Kendal Walks: 16 Best Walks Near Kendal, 2023

The little market town of Kendal sits between two of the UK’s best walking destinations – the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District national parks. A quick detour off the M6 takes you to pretty Kendal, with its old stone bridges, castle, and ‘lived-in’, comfortable-feeling residential areas. When it comes to UK hiking holidays, Kendal is a frequently mentioned candidate. And for guided walking holidays, a popular meeting spot for those embarking for days in either neighbouring national park. But what about the best Kendal walks? What about enjoying walks near Kendal and in and around the town itself?

In this guide, we’ll take a look at Kendal’s own walks. None of these walks near Kendal are further than a 30-minute drive from the town centre, meaning you’ll be enjoying local walks, not just using Kendal as a national park launch pad. These walks around Kendal are well worth completing.

Short Walks Around Kendal

 

1.      Scout Scar Mushroom

Highlights: A unique shelter marking a hill summit with great views

Length: 0.3 miles out and back

Distance from Kendal: 10-minute drive

We’ll be completely honest; Scout Scar Mushroom is bizarre looking. The We’ll be completely honest; Scout Scar Mushroom is bizarre looking. The ‘Mushroom’ is a stone-base shelter with a rounded dome roof, and originally was built as a memorial to King George V. Built back in 1912, Scout Scar Mushroom has been lovingly restored twice since. Expect a steady flow of walkers on this walk, as it is one of the highly well-known walks around Kendal. You hike to the Scout Scar summit, sit in the ‘Mushroom’ to catch your breath, and enjoy views over the fells.

The walk is just 250 metres each way, although at a steep enough incline to get you puffing a little. From the central car park, you take the path on the right to cross the road and walk through a wooden gate. You then follow a path until you reach the ‘Mushroom’ – enjoying views over Lyth Valley and its surrounding fells.

Scout Scar Mushroom is brilliant as a sunrise or sunset hike near Kendall. It is easy to follow and takes around 10 minutes to complete, so perfect when you are navigating the trail in the dark. It is also one of the best walks around Kendal for families since it is short and has the ‘Mushroom’ novelty factor.

2. Kendal Castle

Highlights: Medieval castle remains

Length: N/A

Distance from Kendal: 20-minute walk

Kendal Castle is one of the best walks in Kendal – if not the best. The Kendal Castle walk is set in a vast public green space full of woodland and meadows. The medieval castle ruins are super romantic, and despite being in a state of definite despair, you can still see the castle rooms and a hidden staircase. The Kendal Castle walk is free to complete and has some beautiful views over the town below. For a historic walk in Kendal, this is your best bet.

Since there’s no official starting point, how long the Kendal Castle walk is depends on where you start from. It can take anything from 8 minutes from road parking at Castle Road or 20 minutes if you are walking from the centre of Kendal. It is one of the shortest walks in Kendal and is suitable for families and more serious hikers.

3. Serpentine Woods Sculpture Trail

Highlights: A sculpture trail in alphabetical order

Length: 1.2 miles

Distance from Kendal: 15-minute walk

This circular walk in Kendal is one of the most engaging walks to choose from. Serpentine Woods is a broadleaf tree woodland set on limestone pavement and a brilliant introduction to classic British woodland. Serpentine Woods covers 17.57 acres, and you walk through the area on a 1.2-mile circular trail. You can pick up a trail leaflet from the town library, giving directions and fun clues. But the general rule of the Serpentine Woods Sculpture Trail is that the sculptures appear in alphabetical order, so the first letter of each sculpture will be the following letter in the alphabet.
You start your hike on The Tram Road, less than a 15-minute walk from the centre of Kendal. The route is clear enough; you just follow the track until you return to your start point. It is one of the easiest walks in Kendal in terms of navigation.

