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Merlewood

Cumbria, England

Wansfell Pike and Troutbeck walking and hiking route

10km/6.25mi
Total distance
90m
Total ascent

Start Point - Small informal parking area at the foot of the little road leading from A592 into Troutbeck village, grid reference 413028. Turn left from A592 just before the church. There is also roadside parking to the north of the church and a few spaces at the side of the village street.

Wansfell is the mountain standing boldly above Ambleside village. Although not one of Lakeland's highest peaks its commanding position gives distinction and, like so many peaks of intermediate height, it is a wonderful viewpoint. The route set out below goes over 'Wansfell Pike', a rocky eminence which is the most prominent feature but is actually a few metres lower than 'Wansfell', a little further along the ridge to the north east.

The approach from the Troutbeck side is more gentle than the rather abrupt, more popular, Ambleside route and has the further advanatage of the sudden revelation of the extensive views when the peak is reached. Although there are no particular difficulties, as with all mountain ascents, proper care is needed with regard to fitness, clothing, footwear and weather.

Troutbeck is a linear village, a loose grouping of hamlets strung along the hillside at the level where springs emerge from the ground. The buildings bear testimony to the great re-building area of the Lakeland farming communities at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th centuries, when high prices for wool brought prosperity. Many are fine examples; noteworthy is the National Trust property 'Town End' at the southern end of the village.

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Walk Instructions

Start by walking up the steep little road towards the main part of the village

1) At the road junction by the post office turn right to follow the village street, passing by old buildings and three of the Troutbeck 'wells' (St John's, St James' and St Margaret's). The views across the valley are to the ridge which includes (from the left) Froswick, III Bell and Yoke.

2) Approximately 90m after St Margaret's Well turn left at a signposted track 'Nanny Lane, public footpath, Wansfell Pike and Ambleside'. Pass through a little gate; the stony lane rises steadily between walls, with ever expanding views. Go through a wooden gate across the track and continue as far as a signposted ('footpath to Ambleside via Wansfell Pike') gate on the left.

3) Turn left through the gate to follow a footpath heading for the peak across a rather desolate upland area. Go through a waymarked kissing gate at a wall; the Windermere area is now in view. Cross a stream on a wooden bridge; there are 'engineered' sections as the path begins to rise more steeply, but without difficulty.

4) Reach the summit and admire the tremendous views of many of the Lake District's highest peaks including Scafell, Scafell Pike, Crinkle Crags, Coniston Old Man, the Langdale Pikes and Great Gable. Go through a metal gate and bear left. The descent starts with a slightly awkward section; there are no further problems but the route from the peak to the junction with a main thoroughfare near Jenkins Crag is a comparatively minor path needing care in navigation.

The general direction is south west. At a junction marked by a cairn go straight ahead along a narrow but clear path with a wall on the left. Go over a ladder stile on the left to continue along a grass path, descending steadily. Join a more major path (waymark on post to left), bearing right; Skelghyll Wood is in view ahead.

Pass a mini quarry on the right, following the waymark to bear left around a small rocky knoll, soon passing another waymark.

Go through a gap in a wall; at the next waymark turn right to skirt around a boggy area, pass the corner of a wall and head for another waymark on a post, bearing left.

Pass a peculiar stone structure, continuing to the wall along the top edge of Skelghyll Wood.

5) Go over a ladder stile and follow the little path descending through the wood. By a waymark on a post join another track. Turn left; keep right at a fork in a few metres. A steeper section of the path is rather vague on the ground but the major Ambleside to Troutbeck track is soon reached, at a 'Kelsick Scar' National Trust.

6) Turn left, passing the start of the signposted short diversion to Jenkins Crag, a wonderful viewpoint. The stony track rises steadily before leaving the woodland, passing a seat and a gate before reaching High Skelghyll Farm. Follow the bridleway through the farm. Descend the farm access roadway to a signpost and a bridge over Hol Beck.

7) Immediately after the bridge turn left through a gate 'Public Bridleway, Troutbeck'. There is another rise; pass a ruined building, cross two streams and go through two kissing gates before joining an unsurfaced lane (Robin Lane).

8) Bear right to stay with this lane, passing a stone monument on a hillside to the left before commencing the long steady descent towards Troutbeck. At a junction with seat go straight ahead. Soon after reaching the edge of the village, join the village street by the side of the village hall/post office.

9) Turn left, then immediately right at the junction, to return to the car parking area.

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Disclaimer: This route was correct at time of writing. However, alterations can happen if development or boundary changes occur, and there is no guarantee of permanent access. These walks have been published for use by site visitors on the understanding that neither HPB Management Limited nor any other person connected with Holiday Property Bond is responsible for the safety or wellbeing of those following the routes as described. It is walkers' own responsibility to be adequately prepared and equipped for the ‎level of walk and the weather conditions and to assess the safety and accessibility of the walk.

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