Mountain Journeys

5 best walks from Ambleside – Number 2: Wansfell Pike 482m


Summit of Wansfell Pike - 5 best walks from Ambleside

5 best walks from Ambleside – Number 2: Wansfell Pike 482m

Ambleside is the perfect base for a walking or activity holiday. There is so much choice it can be difficult to decide which walks to try. This is the second in the series ‘5 of the best walks from Ambleside’ which is aimed at showcasing some of the finest walking routes that start from the town. These are some of our favourite walks and we know all the routes very well. Having lived in Ambleside for 17 years and spent thousands of days on the Lakeland mountains, we have got to know the Lake District rather well.

Wansfell Pike towers over Ambleside, forming what appears to be a formidable barrier to the east. Indeed, when ascending from Stockghyll Lane the climb can feel testing on the legs, but this is a fairly short lived ascent and on a good path.

For a small mountain, Wansfell Pike offers a good choice of walking routes and there is something to suit most tastes and aspirations, as long as steep starts are okay. Below I’m outlining my favourite route and will mention a variation to this too.

Wansfell Pike – about 10km and on excellent paths and bridleways. Depending on exact route choice, there may be a section of country lane through Troutbeck.

Behind The Salutation Hotel lies the narrow Stockghyll lane, take this until a sign for Stockghyll Falls is reach and follow the path through woodland. The path now ascends gently and the river flows to the left, soon a series of waterfalls are reached. The big waterfall is quite a spectacle after heavy rain and if short on time just walking this far is worth the effort.

Take the path off to the right, this leads back onto the lane and follow this uphill to reach a walkers sign for Wansfell Pike. The path starts at an amenable gradient but soon steepens. Thankfully the views back over Ambleside more than compensate.

This path is very clear and leads directly to the summit, with no deviate needed. As the inclusion of the word ‘Pike’ suggests, this is a rocky summit, but no scrambling is required. Stand proud atop the rocks and lord over Ambleside and Windermere, for the views are truly sublime.

For a slightly shorter and quieter route down it is possible to follow the broad, grassy ridge that leads south west to Skelghyll Woods. The path is not always clear, so only choose this route if confident to navigate off-path. The bracken can also be a problem during the summer months.

From the rocky summit cross through the fence via a gate and descend to the east towards Troutbeck. This path is clear and easy to follow. After crossing through another gate in a dry stone wall it is possible and recommended to turn right to follow a good path alongside the wall. This allows us to fully appreciate the views over Windermere. After crossing over another wall via a styal Hundreds Lane is reached, go left on this for a gentle descent to Robin Lane. Signposts from here show the way back to Ambleside and the route gives continuously interesting and panoramic views over Windermere.

If wanting some mid-walk refreshment, it will be necessary to add a little diversion. Instead of turning right at the dry stone wall, stay on the main footpath to reach another dry stone wall, go through the gate and onto a bridleway. This is Nanny Lane and leads downhill into the hamlet of Troutbeck. Once on tarmac, turn left if wanting The Mortal Man pub or turn right if wanting the café.

The way back from Troutbeck: from the café where Annie’s clock is, take the steep bridleway known as Robin Lane. This climbs for about 15 minutes before becoming more undulating. This leads back to Ambleside and is very easy to follow.

A bite to eat in Ambleside:

Apple Pie



Liquid refreshments:

The Mortal Man

The Golden Rule


Where to get hold of a map and guidebooks:

Freds Bookshop


Where to stay:

2 Cambridge Villas


Thanks for reading. To check out all the guided activities we offer here in the Lake District check out our Activities Page here



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Looking towards the Langdale Pikes on the return walk - 5 best walks from Ambleside


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Springtime in Ambleside - 5 best walks from Ambleside



Windermere from Wansfell Pike - 5 best walks from Ambleside



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