Black Moss Pot, nestled within the Langstrath Valley, is a slender passage of turquoise water, snugly ensconced between two imposing rocky walls. Here’s how to enjoy an invigorated wild swim in this beautiful Lake District location.

By: Mark Barnes | Published: 28 Jun 2023 | Last update: 21 Nov 2023

There are many great swimming locations in the Lake District but our favourite is Black Moss Pot.

Tucked into the folds of the Langstrath Valley, under the flanks of the mighty Scafell Massif, this narrow channel of turquoise water is remote, beautiful, and the ideal place for an energising dip.

Wedged between two craggy ledges, with a small waterfall feeding a deep lagoon pool, Black Moss Pot is the ideal way to appreciate the secluded beauty of the Langstrath Valley.

The pool is a 1-hour walk through the fern-fringed valley from the village of Stonethwaite, where the traditional local pub makes a great end to a fantastic day out in the lakes.

HOW TO GET TO BLACK MOSS POT?

Black Moss Pot is just over 2 miles south from the village of Stonethwaite, and the walk takes about 1 hour. The route leaves from the Langstrath Country Inn and follows a rocky track that climbs gradually as it heads up the Langstrath Valley.

The upper end of the walk is particularly spectacular as some of the largest mountains in the Lake District rise all around you. This is rugged, remote England and it’s little surprise the Coast-to-Coast path comes through this scenic part of the country.

While the path splits a few times, it’s very difficult to get lost; just keep the river fairly close on your left-hand side.

GALLENY FORCE WATERFALL

Around halfway along the walk, Galleny Force Waterfall is a pretty tumble of water crashing through a rocky ravine. Just a little further upstream, there’s a series of small pools, picturesque pools with a swing rope.

Even if you don’t feel like walking to Black Moss Pot, Galleny Force, also known as Fairy Pools, is a lovely place to swim.

DETAILS | BLACK MOSS POT HIKE

Start – Langstrath Country Inn | Distance – 4.2 miles (6.75 kilometres) return | How long – Allow 2 hours in total | Difficulty – Easy

BLACK MOSS POT MAP

Black Moss Pot is located within the Langstrath Valley in the Lake District, England. It is tucked away amidst the folds of the valley, near the village of Stonethwaite. The below map includes the swimming locations at Black Moss Pot, the hike, and where to park.

How to use this map / Click on the top left of the map to display the list of locations, then click on the locations to display further information. Click on the top right corner of the map to open a larger version in a new tab or the star to save to your Google Maps.  


BLACK MOSS POT SWIMMING

Wedged between two craggy ledges, Black Moss Pot comprises a channel of water about 2 to 3 metres wide and 50 metres long. There is a small waterfall at one end (with slightly warmer water) and a shallow stony beach at the other.

The walls are around 5 metres high and the pool is deep, so jumping in from the edge is a popular pastime. Be sure to check the depth before you jump in.

There’s easy access from the small rocky beach from where you can swim through the narrow channel to the lagoon pool.

The water can be very cold, so make sure you get acclimatised before taking the plunge. Read up on personal and environmental safety precautions required for wild swimming in the Lake District.

FACILITIES AT BLACK MOSS POT

One of the best things about Black Moss Pot is the remote untouched location. There are no facilities at the swimming location, nor are there any rubbish bins, so you’ll need to take everything in and out with you.

There are portable public toilets at the start of the hike just after you leave Stonethwaite.

WHEN TO GO TO BLACK MOSS POT

Black Moss Pot is a popular activity in the Lake District and can be surprisingly busy on sunny school holidays, with the natural diving platform drawing crowds looking for a mini adventure in the Lake District. This can be a great time to visit If you’re after more of a social vibe with lots of other people around.

On weekdays during term time, you’re likely to have the entire place to yourself. Since the water is hidden behind the rocky walls and obscured from passing walkers, it has become a favourite spot for skinny-dipping.

The water is always cold, but it steadily gets warmer throughout the summer making sunny days from late July to late September the ideal to visit.

HOW TO GET TO STONETHWAITE

The walk to Black Moss Pot leaves from the Langstrath Country Inn at the southern end of the village of Stonethwaite.

BY CAR TO STONETHWAITE

Stonethwaite (postcode CA12 5XG) is a relatively remote part of the Lake District so the easiest way to get there is by car. It’s 7 miles and a 20-minute drive from the town of Keswick.

There are a small number of parking spaces by a red phone box in the centre of the village. Otherwise, park carefully on the verge of the road as you enter. There is no charge.

BUS 78 TO STONETHWAITE

Bus 78 from Keswick to Seatoller runs hourly (roughly 9 am till 5 pm) from Keswick to the main road just north of Stonethwaite. The route operates all year and takes 25 minutes. The stop for Stonethwaite is called Rosthwaite (Stonethwaite road end).

From the bus stop, it’s a 10-minute walk to the Langstrath Country Inn and the beginning of the walk.

BUS 77 / 77A TO STONETHWAITE

Buse 77 does a scenic loop from Keswick via Borrowdale, Buttermere, and Whinlatter. It’s a beautiful journey past some of the best scenery in the Lake District. The bus makes a scheduled stop at Seatoller from where it’s a 30-minute walk to the Langstrath Country Inn. Over the summer months, there’s an additional service, the 77A.

WHERE TO STAY TO VISIT BLACK MOSS POT

Black Moss Pot is in an area of the Lake District called Borrowdale. Packed with high mountains and deep valleys it is home to some of the best walks in the Lake District.

It’s a great location for your Lake District base with unspoilt scenery and a remote feel.

Alternatively, if you would prefer to stay in a town for convenience and facilities, Keswick is a good choice for visiting Black Moss Pot.

All our recommendations are covered in our guide to the best places to stay in the Lake District.

STONETHWAITE CAMPSITE

To get even closer to Black Moss Pot you could also stay at the Stonethwaite Campsite. This is proper getting-back-to-basics accommodation in an idyllic location on the edge of the river.

There’s a small toilet block, no showers, one single tap with water that needs to be boiled, and endless wonderful views.

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