4. Beezon Fields

Highlights: Wildlife and river views

Length: N/A

Distance from Kendal: 10-minute walk

Beezon Fields is locally known as ‘Busher Walk’. It is essentially a large field currently under the care of the Environment Agency. It is one of the main Kendal dog walks and quite a social spot. However, Beezon Fields are also brilliant for wildlife spotting. Keep your eyes peeled along the riverbank for herons and otters. And the Environment Agency are adding more natural conservation measures and improvements – so there’ll be even more wildlife to come.
There’s no official distance for a Beezon Fields walk. You should allow 15 minutes or so to experience this green space, and it is a pleasant walk from the centre of Kendal with a morning coffee. If you fancy a morning stretch rather than a multi-hour trek, Beezon Fields is one of the top walks in Kendal

5. The Helm

Highlights: Fell Ponies

Length: 2.5-miles

Distance from Kendal: 12-minute drive

The Helm is one of the most exciting walks around Kendal for animal lovers. Why? Because it is home to a herd of native fell ponies. Starting at the Station Inn Pub, you make an ascent through open meadowland with grazing fell ponies and cattle. The trail is a little rough and ready (read: you’ll be guessing the route most of the way), but since this is a hill summit hike, it is relatively easy to guess where you should be walking. With the ponies, they are confident enough to get close enough to photograph. But give them plenty of space, and don’t try to feed them, as they are feral animals and can get overzealous and unpredictable interacting with you. At the Helm Summit, you’ll have beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.
The whole walk should take approximately an hour. In fact, it is one of the most popular Kendal dog walks and zipping up and down the Helm, a popular morning activity amongst local dog owners. But leave some extra time for stopping and admiring the fell ponies. Walking to see feral ponies might have been off your radar when visiting Kendal. However, you should definitely add it to your itinerary.
*Wreay Alpacas run guided alpaca hikes up to the Helm between February and November. Definitely check that out if you want a more novel experience of this Kendal walk*

6.  Dorothy Farrer’s Spring Wood

Highlights: Bluebells

Length: N/A

Distance from Kendal: 20-minutes drive

Everyone loves bluebells. And if you visit Kendal in April or May, Dorothy Farrer’s Spring Wood needs to be on your list of walks around Kendall. In April and May, the woodland springs into bright purple action. The woodland floor transforms into an absolute carpet of bluebells, and walking this trail becomes extra beautiful. 

There is no set trail in Dorothy Farrer’s Spring Wood – just a set of quiet muddy tracks that connect the woodland like a messy (but beautiful) maze. The best approach is to allow an hour to visit Dorothy Farrer’s Spring Wood and then just let yourself ‘get lost’. The woods is less than five acres, so you can’t stay lost for long. And it is all part of the adventure of this Kendal walk. Try to spot the old charcoal kilns from the wood’s coppice days and the waterfall. 

*Side note: For more inspiration on Yorkshire’s bluebell walks, we’ve got a guide on the nearby Bluebell Woods in Ilkley, which is much larger.*

      7.  Brant Fell Viewpoint

Highlights: Lake Windermere views

Length: 2.5 miles

Distance from Kendal: 20-minute drive

Brant Fell is a little bit of a drive away from Kendal, but totally worth it. The hill summit overlooks the town of Bowness-on-Windermere and has some of the most beautiful views in the Lake District. Chances are you’ll be on a day trip to Lake Windermere when you are staying in Kendall anyway, so Brant Fell Viewpoint is a logical (and stunning) addition to your Kendal itinerary. 

The hike itself is super easy. From Bowness-on-Windermere, you join a footpath that takes you to Post Knott and the viewpoint. You can find a complete route guide here. While technically not one of the Kendal walks, the Brant Fell Viewpoint walk is an absolute must and just too close to miss out on.

      8. Orrest Head

Highlights: Beautiful views of Lake District and Lake Windermere with an accessible route option

Length: 3 miles

Distance from Kendal: 20-minute drive

Orrest Head is a hilltop in the Lake District and just a short drive from Kendal. As mentioned with Brant Fell, it is ideal to combine with a day trip to the Lake District from Kendal, and this hike only takes 1.5 hours. The hill is 784 feet above sea level and has some spectacular views. From the summit, you can enjoy benches and a viewpoint overlooking Lake Windermere, Morecambe Bay, and the classic fells of the Lake District.
A significant aspect of the Orrest Head walk is its accessible option, which you can tackle by mobility scooter. To stick to this route, follow the blue signs and avoid the red-signed sections (which include steps). For an accessible hike, Orrest Head is one of the best Kendal walks.

