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Elterwater in the Lake District

Welcome to the EDGE Guide to Elterwater in Cumbria.

Elterwater Lake in the Lake District, Cumbria.

Length: less than a mile.
Nearest towns:

Ambleside E on the A593 via the B5343, 2.5mls/4km.
Bowness & Windermere SE on the A591 via the A593 & B5343, 7mls/11km.

Location map

Elterwater is smaller than Buttermere but like that lake perfectly formed. It occupies a truly picturesque spot at the entrance to that most beautiful of the Lake District valleys, Great Langdale.

Elter is the Norse word for swan: so Elterwater means Swan Lake.

Close by is the lovely village of Elterwater through which the Langdale Beck flows to the lake and from there to Lake Windermere 2.5 miles to the south.

Bridge at Elterwater, the Lake District, Cumbria.

The slightly larger village of Chapel Stile is a little way to the north, further up the valley.


The most popular starting place is the pub in Elterwater and not surprisingly an even more popular place to end. The car park opposite can fill up quickly, but there is another to the north of the village on the B5343.

From the pub the path leads along the northern and eastern shores of the lake and then down to the River Brathay.

This is a short but pleasant walk: the walk further round the opposite side takes you away from the lake.

Great Langdale and the Langdale Pikes are some of the most popular places for walking and with good reason. They should be visited if only to enjoy the views.


In the heart of the Lake District at the southern end of Great Langdale valley. The Langdale Pikes can be seen in the background in the picture above.

Map of Elterwater