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Fairfield from Gavel Pike, with Hart Crag left

5 Fantastic Fell Walks from Ambleside

The quaint town of Ambleside within the Lake District National Park is, amongst many things, a great base for walkers. If you're travelling to Ambleside and want to explore the Lake District Fells, here are 5 of the best routes to include in your adventures.

1. Loughrigg Fell (335m/1099ft)

Loughrigg Fell, formed at the confluence of the Rothay and Brathay rivers, offers a diverse landscape. Loughrigg Terrace offers picturesque strolls, while higher sections feature wilder terrain with pools and panoramic vistas. Loughrigg Cavern, a remarkable quarrying feat, can be explored near Rydal Water. A web of paths disperses visitors from Ambleside, with twelve highlighted routes and a low-level tour for cloudy days.

Featured in: Walking the Lake District Fells: Langdale

2. Wansfell (489m/1604ft)

Wansfell, nestled in the heart of the Lakeland fells, hosts popular paths while maintaining quiet, unfrequented pastures. It lies between Stock Ghyll and Trout Beck valleys, isolated by the Kirkstone Road. To the south, it slopes down to Windermere's shores with grand buildings, including the Lake District Visitor Centre at Brockhole. Ambleside sits at its western base, a historic starting point for walkers. Troutbeck, on the eastern slope, is a charming Cumbrian village with traditional yeoman's steadings. Routes from Ambleside, Skelghyll Wood, and Troutbeck offer accessibility, but the wildest and highest track descends from the Kirkstone Road.

Featured in: Walking the Lake District Fells: Mardale and the Far East

Short Walks in the Lake District: Windermere Ambleside and Grasmere - Front Cover

Short Walks in the Lake District: Windermere Ambleside and Grasmere


Our authors have chosen 15 of the best short walks around Windermere, Ambleside and Grasmere. Each walk comes with easy-to-read Ordnance Survey maps, clear route description and lots of images, plus information on local beauty spots and tasty refreshment stops. No challenging terrain or complicated navigation means walks can be enjoyed by everyone.

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Fairfield from Gavel Pike, with Hart Crag left

3. Fairfield (873m/2864ft)

Fairfield, located in the southern part of the Near Eastern Fells and separated from Helvellyn by Grisedale, is a magnificent mountain. While the Fairfield Horseshoe on its south side is popular, the fell's most stunning qualities lie on its northern slopes. High vantage points like St Sunday Crag and Deepdale offer impressive views of crags and scree-filled dale heads in Link and Cawk Coves. Much of the fell consists of relatively featureless slopes, making it a valued viewpoint for those on the Horseshoe route, especially for the breathtaking northward view towards Helvellyn from the headwall of Grisedale.

There are five natural lines of ascent, with the pathless route from Deepdale into Link Cove leading to the Step being the best but least travelled. Other routes include ridges from the Rothay valley connecting to Great Rigg and Hart Crag, a scree-covered west shoulder from Grisedale Hause, and a fine ridge from St Sunday Crag over Cofa Pike. In recent years, three paths have also developed, with two leading to Deepdale Hause and one, though challenging, going directly to Cofa Pike from Grisedale Tarn.

Featured in: Walking the Lake District Fells: Patterdale

4. Nab Scar (450m/1476ft)

Nab Scar is not a fell by any proper measure, marking the beginning or end of the Fairfield Horseshoe ridge walk. When viewed from across Rydal Water however, it appears as a shapely minor summit. The term 'Nab' refers to the entire attractive south-facing hillside, with Nab Scar forming its prominent edge.

Due to heavy use over the years, the steep ascent from Rydal Mount suffered wear and tear, but extensive restoration and reinforcement efforts have rejuvenated the popular Nab Scar path, ensuring its preservation. Apart from the well-travelled ascent path, there's also a scenic circular route that showcases Nab Scar's unique qualities as a viewpoint, not only from its summit but also from the lower bridleway (known as the Coffin Route).

Featured in: Walking the Lake District Fells: Patterdale

5. Red Screes (777m/2549ft)

Ambleside is often known for its lively lakeside setting and, unfortunately, its traffic. However, to a fellwalker, the town's real significance lies in its proximity to the imposing Red Screes. This mountain stands out from a distance, offering the best view of the High Street range and a splendid vista towards Helvellyn when approached from Kirkstone Pass.

Regardless of your route, you'll notice the extensive drystone walls that crisscross the fell's landscape, making it one of the most partitioned fells. While the popular scramble from the Kirkstone Inn is eroded, there are better options: the climb from Ambleside via Scandale or Stock Ghyll, or, the best choice, ascending the south ridge over Snarker Pike. The blunt Middle Dodd ridge offers an appealing contrast to the long south ridge, making it ideal for those who prefer ascending to descending and fancy a fantastic traverse from Hartsop to Ambleside.

Featured in: Walking the Lake District Fells: Patterdale

Walking the Lake District Fells - Patterdale  - Front Cover

Walking the Lake District Fells - Patterdale

Helvellyn, Fairfield and the East


Mark Richards' Walking the Lake District Fells series is a unique collection of eight guidebooks with all the routes to the summits of 230 Lakeland fells. This guide explores 35 summits from the Patterdale area. Ideal for keen hikers, it offers route descriptions, maps and hand-drawn topos to customise adventures.

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For more fellwalking options, take a look at Mark Richards' Walking the Lake District Fells range, a series of eight guidebooks, one for each of the main valley bases, covering ALL the routes up ALL the fells in each area.

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