Wastwater
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Wastwater
Wastwater

Wastwater

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Lake District

The basics

Wastwater is a popular hiking destination, with a network of trails running along the waterfront and into the surrounding mountains and the Wasdale Valley. Motorized boats are banned on the lake, though it is possible to kayak or canoe. A National Trust-run campsite can be found at the Wasdale Head end of the lake.

Wastwater is commonly visited as part of multi-day tours of the Lake District National Park. Multi-day tours typically visit both the greener and gentler landscapes of the eastern fells, as well as the more isolated and stark landscapes of the western fells. Some shorter sightseeing tours follow routes along the high mountain passes of Wrynose and Hardknott, and make a brief photo stop at Wastwater.

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Things to know before you go

  • While some brave wild swimmers do take the plunge, Wastwater is cold; if you plan on swimming, consider a wetsuit.
  • Pay-and-display parking and restroom facilities can be found at the National Trust-run Wasdale Head parking lot, near the start of the route up Scafell Pike.
  • Find pubs serving hearty lunches at Wasdale Head, Nether Wasdale, and Santon Bridge.
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How to get there

Wastwater is in the west of the Lake District National Park. The nearest train station is in Seascale, which is about a 25-minute drive away. If you’re driving from Gosforth, follow the Wasdale Road east to Wellington, veering right over the bridge onto Lane Site.

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When to get there

The trails near Wastwater are busiest in July and August, though its isolated setting ensures it remains more peaceful than the eastern fells. Shoulder season visits—in May, September, or October—will be quieter.

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Scafell Pike

Summiting Scafell Pike is a popular though challenging hike. The route up is steep and involves scrambling—and should only be attempted by those with adequate fitness levels, equipment, and experience. There are three main routes up the peak, the shortest and most direct of which starts from the National Trust’s Wasdale Head car park.

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