Walking guide: High Dam from Stott Park Bobbin Mill
The Lake District is renowned for walking - but if you don't fancy tackling a fell, this circular walk around Stott Park Bobbin Mill at the southern end of Windermere is a perfect choice.
High Dam was built in the 1800s to help provide water power to Stott Park Bobbin Mill, before the site was converted to use electricity in 1941. We've started the walk from Lakeside dock with the option to add on a detour up to Stott Park Heights for a view over Windermere and famous peaks in central Lakeland.
|DISTANCE||Up to 6miles/10km. Lakeside to Stott Park Bobbin Mill, 1.5miles/2.4km (linear). Stott Park Bobbin Mill and around High Dam, 2.25miles/3.6km (circular) – extension to Stott Park Heights View Point is an extra 1.5miles/2.4km.|
|TERRAIN||Mostly woodland paths. Some of the route is along narrow, winding country roads. Please take extra care on these sections.|
|TRANSPORT||Windermere Cruises dock at Lakeside from Ambleside, Windermere and Bowness if you’re coming without a car – check sailings to ensure you have plenty of time to complete your walk. Alternatively, park at Stott Park Bobbin Mill for the walk up to/around High Dam.|
|FOOD & DRINK||We would suggest bringing a picnic. Drinks, snacks, picnic tables and toilet facilities are available at Stott Park, but there is no café on the route.|
|ACCESS & DOGS||Dogs on leads are welcome to explore Stott Park Bobbin Mill. The walk between Lakeside and the bobbin mill passes through fields where livestock may be grazing – please follow the country code.|
|MAP REFERENCE||OS Explorer OL7|
This walk description starts (and ends) at Lakeside on Windermere, if you've arrived by boat. However, you can start from Stott Park Bobbin Mill itself and walk up to around High Dam.
Leave the Lakeside carpark past the Lakeside Hotel and turn right onto the road. Follow the road for approximately 300 metres, until you can turn into the woods on the left hand side and walk parallel to the road. There is no pavement, so take care and watch for traffic.
500 metres / 0.3 milesInto the woods
When you reach a small carpark, just before a guesthouse called The Knoll, turn left at the public footpath sign and follow the bridlepath up the hill.
You'll come to two places where the path forks - keep right both times.
950 metres / 0.6 milesFields to Finsthwaite
When you reach a bench with a view of Finsthwaite church, cross the stile in the wall and follow the path across two fields and head straight towards it. There may be livestock grazing in these fields, so please take care.
1.4km / 0.86 milesFinsthwaite church and village
Walk up the lane past the church. It was built in the early 1870s, and was paid for by Thomas Newby Wilson of Newby Bridge - a former proprietor of the Stott Park Bobbin Mill. Many of the cottages you'll see here were the homes of former bobbin mill labourers. At the end of the lane, turn right and walk down the road.
Continue along the road past the sign for the High Dam carpark until you see a brown sign for Stott Park Bobbin Mill. Visit the mill first, then return this way for the High Dam/Stott Park Heights extension.
2km / 1.2 milesVisit Stott Park Bobbin Mill
Stott Park Bobbin Mill is unique - it's the last working bobbin mill in the UK, and possibly in the world. In its Industrial Revolution heyday, the mill was producing millions of bobbins for textile factories in Lancashire, Yorkshire and beyond. Watch our team make a bobbin on a guided tour of the mill. Tours are hourly, at half-past the hour (e.g 10:30, 11:30) Wednesday - Sunday. The site is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
2.3km / 1.4 milesHigh Dam walk
Turn right out of the top carpark of the the bobbin mill and retrace your steps to the sign for the High Dam carpark. Follow the access road uphill until you reach the carpark itself, and carry on uphill, passing through the wooden barrier and following a broad track.
2.6km / 1.6 milesHigh Dam woods
When you get to a short waymark post, go straight on (yellow arrow) for a fairly steep ascent. For a route with a gentler gradient, follow the white 'permitted route' arrow which rejoins the direct path further up.
If you're following the direct path (yellow arrow), ignore the footpath over the stream and bear slightly right then immediately left up a rocky section. Continue uphill with the stream to your left - the alternate path described above rejoins this route when it starts to flatten out a bit.
When the path forks, follow the yellow arrow along the main path to the left. Continue along this broad, flattish path at the next yellow arrow, then a short slope will bring you to Low Dam.
3.1km / 1.9 milesAround the reservoir
Keep to the path on the right bank, which will take you to the lake at High Dam.
The path around High Dam can be followed in either direction - but this route describes a clockwise circuit. At the dam, turn left and cross the main dam bank. Bend right and follow the broad path through the trees around the lake's shoreline. The path is never more than 100m from the lake, though it undulates and has some stony and wet sections.
Ignore the waymark posts leading away from the lake. At the side furthest from the dam, the path climbs and you'll get a view of the High Dam lake.
4km / 2.4 milesStott Park Heights extension
2.4km / 1.5miles there and back
Before the path turns right around back along the lake, a path to your left takes you to a kissing gate through a wall with a waymark.
Through the gate, follow a broad grassy path across an open, wooded fellside. The woods and outcrops of Stott Park Heights will come into view. The path bears to the right across the slope before descending left to a broad, shallow valley below the hill. Nearing the valley bottom, keep left at a fork in the path. The path is quite new, crossing a small stream.
Keep following the path, around and uphill. There are a number of small paths, heading up to the summit, but stick to the main route and you'll get there.
5.1km / 3.1 milesStott Park Heights summit
Once the gravel path comes to an end, you'll have to tramp up a short, fairly steep grassy slope to reach the summit. When you get up there, the summit is rocky so take care over the small slabs and outcrops. On a clear day, as well as the view over Windermere, you'll be able to see Furness Fells, Coniston Old Man, Langdale Pikes and Kentmere Fells.
6.5km / 4 milesReturn journey
Retrace your steps back to the path around High Dam. Once you're back at the lake, turn left and follow the path around the lake. Another five minutes or so, you'll get back to the dam. Follow the same route back down to High Dam carpark as you took up.
When you reach the road, in order to get back to Lakeside, turn right towards Finsthwaite and retrace your steps past the church and through the woods. To return to the bobbin mill, turn left.
Please note, we do not recommend walking all the way back to Lakeside along the road. It's narrow, winding and well-used by cars - the route through the woods is both safer, and a more pleasant walk.
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