7.0 miles/11.4 km

Walk 1823 Fairfield Horseshoe & Loughrigg from High Close - mod/hard - 14.0 miles/22.8 km

Walk 1134 Wetherlam and The Carrs from Little Langdale - mod/hard - 10.8 miles/17.5 km

Walk 2270 Tilberthwaite and Holme Fell from Little Langdale - easy/mod - 5.5 miles/8.9 km

Walk 3697 Loughrigg Fell from Skelwith Bridge - easy/mod - 4.5 miles/7.3 km

Walk 1154 Between Grasmere and Langdale - moderate - 9.5 miles/15.4 km

Walk 1472 Alcock Tarn, Rydal Water & Grasmere from Grasmere - easy/mod - 7.0 miles/11.4 km

Walk 1565 Rydal Water & Grasmere from Grasmere village - easy/mod - 6.0 miles/9.8 km

Recommended Books & eBooks

Walking in Cumbria's Eden Valley

Walking in Cumbria's Eden ValleyGuidebook to 30 graded walks in Cumbria's Eden Valley. The routes, which range from 3 to 15 miles and are best from bases such as Kirkby Stephen and Appleby, explore the region's diverse landscapes and offer dramatic views, either of the Pennines, Lake District or the Scottish hills. Linear routes link with the Settle-Carlisle railway.
More information

The Cumbria Way

The Cumbria WayA guidebook to the 73 mile Cumbria Way, an easy long-distance walk though the heart of the Lake District National Park, from Ulverston in the south to Carlisle in the north, with good transport links to either end. The route is largely low-level but this guide offers alternative mountain days to climb some of the famous fells en route.
More information

Map and Compass

Map and CompassAn instructive guidebook explaining map and compass techniques, to help readers enhance their outdoor experiences. Whether you are experienced in map-reading, or have never used a compass before, this guidebook will sharpen your skills and have you exploring new areas in no time. There are also tips for GPS and digital mapping technologies.
More information

Social Media

Follow Walking Britain for the latest news.

Facebook Twitter

Mountain Weather

Stay safe on the mountains with detailed weather forecasts - for iOS devices or for Android devices.

Digital Mapping Guide

Digital Mapping Guide - a simple guide of how to start using digital mapping. Includes advice and useful links.