Black Moss Pot is a narrow channel of dark turquoise water wedged between two rocky walls. Deep in the Langstrath Valley, it’s the perfect spot for a refreshing dose of wild swimming.

There are many great swimming spots 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 swim.

Wedged between two craggy ledges, with a waterfall at one end and a rocky beach at the other, Black Moss Pot is one of the best experiences in the Lake District. Paddle in shallow water or put some lengths behind you swimming between the high canyon walls to appreciate this beautiful, secluded location.

The real advantage Black Moss has over other locations in the area is the natural diving ledges built into the pools. Plunge from ledges into the shimmering (and refreshing) water below.

The pool is a beautiful 45-minute walk through some of the best Lake District scenery and it starts and ends in the quaint village of Stonethwaite, where the traditional local pub has been invigorating walkers for centuries.

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BLACK MOSS POT WALK

Black Moss Pot is just over 2 miles south from the village of Stonethwaite, and the walk takes about 45 minutes. The route leaves from the Langstrath Country Inn and follows a rocky track that climbs gradually as it heads up the Langstrath Valley. 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.

There are two spots worth stopping at, around halfway along the walk. Galleny Force Waterfall is a pretty tumble of water crashing through a rocky ravine. Just a little further upstream, take a pit stop at the series of small pools with a swing rope.

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.

The entire Black Moss Pot walk is shown on the map at the bottom of this guide. It’s easiest to return the same way you came, ending back at the Langstrath Country Inn. The pub has a lovely beer garden under a tree and it would be madness not to stop for a drink.

The entire walk is an easy 4.2 miles (6.75 kilometres). Allow 1 hour 30 minutes in total.

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BLACK MOSS POT SWIMMING

After building up a bit of sweat on the walk, Black Moss Pot looks very enticing. Wedged between two craggy ledges, the channel of turquoise water is about 2 to 3 metres wide and 50 metres long. There is a small waterfall at one end and a shallow stony beach at the other.

The water is sandwiched between 5-metre-high walls making the pools so hidden that walkers trundle past without even knowing they are here.

There’s easy access at the rocky beach for some light paddling. To put in some lengths, head into the narrow 50-metre-long canyon. The walls quickly close in, shutting off the outside world as the mountains periodically flicker in the gaps above.

If you want to leap from the canyon edges, it’s about a 5 to 6 metre drop, but make sure you check depth and obstacles beforehand.

The ledges above Black Moss Pot are perfect for a picnic lunch and some scenic sunbaking.

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.

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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. Just don’t scare the sheep.

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.

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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.

If you need a hire car for your Lake District trip, we recommend using rentalcars.com who compare prices across all major car rental companies.

BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT TO STONETHWAITE

Bus 78 runs hourly (roughly 9am till 5pm) from Keswick to the main road just north of Stonethwaite. The route operates all year and takes 25 minutes. Get off at the stop 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.

From roughly April to October Buses 77 & 77A do scenic loops 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. But ask nicely and the driver will make an unscheduled stop at “Rosthwaite (Stonethwaite road end)” as the bus passes.

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BLACK MOSS POT WALK MAP

The Black Moss Pott walk, the parking spots and the swimming locations are marked on the below map. To save it, click on the star the right of the title – this will download the map to your Google Maps account.

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. In our guide explaining the different regions of the area, we have a few recommendations for where to stay in Borrowdale.

Alternatively, if you would prefer to stay in a town for convenience and facilities, we have some recommendations in Keswick in the same guide.

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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PLANNING YOUR LAKE DISTRICT TRIP

We’ve been to the Lake District many times and never run out of fantastic things to do. From adventurous scrambles to relaxing wild swimming, there are plenty of great experiences to enjoy.

WHERE TO STAY

The best places to stay in the Lake District

LAKE DISTRICT WALKS

Explore the remote and rugged Langdale Pikes

Conquer knife-edge ridges on this walk up Blencathra

Walk Scafell Pike via the Corridor Route

OTHER THINGS TO DO

Most beautiful Lake District views and photography spots

Our favourite things to do in the Lake District

Best remote spots for wild swimming in the Lake District


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