The Fairfield horseshoe includes seven other Lake District fells. Low Pike, High Pike, Dove Crag and Hart Crag form the outward route with the return over Great Rigg, Heron Pike and Nab Scar back to Ambleside via Rydal. This is a high level route so choose a good day to make the most of the views.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D/A) The Fairfield horseshoe is a popular route starting and finishing in Ambleside (Grid ref. NY 375045). From the centre of Ambleside take the Kirkstone Road for a short way turning down the first lane on the left. This leads to Low Sweden Bridge from where the views of the Fells begin to improve. The onward path to Low Pike is well-trodden and you soon find yourself alongside the ridge wall. This leads onwards over High Pike and onto Dove Crag. As you climb, the views on both sides are excellent and improve with each step.
(1) Although you are now in the high fells, progress is easy. Although you are climbing most of the time there is nothing too strenuous and you feel as though you are covering a lot of ground. By the time you reach Dove Crag, you have earned a rest, and this is an excellent place to see the majority of the Fairfield horseshoe. Suitably refreshed head on to Hart Crag where the view north opens out with St Sunday Crag dominating the view. The ascent is nearly over and after dropping off the northern side of Hart Crag to Link Hause a steep rocky upward pull brings you onto Fairfield.
(2) As the name suggests, this mountain is a grassy plateau. However on its north eastern flanks there are some superb crags and rather than follow the main path it is better to keep to your right following the narrow trod which skirts around the top of the cliffs. Besides an excellent view into Deepdale, you are able to appreciate the full extent of Fairfield's rocky aspect. Suitably impressed, you should arrive at the summit cairn from where the far ranging views are excellent. However because of the domed nature of the plateau it is better to explore a little with a short walk north to inspect Cofa Pike and Grisedale Hause particularly rewarding.
(3) Having reached the highest point of the walk it is downhill almost all the way back to Grasmere. In poor visibility do be careful to take the correct path off Fairfield as it can be a confusing place in low cloud. Keeping on the main path to Great Rigg you will find it easy to keep a good pace with an excellent Lakeland panorama ahead. Reaching the cairn on Great Rigg descend taking the main path to Heron Pike.
(4) From this last major 'top' of the route continue south to Nab Scar from where there is a steep descent into Rydal. Keep to the north side of Rydal Hall and follow the drive through pleasant parkland to meet the main road just outside Ambleside. Turn left along the main road and you will be back at the start(D/A).
D/A : km 0 - alt. km 0
1 : km 6.24 - alt. km 6.24 - Dove Crag
2 : km 7.73 - alt. km 7.73 - Fairfield
3 : km 8.42 - alt. km 8.42 - Highest point of the walk
4 : km 11.95 - alt. km 11.95 - Heron Pike
D/A : km 16.53 - alt. km 16.53
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
A few kilometres from Ambleside, a walk to the top of Loughrigg Fell overlooking the lakes of the National Park Lake District.
This variation of the Fairfield Horseshoe starts from High Close on the western edge of Loughrigg Fell. The route follows a clockwise direction offering a different perspective to the normal horseshoe route.
In contrast to the great lakes of the Lake District, here are three small lakes that lay south of Elterwater village.
Starting from Grasmere this Lake District walk includes a circuit of Rydal water and Grasmere. The route includes some wonderful views especially from Loughrigg Terrace.
This is a low level lakeland walk suitable for a short day. It takes in Elter Water, Skelwith Force and Colwith Force waterfalls before heading through farmland to the impressive Cathedral Quarry. The return leg passes a good pub which serves food and then through the working slate quarry above Chapel Stile.
A circular walk from Chapel Stile along the Great Langdale valley to the New Dungeon Gill Hotel. Then an ascent along the pleasant Stickle Gill to Stickle tarn followed by the ascent to Blea Rigg and a return to Chapel Stile along the ridge.
A gentle walk in a beautiful setting, enjoyable in any weather. The walk is accessible to wheelchairs and pushchairs and is not too long for little legs.
A pleasant hike, to the west of Ambleside, across hills overlooking Windermere and Coniston Lakes.
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