It’s no secret that the Lake District is one of the most beautiful places in England with some epic walks to boot. Walker and cyclist Jamie Knop has listed eight of the most epic Lake District walks you need to tick off your bucket list.
The National Park has a diverse landscape that attracts tourists all year round and ranges from picturesque lakes to craggy fells. One of the best ways to explore the Lake District is by foot, and there are hundreds of walks to choose from. These vary in terms of difficulty and can suit people of all ages and abilities. Here's eight of my favourites.
At 3,209ft, the famous Scafell Pike is no easy feat. However, the mountain provides breath-taking views of the valley of Wasdale, which is not to be missed. Although Scafell Pike is not a particularly difficult route, it is fairly long, and you can expect to be walking for 5 hours or so. The best time to visit Scafell Pike is at the end of September when the sky is clear and it’s not too humid.
Helvellyn is the Lake District’s second highest peak, reaching an impressive 3117ft. Walkers come to Helvellyn to see its twin ridges, Striding Edge and Swirral Edge, which aren’t for those with a fear of heights! Don’t let that put you off though, it’s climbed by thousands of people each year. You can either start your route in Glenridding or Patterdale, depending on which trail you want to take. It’s recommended that you allow five to six hours for this walk.
Old Man of Coniston is not much smaller than Helvellyn, peaking at 2,634ft, and was the inspiration for Kanchenjunga, the mountain featured in Swallowdale, one of the books in the Swallows and Amazons series. Start your route on the east side of the mountain and make your way up, passing through the old copper mines, slate quarries and flocks of sheep. If you have time, be sure to explore the back of the mountain – you might just be able to make out the Isle of Man on a clear day!
For even more stunning scenery, head to Gummer’s How in the south of Windermere. Start in the Gummer’s How Forestry Commission car park, before reaching a cluster of pine trees. Climb up the steps leading to the summit, which overlooks Dollywagon Pike, Fairfield, Scandale Pass and other noteworthy points in Lakeland Fells. As it’s a fairly short walk, Gummer’s How is ideal for a family day out and a picnic.
The Coledale Horseshoe is one of the most challenging walks in the Lake District. It spans across 9.3 miles and takes around 5 hours to complete, taking you through Grisedale Pike, Hopegill Head, Crag Hill, Sail and Outerside. If your up for an adventure you can extend your walk to other parts of the Wainwright Fells, such as Grasmoor, Wandope, Scar Crags and Causey Pike. You can plan your route and which fells you want to include over an OS map by using the OS Maps route planner which you can print off and take with you or use the export to create a file for use in your GPS. The Coledale Horseshoe is reasonably even, but there are some rocky steps which require a bit of effort.
If you want somewhere off the beaten track, head to Greendale and Middle Fell in Western Fells. The scenery is spectacular and you’ll instantly feel like you’re in a different world. One route I recommend in this area is through Greendale, Wasdale, Greendale Gill, Greendale Tarn and Middle Fell. Greendale and Middle Fell are quite steep so remember so make sure you have your hiking boots on!
If you’re in Keswick, it’s worth taking a walk up the nearby Latrigg. This is one of the most popular routes in the Lake District and covers around 5 miles of hilly countryside. Begin your walk in Keswick, head towards Spooney Lane, and cross the A66 to a wooded area. Once you’ve reached the woods, make your way through Whinney Brow and Brunholme Wood, until you reach the bottom of Latrigg. Ascend the hill and take a breather at the top to admire the views of Derwent Water and the Vale of Keswick.
Named as Britain’s favourite view back in 2007, I had to include Wasdale Head! Not only does the area attract many avid hikers, but it has also inspired many painters and poets. Wastwater is England’s deepest lake and is a moderate stroll, which is suitable for casual walkers. As it is a fairly rocky route, be extra careful in wet or icy conditions.
So there we have it, the most epic walks in the Lake District! Feel free to leave a comment below if you want to recommend other epic walks people should try.
By Jamie Knop
Jamie Knop is
a big out doors enthusiast working with Hikideas. You’ll usually find him hiking or
biking somewhere high up in North Wales or the Lake District with his camera.
You can find out more about Jamie’s adventures and photography
on his website or on his Instagram page.