9. Levens Deer Park

Highlights: Deer and goats

Length: 3-miles circular

Distance from Kendal: 15-minute drive

Levens Deer Park is one of the most novel walks around Kendal. It is home to a vast herd of wild deer and even a little group of Bagot goats, which roam the park at will. By completing the 3-mile trail, you have almost a 100% chance of seeing the goats or deer, and you’ll enjoy beautiful meadows and woodland scenery on the way.

You can read more about Levens Deer Park here. But, as a whole, it is super easy to navigate. Levens Deer Park is an excellent bet if you want to spend an hour or two near wildlife.

Medium-Length Walks Around Kendal

 

10. National Trust – Sizergh

Highlights: Medieval house with 1,600 acres of estate and multiple choices of hiking trails

Length: 1 – 4.5 miles depending on your trail choice

Distance from Kendal: 12-minute drive

Sizergh Estate is a 1,600-acre stretch of wetland, woodlands, and orchards. In the centre of the estate sits the medieval Sizergh Castle, which has been in the Strickland family for over 800 years. You can tour the castle and its historical artefacts inside before heading out on one of its estate walks. Sizergh Estate runs a free guided walk every Monday, or you can choose one (or multiple) of these following three hikes:

  • The Wild Play Trail

This mile-long circular walk is dotted with wooden carved animals and is most recommended for families. The trail cuts through woodland and gets pretty muddy in autumn and winter. 

  • Sizergh Wildlife Walk

Sizergh Wildlife Walk is a 2.5-mile route that specifically takes you on a tour of the most highly populated wildlife areas. You’ll pass butterflies, birds, mammals, and wildflowers. Hawfinches, woodpeckers, cattle, and fritillary butterflies are the most common sightings.

  • Park End Moss Wetland Walk

The Wetland Walk is a 4.5-mile walk that takes you on a three-hour loop through important areas of local bird conservation. You cut through ancient woodlands, wetlands, and parkland – including an old deer park that dates back to 1700. Bring binoculars for this hike so you can spot native and migratory birds.

Whichever trail you choose to complete, Sizergh Estate has a café to finish your experience, plus a secondhand bookstore. Not everyone feels like being battered by wind and rain on an exposed fall. Sizergh Estate is one of the best walks around Kendal if you want a more manicured experience. Having a place with multiple hike options is excellent, and Sizergh stands out for its trail choices. 

11. Crooklands to Burton-in-Kendal Canal Walk

Highlights: Canal and barge views

Length: 15 miles out and back

Distance from Kendal: 15-minute drive

Crooklands Canal Walk is stunning. The green canal against the greenery of the agricultural backdrop is beautiful. And you’ll be walking under the shade of trees and through tunnels and passing classic canal barges. Crooklands Canal is an insight into a different lifestyle and as much a cultural experience as a hike. The hike is roughly 15 miles and takes approximately four to five hours.
To spice up your Crooklands Canal Walk, bring some loose change and ride on the Narrowboat Waterwitch. One of the local barge boats takes walkers up and down the canal on casual tours for as little as £4 per adult. The boat is bright green; you can’t miss it.

12. Walking the River Kent

Highlights: River-side views

Length: 4.5 miles

Distance from Kendal: Starts in town centre

Walking the River Kent is a laidback mid-length walk in Kendal. Out of all these Kendal walks, this is one of the easiest to plan. You simply head north of the town centre, taking the Carus Green & River Kent footpath from Kent Lea Road.

You pass the Sandy Bottoms – a popular kayaking area – and follow the river until you reach Carus Green Golf Course. Once you reach Burneside Road, you can either follow the same route back to Kendal or follow Burneside Road back into the town centre.This Kendal walk is best for those with an hour or two on their hands.

