Borrowdale Gates Driving Route

Location: The Bowder Stone car park

Famous glacial erratic stone which is about 30 feet high and estimated to be 2000 tons in weight.

Continue on to Rosthwaite village where there is a small National Trust pay and display car park. This is great walking country and the village also has some good refreshment stops.

Back on the B5289 through Rosthwaite, continue approx. 0.5 miles to the left turn for Stonethwaite which is a short way down the minor dead end road.

Quaint village in lovely setting

Return to the B5289 and turn left. After approx. 1 mile there is a left turn to the hamlet of Seathwaite which can be found approx. 1 mile along the dead end road.

Tiny hamlet of Seathwaite is enclosed by some impressive peaks. The rain gauge shows this to be the wettest inhabited place in England and holds some impressive records for rainfall totals. During the November 2009 flood, 316mm of rain was recorded here in 24hrs, a UK record. Graphite was discovered in the valley in the 16th century and this was eventually mined and used at the original Pencil Factory in Keswick.

Go back to the B5289 and turn left and then enter village of Seatoller, which is another attractive small village which is mainly used as a centre for walking. This marks the end of the Borrowdale valley before the road climbs steeply up the Honister Pass.

The road quickly becomes narrow and very steep for almost a mile until the gradient eases and there is another 0.5 mile steady climb before the summit of Honister Pass at 356m.

Honister Slate Mine is at the summit where this famous old mine is still producing slate today, with plenty of visitor attractions, including gift shop, showroom, café and mine tours. The mine is open all year apart from early January.

Go over the summit and start descending towards Buttermere. Again steep and narrow, the road is hemmed in by some very impressive peaks but soon descends to the more open valley floor and follows the pleasing river along Gatesgarthdale.

Often used in car adverts

Continue along the B5289 which soon follows the shore of Buttermere lake and after roughly 2 miles, you reach Buttermere village in a postcard setting setting between Buttermere lake and Crummock Water. The village has a couple of notable refreshment stops and it is worth taking the half mile walk to either lake to admire the views.

From Buttermere, turn right to retrace your steps for a very short distance on the B5289. The Newlands Pass road junction is up the short steep hill, just past the small attractive church on the left. Take the Newlands road which climbs quite steeply away from Buttermere. The road is a little narrow and steep in places but well made and the climb to Newlands Pass is quite straightforward.
The summit of the Pass is known as Newlands Hause and at 333m altitude it provides a good place to park and admire the views. A short distance to the south can be seen the impressive Moss Beck waterfall.

From Newlands Hause, the descent is long and steady down Newlands valley. This is a lovely valley, the birth place of Mrs Tiggy Wingle (re Beatrix Potter) towards Braithwaite Village, a relatively quiet village set at the foot of some impressive hills, just off the main A66 road.

Leave Braithwaite on the B5292 towards Keswick and shortly meet the main A66. Turn right towards Keswick. After approx. 1 mile, turn right on the B5289 and after 1 more mile, this road approaches the centre of Keswick.

A little way out of the town centre, this area next to Derwent Water, where you can explore the lake either by boat or the footpath which runs right around the lake. It is definitely worth walking the short distance to Friar’s Crag which offers beautiful views down the lake. The popular Theatre by the Lake is also here which has its own facilities.

Return to the B5289 roundabout and turn right then shortly right again at the next roundabout towards Borrowdale. Continue for approx. 1 mile to Great Wood car park on the left.

Directly across the road from Great Wood car park, a short footpath leads to the picturesque Calfclose Bay with a lake shore footpath and shingle beaches.

Continue along the B5289 towards Borrowdale. The road follows the lake and after approx. 0.5 miles there is a left turn signposted to Ashness Bridge and Watendlath. If you take this left, the dead end road is single track with passing places, steep and windy in places but the attractions along this road are well worth visiting. Continue up hill for approx. 0.5 miles to Ashness Bridge.

Ashness Bridge is a famous old packhorse bridge with an open riverbank area upstream from where you can admire one of the most photographed views in the Lakes.

Continue up the minor road towards Watendlath to a car park for Surprise View.
The surprise might be that Derwent Water is hidden from the road by trees until you reach this point so the view is quite unexpected. Beware of steep drops from viewpoint.

The minor road continues to wind up through the trees but shortly becomes more level and leaves the trees behind to pass along the scenic valley floor. Eventually, the hamlet of Watendlath is reached.

Watendlath is a picturesque hamlet and tarn owned by the National Trust and located at the head of a remote high valley.

Retrace your steps all the way back down the Watendlath road to the B5289 Borrowdale Road and turn left towards Borrowdale.

Continue on to Kettlewell Car Park if you want to see the Lodore Falls waterfall. The falls are where Watendlath Beck cascades down to the lake from the high valley above.

Back on the B5289, continue along the road for a short distance before it comes alongside the River Derwent on the right and you see a double arched bridge over the river. Cross this bridge to enter the village of Grange in Borrowdale and back to the Borrowdale Gates Hotel.

Pop in for a drink

Why not pop in for a drink and see what the Borrowdale Gates Hotel has to offer.