Holme Wood is a classically English mixed woodland of oak, chestnut, ash, sycamore, alder and lime, providing the dappled sunlight that bluebells seek in spring, and the perfect habitat for red squirrels.
This route saves the best until last, so park on the roadside layby near Loweswater Hall – although alternative parking is available at Maggie’s Bridge.
Take the minor road along the north-eastern shore of Loweswater (there are several opportunities to step off the tarmac onto paths that cling to the lakeside, but they always return to the road). Gaze across Lakeland’s shallowest lake to Holme Wood on the opposite bank. Loweswater is unique, because it’s the only lake that drains into the national park; all the others drain away from the centre.
The view from Darling Fell down to Loweswater and Holem Wood ©Getty
The lake is only a mile long, so it’s not long before you leave its shore behind you as the road climbs, passing Thrushbank and High Thrushbank.
Look out for the fantastic views of Holme Wood opposite, stretching up the side of 519m (1702ft) fell Carling Knott.
Take the next single-track lane on the right, which drops gently and bears round to the right to reach Maggie’s Bridge car park. Use Maggie’s Bridge to cross over Dub Beck and follow a wide track through the fields to reach Watergate Farm. Turn right and then pass through a gate to make your way into Holme Wood.
Holme Wood Bothy
Holme Wood Bothy ©Peter Bond Geograph
The best viewpoint is from the small bay by the stone bothy (available for hire from the National Trust). It used to be a fish hatchery, but now offers basic accommodation, and a wonderful opportunity to hear owls at night in this far-from-still environment.
Continue along the track, crossing over Holme Beck, (take the path on the left to visit Holme Force waterfall, which is more impressive after heavy rain), eventually reaching a gate at the edge of the wood.
To Hudson Place
Pass through the gate and follow the stone track to a gate at Hudson Place. Go through the farm, and head back towards the road.
Where the track turns sharp left, take the fork on the right, through a gate, and cross fields with great views along the length of the lake. Cross over a stream, then bear right, through a hedge into adjacent field, and follow the path to road, turning right to return to the parking area.
Click here to head over to the OS Maps website for an interactive version of this route.
Main image ©Getty