This splendid wood next to Bassenthwaite Lake has several waymarked walking trails to try. This includes a hike to the summit of Dodd Fell where there are excellent views to enjoy. The woods have very good facilities with a car park, cafe, picnic areas, toilets and viewpoints. The area is very popular with bird watchers who come to see the Bassenthwaite Ospreys from the viewpoints in the woods. You can watch the birds fishing over the lake with the high powered telescopes and binoculars provided at the viewpoints.
There's four waymarked walking trails to try with the Dodd Summit trail the most challenging. You'll climb through woodland and open hill to the 502 m (1,647 ft) summit where you can enjoy far reaching views towards Derwentwater, Bassenthwaite Lake, the Solway Coast and the mountains of Scotland.
There's also three easier trails to try. These visit the magnificent Douglas Firs, the pretty Skill Beck and Sandbed Gill. After your walk you can refresh yourself at the excellent Old Sawmill Tearoom. Also nearby is the 17th century Mirehouse with its beatiful gardens and woodland.
The woods are located a few miles north west of Keswick. You could reach them on foot by following the Allerdale Ramble from the town. The path goes via Applethwaite and Millbeck, before reaching the eastern side of the woods. Cyclists can follow regional cycle route 38 from Keswick which also passes through Applethwaite and Millbeck.
Much of this walk follows the Allerdale Ramble footpath which runs right through the woods. You can continue along this path to extend your walking in the area. If you follow it north east you will climb to Carl Side and then on to the wonderful peak of Skiddaw. Skiddaw is the 4th highest mountain in England and commands majestic views over the Cheviots, North Pennines, Yorkshire Dales, Forest of Bowland and the Isle of Arran. The path can be followed in the other direction along Bassenthwaite Lake. It will take you past Mirehouse & Gardens and several bays and woods. It eventually reaches the end of the lake and continues along the River Derwent to Cockermouth.
PostcodeCA12 4QD - Please note: Postcode may be approximate for some rural locations
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Dodd Wood Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Dodd Wood Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Dodd Wood OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Dodd Wood Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
Right next to the wood is the excellent Old Sawmill Tearoom. The delightful tearoom was originally a working sawmill until 1970 and it was converted to its present use in 1981. The walls are hung with saws and the original saw blade is still here. You can read about the local history of Dodd Wood and the Mirehouse estate while you enjoy morning coffee, light lunch or afternoon tea. The wood burning stove is stoked up in the colder months, and in summer picnic tables overlook Bassenthwaite Lake. The tea room is wonderfully positioned at the foot of Dodd Fell just to the east of Mirehouse.
The woods are a popular place for a dog walk and you will probably see plenty of other owners on your outing. The Old Sawmill tea rooms mentioned above are also dog friendly and will provide water bowls.
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
There's some interesting sites to explore next to Bassenthwaite Lake if you have time after exploring the woods. Firstly there's the historic St Bega’s Church. The church dates from pre-Norman times and includes a 14th century lead crucifix and a font dating from 1300. The tranquil church is well worth a visit if you have time. A booklet describing the history of the church can be obtained from the Dodd Wood Old Sawmill Tearoom.
Pictured above, the church and chuchyard of the historic St Begas Church.
The church is located in the grounds of the lovely Mirehouse and Gardens. Mirehouse was owned by the Spedding family, who regularly entertained the likes of Thomas Carlyle, Edward Fitzgerald and Lord Tennyson. It was named 2017 visitor attraction of the year at the Cumbria Tourism Awards. On the site you can explore the historic house, stroll the picturesque gardens and visit the lakeshore and woodland playgrounds. There's a number of walks with a Family Nature Trail, a woodland trail with Scots Pine and a Poetry Walk. This uses a section of the terraced garden known as “Canada” and is an ongoing commemoration of the unique literary connections that Mirehouse has had over the years. Just above the house is a viewpoint where you can look out for Osprey soaring above the lake.
Pictured above left, Mirehouse. On the right the stunning view to the SW from the Osprey viewpoint which sits above the Dodd Wood car park. You can see red squirrels here, as well as many different species of birds. There are mounted telescopes provided which are very powerful.
The circular walk to Ullock Pike, Longside Edge and Carl Side also starts from the Dodd Wood car park.
For more walking ideas in the National Park see the Lake District Walks page.