Photo: waterfall at Rydal Hall, Ambleside

The grounds at Rydal Hall

Rydal Hall is set in over thirty acres of garden, woodland and natural beauty in the Lake District. And scattered around the grounds are various sculptures and other points of interest - making it fascinating to explore!

Map of grounds at Rydal Hall, Ambleside

Map of Rydal Hall grounds (PDF, 3MB)

Rydal Hall and the Arts

Rydal Hall works to enhance and protect its beautiful environment and has always welcomed creative partnerships. Our stunning setting and grounds have a history of inspiring creative people and we continue to value that interaction.

As well as an annual residential arts programme which ranges from icon painting to photography we enjoy acting as hosts for a number of self-organised groups from orchestras and singing schools to spinners, weavers and dyers.  Do contact our office if you are interested in any of the above.

The Old Schoolhouse Tearoom is the venue for a variety of exhibitions and artists associated with those are often to be found on site demonstrating their skills.

Sculptures in different materials can be found throughout the estate and we invite you to explore, enjoy and respect them.

Our groups' co-ordinator, Jan Thirlwell, is also a potter and works part-time from her yurt in the campsite grounds. She welcomes visitors, is happy to discuss her work and is also available to organise workshops.

Sculpture path

Rydal Hall welcomed the introduction of an unusual sculpture path into its woodland over a decade ago and has been privileged to receive many donations of sculptures in metal, stone, wood and ceramics.  Most of the textile work has been created by designer Dianne Standen who has been inspired by the dynamic forms that arise from the movement of air and water such as spirals, vortices and droplets. She outlines” My work is largely created from reused materials and wool which weathers with the seasons. This means it is constantly changing and evolving with many pieces providing habitats for insect and fungal life.

Most importantly the textiles are designed to blend with the natural environment and encourage exploration of the stunning natural forms, vegetation and mosses throughout the estate.”

Our environment

Rydal Beck threads through woodland in a cascade of waterfalls and has been used as a source of natural energy, hydropower, by the Rydal Estate for nearly 100 years. (You are welcome to walk up the waterfalls and through the adjoining woods on a circular route but please be advised paths can be slippery and steep so suitable footwear and care are advised.) We take our environmental responsibility seriously and encourage our visitors to join with us in our efforts to reduce our impact on this stunning part of the UK.

Wild Pond

Wild Pond Project

This special area behind the Tea Shop has been created over two years by one of our volunteers for one reason: to attract a variety of wildlife to Rydal. It was inspired by a broken tree, the stump of which you can see to the right of the top pond. Its top half toppled into the position you see it now, naturally forming a pond-like structure.

The three ponds are interlinked letting water directed from the fells above to flow from one to the next via an aqueduct. Water is vital for many insects and mammals to thrive in our woodland. The lower wetland is a bog designed to retain moisture which supports water-loving plants such as bulrushes and flag iris.

With a little vision and a lot of determination, a damaged tree became the starting point to build a project which will improve this woodland’s biodiversity.

This is just one of the many areas dedicated to providing wildlife habitat throughout the Rydal Hall Estate.

Other plant species introduced to improve the woodland biodiversity include:

Water Lilies Burdock, Meadow Thistle, Ladies Mantle, Cranesbill, Bluebells, Giant Teasels, Wood Anemone, yellow poppies, grasses, cowslips, ferns, red campion and foxgloves

By avoiding the grassed areas, you are helping to support this project to flourish and improve.

We appreciate your help.


Bluebells

Bluebells around the oldest and largest Sweet Chestnut Tree in Cumbria (600-year-old). It was planted before the Hall was built.

How to get to it?
 Walk past the Old School Room Tea shop, go over the bridge and up the steps that lead to the campsite's toilets.  Walk straight through the grounds and the tree can be seen straight ahead. The size of this tree is remarkable and is set in a place with lots of history.

Wild garlic

Wild Garlic In Our Grounds - The wild garlic season starts from late winter and peaks towards the end of Spring, making the month of May the perfect time to visit Rydal for wild garlic lovers. The smell is very subtle and not overpowering. Just note that when wild garlic grows it means the woodland you are walking in is very old.

Where exactly? If you are driving, as you go through the big gate turn right and park at the bottom of the hill. If you are on foot,  from the bottom of the road walk up the hill until you see the metal gate on your right; go through it and you will find yourself in a stunning white and green field. 

The Grot and the waterfall at Rydal Hall

  • Had a magical day here. The grounds are amazing with fascinating features at every turn. So much to discover and learn about. The sculptures are original and meaningful, each having it’s own story. The walk into the...
    Mia June 2019