A Walk of Art from Derwentwater Independent Hostel

derwentwater youth hostel walk

If you like to walk from the door, and explore more thoroughly the stories behind the landscape, then you might be interested in an 8 mile circular walk which starts and finishes at Derwentwater Independent Hostel, in the heart of the Lake District National Park.

The walk, entitled ‘A Walk of Art’, is part of the Royal Geographical Society’s Discovering Britain series, and it takes you along the formerly glaciated Borrowdale Valley, past the Bowder Stone, over Puddingstone Bank (the highest point, at about 300m) to the remote hamlet of Watendlath, down the ‘hanging’ Watendlath Valley to Surprise View, and back to the hostel via Ashness Bridge and Barrow Falls (the waterfall which tumbles through the hostel grounds).

The walk moves through three centuries of landscape art, from a 1797 Turner sketch of the Lodore Falls, to an abstract 1960 oil painting of Watendlath Tarn. Comparing the actual views with these sketches and paintings, you can consider how much the area has changed, and reflect on how much our modern view of the landscape has been influenced by artistic styles and theories, such as Romantic notions of the sublime, the beautiful, and the picturesque.

Barrow Cascade House by Joseph Pocklington, 1800 Now Derwentwater Independent HostelBarrow Cascade House by Joseph Pocklington 1800, and now as Derwentwater Independent Hostel.

You can also explore 490 million years of landscape change, bringing to life the volcanic activity, glaciation, and farming practices that have made Cumbria such a fascinating place to live, visit, and paint.

RGS-IBG Director, Dr Rita Gardner, describes the walk: ‘This unique walk explores the cultural geography of the Lake District, looking at how our view of it has been shaped and filtered through artistic depictions over the centuries.’

Like all Discovering Britain walks it is self-guided and free to download (in written or audio version) from the website:  www.discoveringbritain.org. You can also borrow A4 laminated booklets of the walk from the Derwentwater Independent Hostel reception. Free parking is available at the hostel.  We would love you to walk the walk and let us know what you think of it!

Derwentwater Independent Hostel welcomes tourists, families and groups alike and makes a great base for exploring the Lake District.

About Katy Moore

Assistant at Derwentwater Independent Hostel since 2013, with a love for fell running and open water swimming.