Verdant woodlands, gushing ghylls, cascading waterfalls and a scene of stupendous awe and beauty cannot fail to impinge on the senses.
Buttermere may be a corruption of ‘Boethar's lake' (named after a Norse settler) or it might mean ‘lake where butter was made'. The 4.5 mile/7 km circuit of the lake is an easy and attractive walk, with a dash of excitement when the path briefly enters a rock-hewn tunnel. To the north is Crummock Water (‘crooked lake') and beyond is Loweswater, all owned by The National Trust. The lakes are noted for their populations of Arctic Char - a relic fish from the last Ice Age - once caught and potted as a local delicacy. Since 2007 Loweswater has been the subject of a study by Lancaster University to improve the water quality by working in association with local landowners and the wider community. All the lakes are protected for their wildlife interest.
Scale Force, on the western side of Crummock Water, is the highest waterfall in the Lake District at 200 ft (61 m) and easily reached by footpath from Buttermere village. Opposite Buttermere, the silver thread of Sour Milk Gill cascades down from Bleaberry Tarn on the flanks of Red Pike. On the highest point of Newlands Pass, a parking layby provides a good view of Moss Force - its waters plunging several metres down a steep fellside.
Many of the ancient woodlands around Buttermere, Crummock Water and Loweswater were formerly managed for their coppice timber, and most are now protected by The National Trust. Burtness Wood, on the steep eastern slopes of Red Pike has several paths running through the wood and a permissive footpath along the shore of Buttermere. Long How, between Buttermere and Crummock Water, is a small wooded knoll with its own car park access. From the car park (pay & display) at Lanthwaite Wood, several paths lead to Crummock Water, where it is possible to walk around the western shore to Buttermere. Finally, Holme Wood, on the shores of Loweswater, is an extensive tract of ancient woodland accessed by bridleways and forest tracks.