Our Windermere Guest House Walk of the Month: Red Nab to Wray Castle

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Wray Castle Walk

If you’re planning on staying at our Windermere Guest House over the next few months then this is a great and easy walk that is magical in the autumn sunshine, plus the cafe at Wray Castle castle itself is open until the end of  October so you can look forward to a nice pot of tea or coffee to warm you up afterwards if it’s a bit chilly. The walk is a little over 3 miles long and mainly follows the wooded shoreline of Lake Windermere itself. The  Red Nab carpark can be a little tricky to find as it doesn’t have an assigned postcode for sat navs (longitude 54.386056, latitude -2.947503) however  you can get there by heading towards High Wray Farm (Ambleside, LA22 0JE), then take a left and follow the fork in the road to the left. After about 600m down the road you’ll see signposts for the Red Nab car park and the walking track that goes through it. If you’re in any doubt have a chat to us before you leave for the day.

The route itself

This walking route has been improved recently by a number of regeneration and accessibility programs so it is now fully accessible for the less able and even pushchairs. This means that everyone can not only enjoy this walk but also get right the way through to Wray Castle.

Point 1: Red Nab Car Park

The track heads north out of the car park and runs between both the lakeshore and Arthur Wood which is made up of a mix of Ash, Oak and Silver Birch trees. As you walk you’ll see the fantastic views across Lake Windermere of Brockhole on the opposite shore and on a clear day you’ll even see Wansfell. After just over a mile you’ll come to a gate which will bring you out onto the large grass covered area of High Wray Bay. Depending on the weather this is a fantastic place to stop and relax and I know from experience it’s a great place for photography.

Point 2: High Wray Bay

You’ll be able to see the track sign posted and it’s only about 500m to the Wray Castle entrance. Please note that if you are in a wheelchair there are slight gradients which may prove difficult for solo wheelchair users. You’ll then come onto a tarmac drive leading you to the castle.

Point 3: Wray Castle

Wray Castle itself is a Victorian neo-gothic building which since 1929 has belonged to the National Trust. The castle and its grounds  have only recently been opened up to the public allowing people to view the range of specimen trees (Wellingtonia, redwood, Ginkgo biloba and weeping lime) which the castle grounds are renowned for.

The castle was built for a retired Liverpool surgeon, Dr James Dawson,  in 1840. He also used his wife’s fortune to build Wray Church which is located near by. The estate was passed down through Dr Dawson’s family.
The house has an association with Beatrix Potter who spent the summer there in 1882 (she eventually bought nearby Hill Top in 1905 with the profits from her first books). She then went on to buy quite a few bits of land in the area including most of the land around the castle. The castle itself has been used for a variety of purposes, including a youth hostel, the offices of the Freshwater Biological Association and a training college for Merchant Navy radio officers (RMS Wray Castle).