Photography Locations in the Western Lake District

The western Lake District is the wildest and most remote of the 5 regions. Home to both England’s highest mountain and it’s deepest lake it offers almost limitless scope for landscape photography. Here are 6 locations to get you started.

The Western Lake District

Home to England’s highest mountain (Scafell Pike) and it’s deepest lake (Wast Water) the western Lake District is wild country. Here the pretty villages and tranquil valleys of the central Lake District give way to some of the most dramatic scenery that the UK has to offer.

Whilst the rest of the Lake District seems to get busier and busier with each passing year the western Lake District remains relatively quiet. It is a great place to escape the crowds and to find a little peace.

Wast Water

Britain's favourite view at Wast Water in the Western Lake District
On my last visit to photograph Britain’s favourite view I couldn’t even see it! Maybe you’ll have more luck.

In 2007 ITV viewers voted Wast Water as Britain’s favourite view and it is easy to see why.ย  The drama of the Scafell range combined with with menace of Wast Water’s icy depths is a photographer’s dream.

However, the weather here can be unpredictable. While the rest of the Lake District basks in glorious sunshine it is not uncommon for Wast Water to be shrouded in low cloud.

That is certainly what found last time I visited. Perhaps you will have more luck. ๐Ÿ™‚

Parking: Lay-by beside the lake

Walking: 100m on grass, potentially mobility scooter friendly

View the location map.

The Buttermere Pines

Fleetwith Pike and Haystacks on Buttermere in the western Lake District
The unmistakable view of Fleetwith Pike and Haystacks towering above the famous pine trees at the southern end of Buttermere

There are fewer locations in the Lake District more picturesque than Buttermere. I since lap of the lake is a must for anyone visiting the area for the first time.

For the photographer there are may compositions to explore. However, very few can match the grandeur of the view of Fleetwith Pike and Haystacks.

I was once remarked that the trees that sit on the edge of the lake are amongst the most photographed in Britain but don’t let that put you off. This shot is a classic for good reason!

Parking: Gatesgarth Farm

Walking: 1 km on tarmac roads and uneven paths

View the location map.

The Buttermere Lone Tree

The lone tree at Buttermere in the western Lake District
The years have taken their toll on the lone tree of Buttermere

No location guide to the western Lake District would be complete without at least mentioning the lone tree of Buttermere.

Personally I have a love/hate relationship with this tree. Over the years it has been photographed so many times that I find it impossible to bring anything new.

Perhaps that won’t be a problem for long. The years have taken it’s toll on the tree and it is a shadow of it’s former self. If you want to get your own shot it’s probably best to try sooner rather than later.

Parking: The Fish Hotel, Buttermere

Walking: 1 km on tarmac roads and loose paths

View the location map.

From late spring throughout the summer access to the tree is closed to protect ground nesting birds.

Crummock Water

Mist hangs over Crummock Water in the western Lake District
In the late spring and early summer Crummock Water is surrounded by yellow irises

Crummock Water is often overlooked in favour of its better known neighbour. This offers much scope to the photographer in search of something a little different.

There are a few classic shots to be had here so it is worth doing your research. It is the flora that keep me coming back to Crummock, most notably the yellow irises that flower around June and July.

Parking: The Fish Hotel, Buttermere

Walking: 800m on grassy paths and across boggy ground

View the location map.

Hard Knott Fort

The commander's villa at Hard Knott Fort in the western Lake District
The commander’s villa at Hard Knott Fort

Built around 130 AD during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian the fort at Hard Knott is a former Roman garrison.

Given that the site is nearly 2,000 years old it is remarkable that so much of the fort still remains. You can clearly make out the outline of the lower walls that were once the bath house, commander’s villa and garrison headquarters.

There is a lot to explore here, the stone ruins acting as foreground for the rugged peaks that surround the site. It is perhaps even the perfect place to have a crack at shooting a triptych.

Parking: Roadside parking on the Hard Knott Pass

Walking: 200m across rough and boggy ground

View the location map.

Devoke Water

The boat house on Devoke Water in the western Lake District
The boat house and Seat How at Devoke Water

Given the remoteness of it’s location it is no wonder that Devoke Water is one of the less frequently visited of the ‘Lakes’.

Whenever I visit I, like many others, are always drawn towards the boathouse that sits at the eastern end of the lake. It just seems so out of place.

Many shoot it from the side but I prefer to walk around to the front and line it up with Seat How which towers ominously above.

Parking: Roadside parking on Austhwaite Brow

Walking: 1 mile on rough paths and across boggy ground

View the location map.

9 thoughts on “Photography Locations in the Western Lake District”

  1. Chris
    another nice little guide with some lovely images, except the one for Crummock Water; I really can’t get me head around that one! Maybe it’s because that is one of my favourite parts of the Lakes? Devoke Water was unknown to me until a couple of years back and since then it seems to pop up all over the place. However, last time I was there it was deserted and such a tranquil spot. If anyone is planning a trip up that way, I can thoroughly recommend the self catering lodges at the Bridge Hotel in Buttermere – come and go as you please and eat in the bar if you don’t fancy cooking for yourself. No connection to the hotel. other than as a satisfied customer.

    1. Hi Steve – I love that photo of Crummock, it evokes such memories of a wonderful morning. I originally set of to photograph the view of Fleetwith Pike and Haystacks from Buttermere but when I arrived there appeared to be some sort of festival going on and the beach was a sea of colourful tents. At the last minute I opted to head to Crummock Water in search of the boat that I had seen photographed so many times. It was early summer and the yellow irises were looking magnificent. It was pretty misty and I was unable to use filters because water kept condensing on them so I had to bracket my exposures instead. As I look at that image now I can see a number of things that I would change but I remember at the time being very proud of it ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. This region seems so serene, much like the others you’ve highlighted Chris. Very different topography than what I’m accustomed to in NY. The openness and lack of woods I think would be a bit overwhelming, LOL! However, I see how these locations are incredibly inspiring requiring numerous return visits. Thanks for sharing.

    1. It’s a pleasure Miguel. If you ever get the opportunity to visit the Lake District I think you would love it. It is a truly unique landscape and I don’t think the videos do it justice. You really have to be there to experience it for yourself. If you ever do make it over let me know, it would be great to go out on a shoot together.

  3. Chris, congratulations on completing this photography guide for the Lake District. It was an ambitious project and Iโ€™m sure you had fun working on itโ€”a great idea! Iโ€™m sure it will be of value to anyone who is looking for some information about the area. Letโ€™s hope your Google search ranking continues to climb. Cheers!

    1. Hi Jeff, it was great fun working on the project and I am already planning my next one. Projects seem to give me much more focus, adding purpose to my photography. The Google ranking is doing pretty well at the moment – position #2 for the search term ‘Lake District Landscape Photography’. Pretty pleased with that! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Thank you for creating and sharing this guide Chris. As a newcomer to the Lakes it’s hard to know where to start, so I’m planning to use your guide when we visit the Lakes next week.

    Keep up the good work with your YouTube Vlogs.

    1. You are very welcome. I hope that you have a wonderful time in the Lakes and that the weather is kind. Do you have any locations that you are particularly keen to visit?

      1. I’m like a kid in a sweet shop at the moment – not sure where to go first. Cat Bells and Wastwater spring to mind. I’m treating this holiday as a scouting trip, for what I hope will be a lot more time spent in the Lakes.

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