Rosthwaite to Scale Close Coppice

Heading up the fell

Heading up the fell

This route is not suitable for pushchairs, but at just over two miles for the total round trip, it’s a great choice for younger children who are confident walkers. Along the way, you will pass Johnny Wood, where there are numerous tree climbing opportunities, before reaching Scale Close Coppice.

This quiet indentation into the hill side features a waterfall and a gentle stream where children can dip their toes before returning back to the village of Rosthwaite. The route also passes the Borrowdale Youth Hostel where hot drinks and snacks are available for those passing through.

Quick Facts

Distance: 2 miles round trip

Time: 1-2 hours with young children

Terrain: Woodland & moorland paths; Gentle ascent

Suitable For: Younger children who are confident walkers; Babies and Toddlers in Carriers

Parking: National Trust car park at Rosthwaite

Facilities: Tea room and toilets at Rosthwaite; Café and toilets at Borrowdale Youth Hostel

The Start of the Walk – Rosthwaite

The Car Park at Rosthwaite

The Car Park at Rosthwaite

The walk begins at the National Trust car park at Rosthwaite. The grid reference is NY257148. To get there, take the B5289 from Keswick. When you arrive at Rosthwaite, turn right, following the sign for the car park. The car park is on the right-hand side, in front of the Borrowdale Institute building and is clearly marked. National Trust members can park here for free using a valid membership card, otherwise you will need to pay with either cash or a card.

To start the walk, turn right out of the car park, and follow the road past the Borrowdale Institute building on the right. You will come to a white stone house where the road veers round to the left. Almost opposite the white house, you will find the Flock-In tearoom housed in a converted farm building. Follow the road round to the left and continue along it, passing a number of cottages and farm buildings until you see a small turning on the right, next to a house named Stonecroft. Turn onto this track, which will take you to the back of the houses and you will see a sign marking a public footpath on the left for “Peat Howe” that will take you through a gate and into a field.

Crossing the Fields

Looking Towards Rosthwaite Fell & Glaramara From Rosthwaite

Looking Towards Rosthwaite Fell & Glaramara From Rosthwaite

The path takes you through a field along the back of the houses. Please note that livestock may be in these fields and dogs should be leashed throughout this section of the walk. You will arrive at another gate, and this will take you into a second field. Here the path veers to the right, through a gap in the wall into a third field. The path now follows the wall down towards some houses. When you reach the houses, take the gate out of the field and you will be on a small road. Turn right past the houses and this will take you over a stone bridge.

The Borrowdale Youth Hostel

The Entrance to Borrowdale YHA & the Path to Johnny Wood

The Entrance to Borrowdale YHA & the Path to Johnny Wood

Once over the bridge, turn right, and you will find yourself on the track that leads up to the Borrowdale Youth Hostel. There is a café bar here where you can purchase items such as breakfast baps to eat in the grounds or takeaway. If you are not going to the YHA for refreshments, do not walk up to the building.

Instead, at the entrance to the grounds, turn right in front of the sign (pictured), and follow the wall on the right down to the opposite end of grounds. Turn right at the end of the wall and there will be a gate directly ahead of you to go through, bringing you onto a woodland track.

Johnny Wood

The Path Alongside Johnny Wood

The Path Alongside Johnny Wood

The woodland path initially follows a stream before it begins to ascend slightly and you will now find yourself walking alongside Johnny Wood. This is an ancient oak woodland that is rich with moss and flora. It’s also one of the best places in Borrowdale to spot red squirrels. The path takes you through a narrow stretch of land on the boundary of the wood, with a wall either side.

You will go through a gate and shortly after this gate, look out for a smaller gate on the left hand side. You do not need to go through this gate for this particularl walk, but if you want to explore the woodland further then you can do so by going through this gate and following the path for a short distance. For this walk, carry on along the main path, and you will reach another gate towards the end of the woodland.

Heading Up the Fell Side

The Path Leading Up The Fell Side

The Path Leading up the Fell Side

After you have gone through this gate the path continues across an enclosure and the view on your right opens up to enable you to see across the Borrowdale valley towards the fells that surround Watendlath. Continue along this short section until you reach another gate and this will now take you onto the open fell. Follow the path as it gently ascends the fell, passing a ruined sheep pen on your right. Look out for the National Trust sign on your right marking the entrance to Scale Close Coppice.

Scale Close Coppice

Looking Down at Scale Close Coppice

Looking Down at Scale Close Coppice

The path splits at the National Trust sign, with the main path continuing up the fell side. Take the narrow path on the right, leading down to Scale Close Coppice. Scale Close Gill runs through this coppice, creating a mini waterfall, and a second waterfall feeds into it.

There is a bridge that crosses over the gill and the path on the other side ascends slightly before stopping, giving you another viewpoint. Children can paddle in the stream and explore the surrounding trees. Once you are ready to head back, simply re-trace your steps to return to Rosthwaite.