Rydal Cave

Useful Information

Location: Loughrigg Fell, Ambleside, LA22 9SD.
A591 between Keswick and Kendal, north of Ambleside. Park at The Glen Rothay Hotel and Badger Bar. 1 km/15 minutes walk along the lake.
(54.443133, -2.996402)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: MineSlate Mine
Light: bring torch
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Rydal Cave, Ambleside, LA22 9SD.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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19th century slate quarry abandoned.



Rydal Cave is located west of the small village Rydal. The River Rothay widens and becomes a lake named Rydal Water, on the southern shore is the Loughrigg Fell, and on the northern slopes of this hill, not far from the lake is a huge cavern with a flooded floor. Most people think it's a cave, but obviously there are no caves in the area, this is a former slate mine which was abandoned. It was originally called Loughrigg Quarry, the mined slate was used mainly for roofs. The entrance area is flooded by dripping water, but there are stepping stones through the shallow part until the drier floor space inside the cave is reached. Sturdy walking shoes are a good idea, gum boots even better. There have been reports of rock fall some years ago, but the cavern seems stable. Nevertheless, the visit is at your own risk.

Lately the site became quite famous, as it was used as a filming location for the Netflix series The Witcher, series 2 episode 7 Voleth Meir. This is where Geralt takes Jaskier to have a bath after he rescues him from Oxenfurt prison. Actually people not only bath but swim in the deeper left hand section of the pool at the entrance. However, the water has only 10 °C, so that not exactly for everyone. Actually there are several filming locations in the Lake District, another one was Hodge Close Quarry near Little Langdale (series 2, episode 3) and Blea Tarn.

Despite the small obstacles, the site is quite popular. On a hot weekend in summer the cool spot is crowded. It is easy to reach, from the main road in Rydal, where you park at The Glen Rothay Hotel and Badger Bar, just across the bridge and along the lake through White Moss woods. Alternatively you might park at the Pelter Bridge Car Park, but It's hard to find as it is not signposted. From The Glen Rothay Hotel and Badger Bar its 370 m down the A591 towards Ambleside, then right across Pelter Bridge and right again. It's an easy 1 km walk, so the visit will take not more than an hour. Another possibility is to start at White Moss Carpark (Ambleside, LA22 9SE) at the other end of Rydal Water. Beneath the main cave which is easy to find, there is a smaller one a little downhill called Jobson Close Cave. Be careful, the floor is muddy. It seems some people mix them up, the real Rydal Cave has a lake in the entrance and is entered on stepping stones.