FOUR Wainwright circular walk: Hallin Fell, Beda Fell, Steel Knotts, Bonscale Pike (plus Wether Hill and Loadpot Hill).

Walk Rating:⭐⭐⭐

Time: 7 - 8 hours 

Parking: by St. Peter's Church, Martindale - Grid Ref NY 436192 (free)

Hallin Fell from Pooley Bridge

The green valley of Martindale, with both its 'new' and 'old' churches, is hidden away to the south of Ullswater. It is surrounded by some beautiful fells that allow for some fine short, medium and long walks, depending on your choice. 

The long route that I have described offers a range of views into Martindale, and down over Ullswater too. It includes a walk up to the ridge described separately on my 'High Street' route, so also includes the 'Wainwrights' of Wether and Loadpot Hills in addition to the four listed specifically in this post.

Strava estimates a walking distance of at least 20km

1. Martindale is reached by the minor road running along the south of the lake from Pooley Bridge, which can be busy with traffic from the many campsites along its shore in the summer. The road zig-zags up, over the hause under Hallin Fell, to the nineteenth century church of St.Peter's, where the walk begins. 

Ullswater from where the road climbs up into Martindale (the final descent from Bonscale Pike is down the steep slope seen behind Howtown)

2. With your back to the car park area next to St.Peter's Church, cross the road and climb up the slope in front of you to the top of Hallin Fell. There's a few paths to choose through the bracken. To vary the ascent and descent, take one of the narrower paths up the eastern flank on the way up. 

Looking down to St.Peter's Church

3. For such a short climb, the views from the well-constructed summit cairn are excellent. Hallin Fell is definitely a good walk for a small child to feel that they have scaled a large peak! 

On the top of Hallin Fell

4. Descend down the wide grassy path that takes the most direct route back to the Church.

The wide grassy path back down the fell

5. From the Church, walk along the tarmac road to the triangular junction below and turn right, crossing the bridge over the Howegrain Beck, then walking up the road as if heading to Sandwick. Take a track heading up on your left, that takes you south, above a stone wall. The ridge of Beda Fell is to your right, the valley bottom to your left. Continue until you are above Winter Crag Farm.

Hallin Fell from Winter Crag Farm

6. Now take the path that goes up the slope to your right. When you reach the ridge, there's even a seat amongst the bracken for those who want to pause and take in the view! Turn left and ascend, along the ridge.

Climbing the ridge towards Winter Crag

7. The path continues up the ridge, over Winter Crag.

Looking along Martindale with Winter Crag above

8. Continue on to the small cairn marking the summit of Beda Fell.

Steel Knotts and Bonscale Pike from Beda Fell

9. Now return the same way that you came up, back to Winter Crag Farm.

Heading back down the ridge of Beda Fell

10. Head down to the road and walk left, back over the beck, where you will reach the enclosure wall of the 'Old Church' of Martindale (see 'worth knowing' below if you want to go in and explore the church and graveyard).

The 'Old Church' of St. Martin's

11. You should be able to spot a path slanting up the flank of Steel Knotts, the fell behind the church, from left to right. 

The path is clearest when the bracken hasn't yet grown

12. Find the start of the path to the left of the church and walk up the side of the fell.

Walking across the flank of Steel Knotts.

13. The path reaches a stone wall coming down from your left. Walk up the side of the wall a short way to reach the top of the ridge. You can see the rocky summit of Steel Knotts up to your left.

The summit of Steel Knotts rises to the left

14. Climb up to the top of Steel Knotts. Wainwright gives the rocky tor at its summit the name of 'Pikeawassa'. There are good views down into Martindale.

At the top of Steel Knotts

15. Head back down from the summit to the ridge you climbed up to from Martindale but now continue south along a path heading to the top of Fusedale. This is the valley going down to Ullswater between Steel Knotts and the high ridge of Loadpot Hill above you. 

Looking along Fusedale to Ullswater

16. Look for a ruined building on the other side of the beck that heads down into Fusedale. From here, look for one of two possible paths heading up to the grassy slopes to the ridge above. The easiest path to follow slants up to the right to a slight col in the ridge where the Mere Beck descends into Martindale. 

Look for this ruined building

17. When you reach the col, go left to head north along the top of the wide grassy ridge.
Heading along the ridge towards Loadpot Hill

18. You will go over Wether Hill (2210') - although there may be no cairn to mark this slight rise on the ridge - then continue north until you reach the triangulation column at the top of Loadpot Hill (2201').

Meeting the locals on Loadpot Hill

19. From the trig point, walk on northwards towards the spur looking out over Ullswater. This is Bonscale Pike. After the rather dull ridge, the excellent views out over Ullswater are welcome. There's a small summit cairn but, more impressively, two well built towers on the slope below it, overlooking the lake.

Looking down from Bonscale Pike

20. Descending carefully down the steep slopes past the towers, a path winds back around to the left, then makes its way down to Howtown. The last part of the descent is over very steep turf (see photo of slopes at start of route above).

Head down the slope past the towers then turn back left

21. Once off the steep hillside, the path crosses the beck on a bridge of stone slabs, then heads up and right, around the northern ridge of Steel Knotts, to eventually bring you out at the rear of the car park area next to St.Peter's church.

Cross the bridge then head around the ridge 

Worth knowing: The 'Old Church' of St.Martin's dates from the end of the sixteenth century, although it has been restored over the centuries. It replaced a chapel that was first erected here in the thirteenth century. An ancient yew tree, believed to be over a thousand years old, grows behind the church. 

The rear of the church from under the ancient yew tree

Inside the church, look out for a font that is thought to have been carved out of Roman masonry. The stone was reputedly taken from a shrine that once stood alongside the Roman 'High Street' road on the fells above. The bell hanging on the top of the roof is inscribed with undecipherable Lombardic script.

The old font in St.Martin's Church

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