4 of 5 (12 votes)

The full-on Kentmere Horseshoe

A strenuous walk (mountain (above 600m)) in national park Lake District starting and finishing in Cumbria, England, about 28.20km (17.52 mi) long with an estimated walking time of about 11:00h (1 overnight stay). It is unsuitable for families with children, prams & pushchairs, wheelchairs.
Elevation Profile
Ascent 986m (3234ft)
Descent 966m (3169ft)
Max. Elevation 770m (2526ft)
Altitude Gain & Loss 1952m (6403ft)
Windermere, Cumbria, England
Distance 28.20km
Duration ~11:00h
Car Free Walks TeamCreated by Timwoods on 25 Jul 2011
How do you turn an overcrowded logjam of a walk into one of fun and solitude? Simple ... leave after everyone else. The Kentmere Horseshoe is a well-worn classic and, to be honest, starting to show wear and tear with heavily managed paths and streams of visitors. But there's a reason they come here; it's one of the best high-level walks in the region. Enjoy it to yourself by extending the route - start at Staveley, which has a train station, rather than Kentmere where you can only drive. This means you will arrive after the crowds have left the main circuit. Camp up high on the ridge and you can then enjoy the early morning sun on the ridge to yourself before the hordes descend. It's a trick that works across the Lakes ...

Walk Functions


Nearby Walks

Applethwaite Common and Sleddale Forest

★★★★★ ★★★★★
A moderate, linear walk (low hills and fells (below 600m)) starting in Cumbria, England, about 17.40km (10.81 mi) long, duration: ~6:45h.

Troutbeck valley - the first car-free walk!

★★★★★ ★★★★★
A moderate, linear walk (mountain (above 600m)) starting in Cumbria, England, about 18.90km (11.74 mi) long, duration: ~7:30h.

3 Day Leisurely Jaunt around the Lakes

★★★★★ ★★★★★
A leisurely, walk (low hills and fells (below 600m)) starting in Cumbria, England, about 8.00km (4.97 mi) long, duration: ~3:30h.

Walk Map

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OS Grid SD468979
Start at Staveley, between Kendal and Windermere. Worth heading for Wilf's cafe for a pre-walk fuel-up. www.wilfs-cafe.co.uk
OS Grid SD472992
Take the road north out of Staveley towards Scroggs Farm. Before you reach it, take the footpath heading off to the right (going uphill).
About 1.36 km (~0.85 miles) from
OS Grid SD477996
This is a short cut to a second road. Keep going north towards Brunt Knott Farm.
About 0.66 km (~0.41 miles) from
OS Grid NY484005
You are then on the open ground around Brunt Knott. It's boggy!
About 1.16 km (~0.72 miles) from
OS Grid NY482021
Follow the high ground across the land marked 'Sleddale Forest'. A stone wall gives you something to follow.
About 1.54 km (~0.96 miles) from
OS Grid NY478034
This is one of the great hidden corners of the Lakes. It's a really peaceful little spot, tucked away where few go.
About 1.38 km (~0.86 miles) from
OS Grid NY476049
You soon hit the bridleway down to Kentmere. Cross it and head up on to the horseshoe.
About 1.55 km (~0.96 miles) from
OS Grid NY472066
This is well-trodden ground compared to the land around Brunt Knott and Skeggles Water. The Kentmere Horseshoe is one of those 'traffic jam' routes at weekends, but by extending the walk in, you should arrive after the crowds have left for the day.
About 1.77 km (~1.1 miles) from
OS Grid NY465077
The first big hill of the day.
About 1.25 km (~0.78 miles) from
OS Grid NY459092
Onwards, onwards to Harter Fell.
About 1.64 km (~1.02 miles) from
OS Grid NY450095
On a good night, this is the perfect place for a wild camp. We had a great time. If it's not so pleasant, drop down to Small Water for a bit more shelter.
About 0.89 km (~0.55 miles) from
OS Grid NY442102
By camping up high, you will start day two before the marching ants have made it up.
About 1.06 km (~0.66 miles) from
OS Grid NY434097
The steepest section of the day - worth taking the lower path that cuts out the summit, for the views down to the reservoir.
About 0.99 km (~0.62 miles) from
OS Grid NY435084
Continue along the ridge to Froswick.
About 1.33 km (~0.83 miles) from
OS Grid NY436076
Over Ill Bell and on to Yoke. You might start meeting some of the day trippers by now...
About 0.78 km (~0.48 miles) from
OS Grid NY436058
Drop down the southern shoulder of Yoke, where the ground begins to flatten out once more.
About 1.77 km (~1.1 miles) from
OS Grid NY434044
Join the Garburn Pass, a bridleway that will lead you back home.
About 1.49 km (~0.93 miles) from
OS Grid NY421031
The path skirts around the edge of Applethwaite Common, overlooking the Troutbeck Valley.
About 1.82 km (~1.13 miles) from
OS Grid NY423005
Little bit of jiggling at the end. Join the road near High Borrans and head west for a short hop.
About 2.57 km (~1.6 miles) from
OS Grid NY420001
Take the path over to Near Orrest...
About 0.54 km (~0.34 miles) from
OS Grid SD416999
...then cross the road and join the path towards Orrest Head.
About 0.44 km (~0.27 miles) from
OS Grid SD414993
Final viewpoint of the day and it's a cracker - over Windermere, with the fells behind. It was this view that inspired Wainwright to come and explore the Lakes, and you can see why.
About 0.64 km (~0.4 miles) from
OS Grid SD412987
Finish up in Windermere. The path finishes directly opposite the train and bus station, making it easy to head onwards into the Lakes or back out home.
About 0.65 km (~0.4 miles) from

3 comments... join the discussion!

13 May 2017
Drinking Water

I've just completed a version of the Kentmere Horseshoe and found that the streams were a bit sparse due to the recent dry weather. If you keep your eyes open, not much of a problem. I always carry one of these to filter (last thing you want is to be glugging from the stream observing a sheep relieving itself upstream): http://www.backpackinglight.co.uk/hydration/PA101.html

14 Aug 2013
Drinking Water

There are usually lots of springs on the sides of mountains, but after dry spells these can be hard to find. You should also boil or purify anything you drink: www.thebmc.co.uk/liquid-life On the flip side, few places in the Lakes are far from a village or farm and most people will fill your bottle if you ask nicely.

12 Aug 2013
Drinking Water

Any advice on how to obtain drinking water in the Lake District national park?

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