The walk up Wansfell Pike is simply lovely and there's so much to cram in before you even start that you may even forget your original plan! Part of Caudale Moor, it can be found about 1.5 miles from the popular Lake District town of Ambleside.
You'll kick off in Troutbeck near Windermere (not to be confused with the Troutbeck near Ullswater!) where you’ll find a couple of laybys and some free parking along the lanes. Please park nicely and don’t block farm gates and other access or passing points!
If you're a member of the National Trust, then you might want to first enjoy a visit to Townend, a fascinating 17th century farmhouse that's full of quirky objects and fascinating stories. If you're not a National Trust member, you can still visit the house for a small fee (please bring cash) or else just wander through the gardens and admire the magnificent building from the outside.
You may also want to keep your eyes peeled for St John’s Well tucked into the wall along the roadside. A spring still trickles out there and, as St John is the patron saint of the sick, nurses, firefighters, booksellers and alcoholics, a quick swig might give you all sorts of benefits!
So, if you've not been fully distracted so far, we'll continue to the easy route up Wansfell! Aim for Robin Lane to start with - you'll see from your OS Map that there are a couple of lanes running to join it, depending on where you've found a parking space. I would recommend starting (and finishing!) at The Old Post Office Tearoom where you’ll find lots of lovely goodies to keep you going on the hike and/or a nice pot of tea and a cake for when you’re done!
The first part of the walk follows the old Roman road, which once ran from Penrith in the northeast of the county all the way to Ravenglass (pictured), the only coastal village in the Lake District. If this walk up Wansfell Pike sparks a hiking bug, then the Penrith to Ravenglass route is a wonderful longer distance hike to tackle another day.
Where the track forks, peel off right to follow Hundreds Road. Stay on this until it peters out into a smaller path by the waterfall and then keep on going. It loops across a field and through a kissing gate for the main hike up to the summit. It’s a bit rocky around the top, but that means there’ll be somewhere to sit down and have a bit of a rest and a snack while you enjoy the view!
For a bit of variety on the way back down, retrace your steps for the first part then, after you’ve crossed the wall, keep going straight on to pick up Nanny Lane back down into Troutbeck. Turn right when you reach the village to get back to all the lovely cakes at the tea shop.
Please be aware: although we’re describing these routes as ‘easy’, you’ll still need to be properly prepared for the high fells: Wansfell is far from the highest of fells but it’s pretty exposed up on the summit. Proper boots, warm & waterproof clothing, food, torch (just in case) and a map and compass (or other properly reliable navigation aid) are a must.