ONE Wainwright walk: Wansfell
Time: 2 - 3 hours
Parking: in Ambleside town centre car parks. Even better, use public transport.
|Wansfell from the Kirkstone Pass|
Wansfell stands above Ambleside inviting visitors to the town to climb up to its summit. Much of the way has been laid with stones as steps, so the path is clear and trouble-free, although a longer climb up than it can appear from below!
The views are best from Wansfell Pike, the knoll at the top of the path up from Ambleside. However, for those determined to reach the highest point, a walk along the muddy ridge and back is required to reach the true summit. On the way down, a visit to the Stockghyll Force waterfalls also adds interest.
1. Start the walk on Stockghyll Lane, the side road that heads behind the Doi Intanon, Thai Restaurant. Follow the road up the hill, alongside the ghyll coming down from the waterfalls. After the wooded valley where the falls can be visited, the road continues upwards, over a cattle grid. Soon after, the path "to Troutbeck via Wansfell Pike" is signposted to the right, up some steps and over a stile. Follow the path up across the field to a gate and start the long climb up the stone pitched path.
|The stone path on the way up from Ambleside|
2. As you climb, take in the views back down to Ambleside and towards the Kirkstone Pass to your left. Cross a stream by a small footbridge and keep climbing upwards.
|Looking left through the trees towards Kirkstone|
3. Eventually the path reaches the peak above and you can walk through a gate to the summit knoll. There's a fine view southwards to Windermere and northwards to Red Screes and the Kirkstone Pass.
|The views from Wansfell Pike|
4. To reach the highest point of Wansfell, another half-an-hour's walk is required, starting out along the wall that runs along the ridge of the fell.
|Walk along the wall and then up the muddy path to the highest point|
5. There's a small cairn marking the highest point. Once you've taken in the views, there's really no obvious alternative but to walk the half hour back to Wansfell Pike, and then back down the path to Ambleside.
|The summit cairn of Wansfell|
7. When you're back down on the road above Ambleside, don't forget to head right into the woods to look at the cascades of Stockghyll Force.
Worth knowing: If you would like to include Wansfell on a longer circular walk, it's worth investigating an unofficial route called "The Windermere Way". Starting at Windermere station, this would take in the view from Orrest Head, pass above the Lakeland Horticultural Society's Holehird Gardens, then climb up to Wansfell Pike from Troutbeck. A return by bus from Ambleside would complete the circuit.