Between now and the end of May is the ideal time to enjoy a walk in the Lake District.

From East Lancashire follow the M6 to Penrith and at Junction 40 turn off left along the A66(T). At Keswick turn left to reach the pay and display Lakeside car park.

From the car park head out away from the lake to meet the B5289. Cross this road and turn right. In just over 200 yards a sign to the left indicates the National Trust owned Castlehead Wood.

Enter these woods and ascend a steep path leading to the top of Castlehead. From this point there are good views and a marker sign indicating the various hills and mountains. Do not rush because this is one of the best views of Derwentwater. This reveals Cat Bells at its very best.

Pass a few houses to the left.

Cross a footbridge over Brocklebeck with Springs Farm on the right. Spring is the best time to enjoy this stroll because the mixed woodland is a marvellous place to hear bird song. Through the trees are yet more glorious views of Derwentwater.

The route now turns right and crosses a stile over the well named Great Wood. This stile is tall and substantial but with a hinged flap to allow dogs to pass through without having to climb. The springtime flowers are at their best here and there is a descent through a well signed area.

Turn sharp right and cross the B 5289. The footpath bears right with the mixed woodland of stable Hills to the right and the shoreline of Derwentwater to the left. Derwentwater ranks third in size of the Cumbrian lakes and is three miles long and 1½ miles wide and has a maximum depth of 75 feet but most of it is only around 20 feet deep. Look out to the left to reveal the three islands which are sprwead out like a string of pearls along the route. Derwent Isle was once the base of German mines who worked in the area during the 17th century whilst St Herbert’s Island named after a saint who had a cell there in the 7th century. Follow the obvious footpath along the lakeside for just over ½ mile and where there are lots of quiet places to enjoy a picnic.

Follow a footpath, pass through a wooden gate and over a footbridge across a stream. Here the path diverges. Take the left fork and ascend a set of steps to reach Friars Crag. This is dominated by a memorial obelisk to John Ruskin (1819-1900) Around this monument bear right and continue along an obvious path through mature trees, full of bird song at this time of the year and through the trees are yet more good views of Derwentwater.

On the right look out for a plaque commemmorating the life and work of Canon Hardwick Drummond Rawnsley (1851-1920) who was the co-founder of the National Trust. The path opens out to reveal the landing stage with launches and rowing boats.

Ascend the metalled track turning right and passing the Lake Theale to the right. Return to the car park.