      13. Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve

Highlights: Nesting ospreys

Length: Approx. 4-miles depending on route

Distance from Kendal: 20-minute drive

Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve has a network of boardwalks that makes for a brilliant mid-length hike near Kendal. You can connect multiple smaller trails together to cover up to 4 miles. Just make sure to include the 1-mile hike to the viewing platform.

Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve is an overlooked gem for Kendal walks. Don’t skip over this reserve when researching walks around Kendal, as it is a lowland-raised mire – one of Western Europe’s most threatened and rare habitats. A mire is an acidic wetland and a significant place for nesting ospreys. So, bring some binoculars and embrace some bird watching.

Long Walks Around Kendal

 

      14. Whitbarrow Scar and Lord’s Seat

Highlights: Limestone pavement and escarpment

Length: 6.7 miles

Distance from Kendal: 20-minute drive

Whitbarrow Scar and Lord’s Seat is a brilliant longer walk near Kendal that takes you to see limestone escarpment. The steep slope of broken limestone was formed by sediment from when this area was once underwater. This is one of the most geographically exciting walks around Kendal. Especially if you want to experience classic limestone pavement. Whitbarrow Scar and Lord’s Seat takes just under three hours to complete. You can check out a full route guide here.

      15. Kendal to Lancaster Canal Walk

Highlights: Canal views and long-distance challenge

Length: 28.3 miles

Distance from Kendal: Starts in the town centre

Ready for a beast? The Kendal to Lancaster Canal Walk is a long-distance hike completed as a one-way challenge. While the route itself is sedate and easy to follow, the 28.3 miles is another story. Allow 8-10 hours to complete this monster of a hike. You’ll have aesthetic canal views and cute little canal barges to admire. You’ll also pass through multiple canal-side villages where you can grab a pub lunch – or supermarket meal deal if you are on a budget or time limit.

If you are looking for long walks in Kendal, the Kendal to Lancaster Canal Walk is one of your longest options. To return to Kendal, catch a 20-minute train from Lancaster or a 40-minute bus ride on the 555. You can find exact route details and instructions here.

      16. Westmorland Way

Highlights: Option of a multi-day trial

Length: 90 miles

Distance from Kendal: 45-minute drive

Okay, the Westmorland Way might not start in Kendal. However, it does cut directly through Kendal. This long-distance hike starts in Appleby-in-Westmorland and ends on the coast at Morecambe Bay. You’ll cut through fells and countryside villages before emerging onto the Lancashire coastline. And if you fancy a real challenge, the Westmorland Way is the walk for you. 

You have two options; start the walk from Kendal (an approximate 8–10-hour trek) or head to Appleby-in-Westmorland (a 45-minute drive away) to start the 90-mile trail from scratch over multiple days. If you choose the latter, we’d suggest stopping in Patterdale, Windermere, and Levens overnight. You can check out more details here.

Walks in Kendal: FAQs

Completing any of these walks near Kendal will keep you entertained. This region comes into its own with its nature, and you can take your pick from walking amongst wild fell ponies to passing waves and waves of bluebells.

Where is Kendal?

Kendal is in Cumbria, located just off the M6, sandwiched between the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Park.

What is the Kendal Ramblers Walk Programme?

An organised walking group in Kendal that runs hikes to local areas. You can check out upcoming walks here

What are the best Kendal dogs walks?

Beezon Fields and the Helm are the best Kendal dog walks.

To Conclude: The Best Walks Near Kendal

The best walks near Kendal are Scout Scar Mushroom, Kendal Castle, and the Helm (for wild pony spotting). But all of these walks in Kendal are beautiful places to spend a few hours. Kendal deserves its own limelight when it comes to hikes and hiking holidays, and it isn’t somewhere to just base yourself before embarking on national park hikes. We suggest staying in Kendal for at least 2-3 days. With 2-3 days in Kendal, you can enjoy a selection of the best walks around Kendal and check out some of its attractions, like the Kendal Museum.

That said, check out the surrounding area if you have more than 2-3 days. There are some fantastic things to do in the Lake District – including some beautiful waterfalls to visit. While the Yorkshire Dales National Park is full of amazing hikes and dog-friendly pubs for an authentic country experience.

 

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