Walking Trails in the Lake District

You can choose gentle rambles near the most popular towns and villages or challenging hikes and climbs up some of England's most impressive peaks. Information boards at parking lots throughout the region point out the possibilities.

British mountaineering began in the Lake District, with its notable hikes: the famous Old Man of Coniston, the Langdale Pikes, Scafell Pike (England's highest peak), Skiddaw, and Helvellyn are all popular, though these require experience, energy, and proper hiking boots and clothing. The Cumbria Way (70 miles) crosses the Lake District, starting at the market town of Ulverston and finishing at Carlisle. The Coast-to-Coast Walk (190 miles) runs from St. Bees on the Irish Sea through the Lake District and across the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors; it ends at Robin Hood's Bay at the edge of the North Sea in Yorkshire. Guidebooks to these and other Lakeland walks are available in local bookstores—check out Alfred Wainwright's classic guides.

For short walks, consult the tourist information centers: those at Ambleside, Cockermouth, Grasmere, Kendal, and Keswick provide maps and advice. The other main sources of information are the Lake District National Park information centers. Cumbria Tourism's website, www.golakes.co.uk, is helpful for planning. Several climbing organizations offer guided hikes as well as technical rock climbing.

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