Walk facts

  • Distance: 7, 5 or 3 miles (with optional add-ons)
  • Difficulty: Includes an unavoidable scrambly section at Yew Crag, known as the ‘Bad Step’. Not a challenging walk in terms of length
  • Start & finish: Finishes at The Royal at Dockray, from either Memorial Seat or from Aira Force
  • Route: West side of Ullswater. Main route is Glenridding > Glencoyne > Aira Force (with add-ons to Yew Crag, Gowbarrow Fell & Dockray)
  • OS maps required: Explorer Series 1:25,000 sheets OL5.

In your route pack

Written description of the route, including grid references, stages, distances for each stage, landmarks, optional deviations, interesting background facts
Photos of landmarks along the way to help guide you
At-a-glance linear route maps for various stages, to use in conjunction with your OS maps

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About the Somnambulist

Wordsworth's Point on the Somnambulist Walk-300x200List, ye who pass by Lyulph’s Tower
At eve; how softly then
Doth Aira-force, that torrent hoarse,
Speak from the woody glen!

So begins William Wordsworth’s poem The Somnambulist, one of several works that were inspired by this beautiful part of Ullswater.

Wandering along the neglected old Victorian walkways that wind up through Yew Crag towards Memorial Seat on Gowbarrow Fell, I, too, felt inspired. The result is this themed Lake District walking route, which meanders along the west side of Ullswater. It complements and can extend the famous walk along the east side from Howtown to Patterdale.

There’s a main walking route and a few optional add-ons, but all walk routes take in Wordsworth Point, the inspiration for the poem ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’ (the one about the daffodils!). The walk then passes Lyulph’s Tower, which was the original entrance to the Pleasure Park of Aira Force.

It continues on to the old Victorian walkways of Yew Crag where aged yew trees adorn every level and the old staircase is still clearly visible winding its way up through the crag. It always makes me feel like I’m in an Indiana Jones movie! Its broken staircase will reward you with ever-changing views through the yew trees and giant oaks.

Important note: The main section of the walk through Yew Crag follows an unused public right of way that has suffered through lack of use and repair and you’ll need to use your hands to scramble across. Known as ‘The Bad Step’, it requires care and is recommended for scramblers only!

Jon Ginesi


This walk visits Wordsworth Point, the inspiration for one of his most famous poems. Flip this box to find out which one.

Lonely as a cloud

Wordsworth wrote his famous poem I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud after coming across a patch of daffodils at this point, while on a walk with his sister Dorothy.