Rising above the honeypot town of Ambleside is a delightful ridgeline boasting panoramic views to the higher Eastern Fells and down onto the lengthy, sparkling ribbon of Windermere. Hikes to Wansfell’s summit take you to the high point of this ridge, a superb amble for any time of day and for all seasons.
Technically the termination of Cauldale Moor’s south westerly arm, the Wansfell ridge separates Ambleside from Troutbeck. Walking routes to Wansfell can be started from any number of places. The ascent can be short, making use of the Kirkstone Pass or the A592. Alternatively, starting from the shores of Windermere or the nearby hustle and bustle of Ambleside’s cafes, promises a classic day on the fells. The choice is yours.
On approaches from Ambleside, look out for Stockghyll Force, a tumbling woodland waterfall and Skelghyll Wood, which boasts vibrant bluebells in spring. The town is the obvious base but Troutbeck also has plenty of accommodation options.
A rocky bluff towards the south western end of the ridge is often mistaken for the true summit. This is Wansfell Pike; it is not the highest point. Nor is it the Wainwright summit; this is a grassy knoll known as Baystones and is located at the northern end of the ridge, opposite the hump of Dod Hill.
Once you’ve summitted and are munching on some carbs, you can take time to gaze straight down the length of Windermere to the pastoral lands beyond. Better still is the view to the west, where the Coniston group, Bowfell, the Scafells and the Langdales form a classic, undulating skyline. Red Screes’ bulk looks every bit a mountain across the Kirkstone Pass.
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