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Rydal Cave and Water Loop

Lake District National Park

Circumnavigate a beautiful little lake and visit one of the Lake District's most famous manmade landmarks.

Hiking Moderate

4.1 km
109 m
111 m
1-2 hrs
Low Point
55 m
High Point
113 m
Rydal Cave and Water Loop Map

Rydal Cave is a man-made cavern located in the Lake District National Park and lies just above the small eponymous lake. The walk around Rydal Water and up to Rydal Cave is one of the most popular short hikes in the area, and certainly one of the easiest ways of circumnavigating one of the lakes after which the region is named!


Starting from the village of Rydal, the path follows the northern shore of the lake, passing through wooded areas and open fields with stunning views of the surrounding hills and fells. Along the way, you will see several picturesque spots, including the historic Rydal Mount house and gardens, which was the home of the famous poet William Wordsworth for many years.

Continuing along the trail, you will eventually come to the footbridge at the western end of the lake, which offers a beautiful view of the water and the hills beyond. From here, the path continues along the southern shore of the lake, passing through beautiful woodlands and crossing a small waterfall before before climbing up to the famous Rydal Cave.

Rydal Cave itself was created in the 19th century by quarrying for slate, which was used for roofing and other construction purposes. The cave itself is a small, dark chamber with a low ceiling and rough, uneven walls. It has a small opening that provides a glimpse of the surrounding landscape. Although the cave is not particularly large or elaborate, it is an interesting historical feature of the Lake District and a popular destination for those exploring the area.

Walking around Rydal Water is a great way to experience the natural beauty of the Lake District and to see some of its most iconic sights. The trail is suitable for all levels of walkers and offers plenty of opportunities to stop and take in the scenery along the way.



Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

between April and October


  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Dog friendly
  • Family friendly

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area