Length – 4.8km / Max Width – 0.82km

Remote and awe-inspiring, Wastwater in the Wasdale Valley, in the western Lake District, will simply take your breath away. Surrounding by imposing fells such as Great Gable, Lingmell, and Scafell Pike, Wastwater is an idyllic location for a mountain trek or a lakeshore picnic.

Far removed from the Cumbrian towns and villages, Wastwater can only be accessed via a single track road leading up from the town of Gosforth off the A595 in West Cumbria.


There is some parking in the tiny hamlet of Wasdale Head on the north-eastern end of the lake (Grid Ref NY 187 085). A 24-hour pay and display car park operated by the National Trust is located closer to the lake shore at Grid Ref NY 183 075. Access is via a track that also gives access to the National Trust campsite.

Pay and display parking is also available at Overbeck Bridge on the northern side of the lake at Grid Ref NY 168 069. These car parks do get very busy at peak periods as Wastwater is the starting point for ascents up Scafell Pike, and therefore, early arrival is recommended.


At Wasdale Head you will find the Wasdale Head Inn which has been serving food and drink to walkers for over 200 years. The inn has a number of guestrooms, a collection of self-catered apartments, and a campsite.

Also located within the hamlet is the Barn Door Shop which stocks a range of specialist outdoor equipment. Public toilets can also be found in Wasdale Head.

Walking Trails

A walk around the shore of Wastwater is approximately 8-miles. You can start at the National Trust car park (Grid Ref NY 183 075) and take a path along the southern end of the lake, also known as the Wastwater Screes. This is very difficult and rough terrain and not be to be taken lightly. At the south-western edge of the lake the path takes you across the River Irt at Lund Bridge (NY 143 039) before joining the single track road that leads back up to Wasdale Head.

Many visitors come to Wastwater to climb Scafell Pike. The traditional route starts at the National Trust car park and follows Lingmell Gill (a steam) most of the way. However, a walk from Wasdale Head along the Moses Trod Path up to Sty Head Tarn (NY 221 098) is a delightful alternative with picturesque scenery and crystal clear waterfalls. From here you can take the Corridor Route up to Scafell Pike.