Your holiday includes seven nights of accommodation at Hassness Country House. Debbie and Laurie take a well earned rest on Tuesday, therefore no evening meal is included on this day. Packed lunches are also provided on five days.
There will be a selection of National Trust maps and guide books at Hassness Country House for you to borrow should you wish, otherwise feel free to bring your own maps for your own explorations in the Lake District.
If you wish to explore the local area on foot, below is a selection of walking trails commonly experienced on our Hassness Country House holidays. This will give you an indication of the nature of the walking terrain and inspiration for some self-guided explorations you may wish to do.
Examples of Grade 4 Walks:
Buttermere and Rannerdale Knotts - the well trodden track round Buttermere is a superb introduction to the delights of the valley. It's likely that the local Herdwick sheep will be dotting the hillside and red squirrels can often be seen in the woods. Many bird species can be seen and heard in the area. Behind you, the imposing ridge of Fleetwith Pike separates the deep gash of Honister Pass from the meandering river and tumbling waterfalls in Warnscale Bottom. Ahead of you the looming mass of Grasmoor is a backdrop to the green ridge leading down from Whiteless Pike to Buttermere Village below. You cross the bridge over Combe Beck and enter the quieter Burtness Wood, finally reaching Buttermere Village, perhaos for a refreshment stop or an ice cream. You can look into the church to see the Wainwright Memorial, in a window framing a view of Haystacks in the distance. Then the path winds towards Crummock Water where you turn up a steep stone staircase to the viewpoint of Rannerdale Knotts (355m). Turning south east we traverse the ridge to the head of Rannerdale before descending back to Buttermere Village and the short shore-side walk back to Hassness Country House. Total distance covered: 8.1 miles (390m ascent).
Haystacks from Honister - this walk takes you to the top of Haystacks, favourite fell of Alfred Wainwright, and the resting place for his ashes. Starting from Honister Pass you ascend the track of an old mining tramway to the Drumhouse, then follow the quaintly named Moses Trod, here part of the Coast to Coast long distance footpath, onto the side of Brandreth and Grey Knotts. You'll see Haystacks over to your right, and hopefully enjoy views over Buttermere and Crummock Water to the Solway Coast and beyond to Scotland. Turning down below Great Round How you pass the sheltered Blackbeck Tarn, and then Innominate Tarn where Wainsright's ashes are scattered. The summit of Haystacks (597m) soon follows where you can admire the views below. Retracing your steps past the tarns we cross Warnscale Beck and come to Dubs Hut, recently renovated with financial assistance from The Ramble Worldwide Outdoor Trust. You then follow the Miners Road back down to Honister. Total distance covered: 6.2 miles (525m ascent).
Crummock Water and Loweswater Village - no trip to the valley would be complete without a circuit of Crummock Water, taking in the site of the fabled Battle of Rannerdale, and a visit to the little village of Loweswater. Start in Buttermere Village and make your way to the shores of Crummock Water and Hause Point. Descending to the road you enter lower Rannerdale, where bluebells grow in profusion in May. At all times of the year the hills are a patchwork of greens and browns with the grey of the rock and boulders and the white tumbling water of the Rannerdale Beck. Crossing the footbridge you make your way back to Crummock Water where the path follows the shore through woodland and pastures to the end of the lake. Crossing the river you follow footpaths up to Loweswater Village and the famous Kirkstile Inn. You may wish to take lunch here. Head back southwards along the western shore of Crummock Water. When you come to footbridges over Scale Beck, which flows down from Scale Force waterfall, the highest in the Lake District, it may be possible to walk up to inspect the Falls. The improving track then takes you to Scale Bridge and a lane leading back to Buttermere VIllage. Total distance covered: 9.5 miles (245m ascent).
Borrowdale - the Borrowdale Valley is one of the most beautiful in the Lake District. This walk takes in many of the best views and points of interest. The start is at Seatoller and ascend gently into the ancient oaks in Johnny Wood before dropping down to cross the River Derwent. You then follow footpaths through the fields over ice age moraines to Rosthwaite, where we will have time to walk round the village. We cross New Bridge and follow the Cumbria Way downstream stopping to explore the cave of the eccentric Millican Dalton under the shadow of Castle Crag. Continuing north you loop round to Swanesty How before approaching the village of Grange from the north. You then follow the Allerdale Ramble footpath up past Castle Crag, tackling the winding footpath to the top, before your route contours round above the tree line affording open views of the Upper Borrowdale Fells and then drops us back down to your starting place in Seatoller. Total distance covered: 8.4 miles (420m ascent).
Examples of Grade 7 Walks:
- The High Stile Ridge - the classic ridge walk on the south west side of Buttermere. You walk along the shores of Buttermere then ascend through oak woodland and open hill to a resting place by Bleaberry Tarn. Continuing on the good path to The Saddle you then pick our way up the track, over the stones which give Red Pike (755m) its name, to the summit. Your reward is hopefully open views stretching from the Isle of Man to the Southern Uplands of Scotland, and of course the other peaks of the Lake District. The onward course takes up striding along the airy but never exposed ridge to High Stile (807m) and High Crag (744m) with unexpected views down into the combs which bite into the north eastern side of the ridge and over Buttermere to the oasis of Hassness Country House far below. You then descend on an ever improving path over Seat (562m) to Scarth Gap where you turn for the steady descent down to the lakeside and Hassness Country House. Total distance covered: 8.8 miles (920m ascent).
