Buttermere Lake Walk & 'The Tree', Lake District walks & best views


A leisurely walk around Buttermere, one of the Lake District's finest places, with great views of Fleetwith Pike & Haystacks


Buttermere, Fleetwith Pike, Tree, lake, Photo, Haystacks, Lake District walks, Alfred Wainwright, Best View
My best view of the day, and it's a classic Lake District view, looking over Buttermere towards Fleetwith Pike (near the tree) and Haystacks (Alfred Wainwrights favourite Lake District mountain) to the right of Fleetwith Pike. 



Buttermere - my favourite of all the lakes (or mere's :-)

I've visited Buttermere a number of times, and on a crisp, clear sunny morning when the lake is mirror like - the place is absolutely magical - there are few places better in the world for me when it's like this - and you are likely to have it all to yourself if you are up with the birds like I was on this occasion.

Early morning reflections on Buttermere - bliss!

Buttermere is one of my favourite Lake District lakes and a walk around it is one of the best short leisurely walks you can do in the lakes in my opinion. What I love about Buttermere is that because of it's location it's not as busy as some of the larger lakes and there aren't many buildings around the lake - so it is quite unspoilt. Whilst the walk itself is quite flat - it offers lot's of stunning views, and there is lots of intrigue around the route as you can see in the below photos.


Distance: 4.5 miles
Time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Easy (no climbs - ideal for children)



Map, Route, Buttermere, Fleetwith Pike, Tree, lake, Photo, Haystacks, Lake District walks, Alfred Wainwright, Best View
This map shows the 4.5 mile route around Buttermere lake. I always choose to start from Buttermere village, where there is paid parking (a bit steep at £6), toilets, a cafe and a pub, and then go anti-clockwise. There is also parking at Gatesgarth Farm (which is £4 - but likely to be busier as most walkers who climb Haystacks park here).


Buttermere - photos of this beautiful walk


At the start of this walk the bridge takes you over Buttermere dubs.

There are some nice waterfalls here. This walk takes the path to Buttermere lake - but there is a path that takes a steep walk to Bleaberry Tarn and another that goes in the opposite direction to Crummock Water. All great walks in themselves that I recommend you try out another time if you get chance. 

Buttermere, Fleetwith Pike, Tree, lake, Photo, Haystacks, Lake District walks, Alfred Wainwright, Best View
A glimpse of Fleetwith Pike in the distance before we enter Burtness Wood.

The first part of the walk is through Burtness Wood, as you will see the walk around Buttermere is quite varied, and this forest section is a nice start.

We did wonder what this pile of sticks was about at first - but it seems there are lots of activities around Buttermere encouraging kids to get creative and explore their surroundings.

Buttermere, Fleetwith Pike, Tree, lake, Photo, Haystacks, Lake District walks, Alfred Wainwright, Best View

There are lots of activities like this around the lake and I thought it was a great idea for kids to help them enjoy a walk around Buttermere. There were lots of random bits of wild art in this little area.

Comb Beck waterfalls - and a seat perfectly placed for a rest

A seat with my name on it :-)

Looking up Comb Beck waterfalls

Buttermere, Fleetwith Pike, Tree, lake, Photo, Haystacks, Lake District walks, Alfred Wainwright, Best View
After leaving Burtness Wood the views really open out towards Fleetwith Pike & Haystacks

We leave the shore of the Lake for a little bit on this section and cross Peggys Bridge and head to Gatesgarth Farm.

Looking towards Fleetwith Pike on the left and Haystacks to the right.

This is the only section of the walk where we are not tracking the lakes edge

Gatesgarth Farm

For a 100m or so the path follows the road quite closely

On this side of Buttermere lake the path is quite different again and a bit more rocky, but still easy

This grassy patch is a perfect place to stop, sit down and take a rest and have some food

Buttermere, Fleetwith Pike, Tree, lake, Photo, Haystacks, Lake District walks, Alfred Wainwright, Best View
Stunning views towards Fleetwith Pike & Haystacks again

The path is a bit different again

Approaching the tunnel carved into the rock at Dalegarth

Bit dark in here but theres light at the end of the tunnel! This photo actually makes the tunnel look darker than it is - you can walk through it without the need of a torch.

Buttermere, Fleetwith Pike, Tree, lake, Photo, Haystacks, Lake District walks, Alfred Wainwright, Best View
The only boat we see on Buttermere

As the walk nears the end - we are approaching the popular tree that many photographers come to photograph in front of Buttermere Lake and there are intact 2 photographers setting up their tripods when we arrive.

Buttermere, Fleetwith Pike, Tree, lake, Photo, Haystacks, Lake District walks, Alfred Wainwright
Whilst it's a popular spot with photographers - I do love this view with the tree in the foreground, and I take my best photo of this walk - looking over Buttermere lake towards Fleetwith Pike (near the tree) and Haystacks (Alfred Wainwrights favourite Lake District mountain) to the right of Fleetwith Pike. This spot is a very popular place for photographers and you will see lot's of this composition around the internet - I guess it's the tree that helps with the foreground composition. Due to the ever changing weather/seasons - nearly every shot you see from this place will be different though. After this spot it's back to the car park, where you have the chance of getting a drink or some food at the cafe or pub!

Blog Post by Stuart Hodgson, 'The Hiking Photographer'


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