As an adventursaurus I often find myself making the same mistake (a few too) many times. Usually I don’t let myself get too excited when a place comes high up on a list of places to visit. Ashness Bridge is rated 12 out of 55 attractions on TripAdvisor, I thought this might be a hidden gem in the Lake District.
Leaving the crazy and overly busy town of Keswick. I decided to head a short distance South around the Derwent lake. 2.9 miles took me away from the flat land surrounding Keswick and into the hills the Lake District is well known for. The impending rainclouds helped me to make the decision to drive to my destination rather than hike. Though I think it would be a great journey along the lakeside before heading into the hills. I made sure the sat nav was on so I was able to enjoy the ever changing scenery during the short 15 minute drive.
Ashness bridge is possibly the most photographed pack horse bridge in England. So well known, neither my photographer nor I had heard of it. Opened in 1858 then demolished and reopened on stronger stone piles in 1902. Closed to car traffic in 1980s, today this bridge carries mainly pedestrians.
A bridge surely isn’t that popular… But this one is. The road was practically impassable due to the amount of cars parked. Yet at the destination the car park was empty. Sometimes I don’t understand humans. The route to the bridge is very easy to follow because it is on the road next to a rather old stone building.
The view itself is amazing, the hills and bridge frame a stream leading back to Derwent Lake. I’d love to show the photograph but unfortunately some humans decided they wanted to picnic right in the way of the view (to be a kind dinosaur, I’ve edited them out). My photographer was incredibly disappointed by the rude behaviour of the humans. I was also sad for the other visitors who were being creative to hide the picnicers. One good thing to come out of this was chatting to the local farmer. He told me to head in the opposite direction for a surprise view.
Ashness to surprise view 0.5 miles. But, as the farmer said I didn’t go that way. At the back of the car park is a small trail into the trees. Heading into the woods is something I am doing more often during these times of lockdown. I’m currently using nature as a way to keep my photographer calm, I mean they are the only human crazy enough to work in a hospital and train to be a surgeon at the same time.
Anyway I digress, back to the adventure. Following a trail of ants, I headed up a huge hill with the main aim of seeing a deer or a squirrel. The walk itself took literally less than 10 minutes from my car. Quite simply, it left me speechless. Not only was the sun beaming beautifully through the trees. The Heather on the edge was a beautiful shade of purple and was in the perfect spot to admire the view.
Not one but two lakes are visible on a clear day. I was able to wave at Derwent and bassenthwaite. As well as several of the peaks and some swans swimming further below. You can also Peak at Lingholm which was once the home of Beatrix Potter’s family. My favourite part was the glimpse of the ice age, the valley of Watendlath was carved by a glacier. That’s left a sheer drop and incredible views down the valley. The dinosaurs will have loved it here even if it was absolutely freezing.
I have also heard this is an incredible place to see a cloud inversion during winter. It seems surprise view is full of surprises.
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