Mountain Journeys

5 Best Walks from Ambleside – Number 3: High Sweden Bridge


Taking a moment to enjoy the view - 5 best walks from Ambleside


5 best walks from Ambleside – Number 3: High Sweden Bridge

Ambleside is the perfect base for a walking or activity holiday. There is so much choice it can be difficult to decide which walks to try. This is the third in the series ‘5 of the best walks from Ambleside’ which is aimed at showcasing some of the finest walking routes that start from the town. These are some of our favourite walks and we know all the routes very well. Having lived in Ambleside for 17 years and spent thousands of days on the Lakeland mountains, we have got to know the Lake District rather well.

This route is a little different from the others as we don’t visit any summits or any high ground. For many, a walk isn’t about a summit, it is about enjoying nature and having a nice, relaxing time. This route does that very well. It is short at only about 6km and even at a very leisurely pace expect to be for less than a couple of hours. But as the saying goes ‘the best things come in small packages’ and wow does this deliver.

From the centre of Ambleside walk to the bottom of Kirkstone Road – aka ‘The Struggle’. Follow the Kirkstone for a short way, passing The Golden Rule pub and take the 2nd left after this which leads onto Sweden Bridge Lane. Do not deviate from this as it rises steeply, to eventually reach a gate at the end of the tarmac. Ok, that’s the tedious section finished, although it did still provide some fine views over the Ambleside rooftops to Loughrigg.

Pass through the gate and continue on this now very pleasant bridleway that takes in woodland, river, and open fell views. Looking towards Rydal is particular wonderful and taking time to stop and enjoy this provides the perfect opportunity for a breather.

As the sound of rushing water nears, High Sweden Bridge will soon appear. This 17th Century packhorse bridge may only be small, but it is beautiful and in a gorgeous setting. On a fine day it is a nice place for a paddle, but please beware of the nearby waterfalls just a few metres downsteam.

The main bridleway continues up into Scandale and over into the Ullswater valley via Scandale Pass. Our route crosses the High Sweden Bridge, goes through a couple of gates to join a small path ascending to meet the Fairfield bridleway. Turn left onto this well defined track and follow it downhill to enjoy wonderful views to Windermere. It is normal for Highland breeds of cattle to be grazing on these hillsides, they are generally docile creatures, but worth keeping any dogs under very close control so as not to startle them, especially if there are any calves.

The babbling river at Low Sweden Bridge is soon passed. The bridge is not so cute, but the river is beautiful here, with autumn being particularly special. Pass by the farm and onto Nook Lane, this leads easily back to Ambleside, dropping you off at the welcoming sight of The Golden Rule. If you’re a pork pies and scotch eggs person it’s well worth calling in for these, or pop into the butchers next door, that’s where they are sourced.

Instalment 4 of our 5 Best Walks from Ambleside will be added soon, so be sure to check back.


A bite to eat in Ambleside:

Apple Pie

Rattle Ghyll Deli


Liquid refreshments:

The Golden Rule


Where to get hold of a map and guidebooks:

Freds Bookshop


Where to stay:

2 Cambridge Villas

We offer guided activities in the mountains. Hiking, Rock climbing, Gorge Scrambling, Canyoning, Abseiling, Navigation courses and more. Check out our Activities Page for more information


Mountain Journey

The return route to Ambleside - 5 best walks from Ambleside



Highland Cattle taking it easy - 5 best walks from Ambleside



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