- The Robinson Ridge - the other Buttermere classic - the high level ridge on the north east side of the lake. The start is at Honister Pass beside the mine workings and take a straight route up the fence line to the north. The path takes you past more old workings as the views towards Great Gable and Helvellyn open up. When you arrive at Dale Head (753m) panoramic views down the Newlands Valley and towards Skiddaw are revealed. Turn west and stroll along the wide ridge to further viewpoints at Hindscarth (727m) and Robinson (737m). The descent down over Buttermere Moss can be wet, however rounding High Snockrigg you'll find the going firmer and the sight of Buttermere Village below which promises refreshments before the pleasant lakeside walk back to Hassness Country House. Total distance covered: 7.7 miles (745m ascent).
- Haystacks to Grey Knotts or Fleetwith Pike - Haystacks, or "The High Stacks" was Alfred Wainwright's favourite hill - he described it as "a shaggy terrier in the company of foxhounds". Start the ascent by following Buttermere to Gatesgarth Farm and taking the Public Bridleway up to Scarth Gap. Some short sections of easy scrambling follow giving added entertainment to the twisting path up to the rocky summit of Haytstacks (597m). You then traverse south east past Innominate Tarn and the idyllic Blackbeck Tarn before turning south east to follow the path up a fence line to the open viewpoint of Brandreth (715m). After walking north east along the wide ridge to the lumpy summit of Grey Knotts (697m) you can drop down to inspect or take shelter in Dubs Hut. Finally, you may descend the old miners' track, or the path on the other side of the Beck, into Warnscale Bottom and on to Gatesgarth, or climb up to Fleetwith Pike (648m) and descend its north ridge, spurred on by the thought of drinks and cake at Hassness Country House. Total distance covered: 9.8 miles (855m ascent, 1000m including Fleethwith Pike).
- Dale Head to Cat Bells - this walk starts at Honister Pass and follows a path on the fence line north towards Dale Head (753m). If the summit is cloud-covered and the views north can't be savoured, you contour round its eastern flank to a sheltered break stop by the peaceful Dale Head Tarn where the well constructed path from the top re-joins our route. A short ascent brings you to High Spy (655m) and a stroll down the wide airy ridge to Maiden Moor (576m) with ever-changing views down into the patchwork fields and woods in Borrowdale and to Derwentwater and Skiddaw beyond. At Hause Gate you have the option of making the short extra ascent to the iconic viewpoint of Cat Bells (451m) to share vistas over Derwentwater and its numerous islands with walkers up from the the landing stages and car parks at Hawse End below. Descending east to Manesty, the tearoom and other facilities at Grange beckon. All that remains is a scenic return to Honister up sections of the Cumbria Way and Allerdale Ramble footpaths, unless the bus proves too tempting. Total distance covered: 11 miles (850m ascent) or 12.3 miles (1020m ascent) including Dale Head.
If you choose to explore the area on your own and not walk, or you prefer a holiday without walking, the Buttermere area has so much to offer, as well as enjoying the peace and tranquillity and feeling the need to really get away from it all. Buttermere Village (Buttermere - Visit Cumbria) is a short drive or approx. 30 minute walk from the door at Hassness Country House. There are two pubs, a coffee shop and an ice cream shop to visit. Up from the village is the Church of St James, an historical chapel dating back to the 16th century. A stone plaque in memory of the late Alfred Wainwright can be found beneath the window that looks out onto Haystacks, where his ashes are scattered at Innominate Tarn.
While there aren’t many attractions in Buttermere as such, there’s plenty of things to do for adventure seekers and outdoor lovers. Besides the Buttermere lake walk there’s a whole host of fells to tackle, including Haystacks, Fleetwith Pike Rannerdale Knotts, Grasmoor, High Stile, Robinson, Red Pike, and High Crag (some are mentioned above).
The lake itself offers a 7km, low level walk which is great for families with younger children. There’s plenty to see along the way, from the wonderful wildlife that graces the area to cascading waterfalls that tumble down from the fells. You can’t miss Sour Milk Gill, the Buttermere waterfall that runs down Bleaberry Tarn. Alternatively, combine Crummock Water with the Buttermere walk to witness the spectacular Scale Force. You can start either walk from the village or at the opposite end of the lake at Gatesgarth Farm.
Whilst motor boats are not allowed on the lake, you may wish to try some wild swimming? With its sheltered stony beaches and stunning backdrop, there are few places as perfect for enjoying a picnic or a spot of wild swimming. It gets deep in places, so it’s advised that only strong swimmers or adults swim here. Alternatively, head up from Warnscale Bottom to the series of waterfalls and enjoy the views from the Buttermere infinity pool.
Honister Slate Mines (Homepage | Honister ) is easily reachable from Hassness Country House. Honister Slate Mine is the only remaining working slate mine in the country. As well as enjoying a tour of the mines, you can take part in both indoor and outdoor adventure activities such as cliff camping, the Via Ferrata Xtreme, canyoning and the infinity bridge. These are definitely not for the faint-hearted or anyone who’s afraid of heights. If you have a vehicle with you, the drive will take approx. 10 - 15 minutes or there is a service bus available in the summer months. There is something for everyone and the location itself really is picturesque.