Walks in The Lake District
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Circular around Wansfell via Jenkin's Crag from Ambleside


A circular walk from Ambleside in the Lake District. The walk heads out of Ambleside through Skelgyhll Wood to the viewpoint at Jenkin's Crag. The walk then heads on up Hundreds Lane and on to climb Wansfell. From here to the west can be seen the Langdales (Bow Fell, Crinkle Crags and the Pike of Blisco), to the North there is the Kirkstone Pass and Fairfield Horseshoe, to the East is High Street and Windermere to the South. The walk then drops back down into Ambleside.


Parking: Long stay car park on A591 entering Ambleside from Windermere, just past Hayes garden centre (grid reference NY 376 038).
Directions: Nearest post code for Sat Nav: LA22 0DN - get directions here
Walk distance: 5.25 miles (8.4 Km)
Estimated walk time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Height climbed: 490 metres
Grade: 2-C: A medium length walk that has rugged terrain and some steep climbs
Peaks / summits: Wansfell
Wainwrights: None
Map: Ordnance Survey - Explorer OL7 (The English Lakes - South-eastern Area)
Buy this map from Ordnance Survey
Walk features: Birds, Flowers, Hills or Fells, Pubs, Views, Wildlife
Facilities / refreshments: Many pubs and cafes in Ambleside
Nearest town: Walk starts in Ambleside
Walk Tags: Ambleside, Skelghyll Wood, Jenkin's Crag, Wansfell, Wansfell Pike, Hundreds Road, Windermere, Wainwright walk, Lake District, lake district walk, lake district national park


View from the lane over to Windermere

Leave the back of the car park (opposite side to the A591) and turn right heading away from the centre of Ambleside onto a narrow lane (Old Lake Road). After about a hundred yards, take the lane off uphill to the left, at the White Lane Foot cottage, which is signed for Jenkins Crag - Skelghyll and Troutbeck (bridleway). The walled lane winds quite steeply uphill and views of Windermere soon start to open up over the wall to the right, with the start of Fairfield Horseshoe over to the left. As the lane splits, take the right-hand fork signed "Broad Ings, Skelghyll Wood and Jenkin's Crag". As progression is made down the lane, more and more of Windermere comes into view with the commanding Langdales in the distance beyond.

Again take the right-hand fork at the next split in the lane signed "Skelghyll Woods" ignoring the private driveway which heads off uphill to Broad Ings. Shortly after the split in the road, the metalled road turns into a gravelled track as it enters Skelghyll Woods. Do not enter Skelghyll Woods itself where a small path leads off to the right by a sign, but keep heading upwards on the main path. About fifty yards further on as the path again splits, take the right-hand fork which heads up the right-hand side of a wall. Then at the next split in the path take the left-hand fork following the National Trust sign for Jenkin's Crag and Troutbeck.

The path now becomes rockier underfoot and swings around to the left as it starts to climb the left bank of the stream. The path swings right over a stone bridge to cross the stream before heading off uphill meandering its way between the trees. As the path starts to flatten, it pulls in alongside a wall. Continue ahead ignoring the National Trust sign for Kelsick Scar and shortly on the right-hand side of the wall there is a gap through which can be found the signed viewpoint of Jenkin's Crag.

View from Jenkin's Crag

After admiring the beautiful panoramic view from Jenkin's Crag, return back to the main path and continuing on in the same direction, the path soon leaves the tree cover. Shortly after leaving the woods, there is an excellently positioned bench to take a five-minute break and admire the view down most of the length of Windermere. Continue on the path, pass through a wooden gate and head onwards towards thigh Skelghyll farm. Pass through another wooden gate, on which there is a green National Trust bridleway sign, cross to the opposite corner of the farmyard, and exit through a further wooden gate.

Path entering the farm

Path leaving the farm with the way ahead visible on the hillside opposite

View back to the farm, Windermere and the Langdales beyond

Leave the farm heading down the lane and immediately upon crossing the cattle grid and the stream, go through the kissing gate on the left, which is closely followed by a further wooden gate, from where the path rises steadily on the grassy hillside. As the path starts to flatten, it passes the remains of a barn, before bending around to the right as it crosses a small stream and then pulling in alongside a wall. Continue along the path passing through another wooden gate, before passing through a wooden kissing gate onto Robin's Lane which leads down into Troutbeck. Immediately on reaching this lane turn left, not following the Troutbeck sign, pass through a wooden gate, and start to head up the track (Hundreds Road), which sets off in the direction of Wansfell.

This walk can be extended by turning right here, following Robin's Lane down into Troutbeck, turning left onto the road through Troutbeck, then taking another left at the Wansfell sign up Nanny Lane passing through Lane Foot Farm. The entrance to this Lane is quite well hidden. Nanny Lane is then followed for about three-quarters of a mile before turning left over the wall at a sign for Wansfell, where after a further one hundred and fifty yards the original route of the walk is rejoined by a metal kissing gate.

View up Hundreds Road to Wansfell summit

Sheep on the footpath where it leaves the track just before the bridge

A horse fore-shortening the summit of Wansfell

Follow the track (Hundreds Road) for about three-quarters of a mile during which time a wooden gate is passed through. Go through a second wooden gate where the track ahead bends around to the left before passing over a picturesque stone bridge over a stream. Just before the stream take the path which leads off up the grassy banking on the right, and is signed by the National Trust as a permitted path to Wansfell and Nanny Lane. Head up the first field following the path which is marked by one foot high wooden stakes with white arrows on. The view behind from here now affords the full length of Windermere. Pass through the gate at the top of the field and continue following the wooden markers across the next field. Off to the left can be seen the summit of Wansfell. As this field is crossed, the northernmost side of the Kentmere Horseshoe starts to come into view over to the right with Ill Bell prominent directly ahead.

The path pulls in alongside a wall, at a point where the wall bends sharply to the left. Follow the path for a further one hundred yards before turning left through a metal kissing gate in the wall. This is where the path from Nanny Lane (see extension to the walk above) comes in from the right. The path from here is now clearly visible stretching ahead to the summit on the horizon. As the path reaches the summit, it meets a wall / fence coming in from the right-hand side. From here to the west can be seen the Langdales (Bow Fell, Crinkle Crags and the Pike of Blisco), to the North there is the Kirkstone Pass and Fairfield Horseshoe, to the East is High Street and Windermere to the South.

View from the summit - Ambleside, Rydal and the hills beyond

View from the summit - Kirkstone Pass

View from the summit - Northern leg of the 'Kentmere Horeshoe'

View from the summit - Windermere

The path back down into Ambleside

Go over a wooden stile in the fence (on the back of which is "Public footpath to Troutbeck via Nanny Lane - follow cairns", then turn left heading steeply down hill for about fifty yards before pulling in back near the wall by a further wooden stile. Ignore this stile, and turn right at a pile of stones heading directly away from the wall following the path which shortly afterwards becomes very obvious. The majority of the early part of the steep descent is via man made steps in the hillside.

Wooden footbridge with Ambleside in the distance

The view back up to Wansfell from the stile

The path passes through a gap in the wall and continues heading down towards Ambleside below. It continues down the rocky path, passing over a wooden footbridge by some trees, before continuing its descent. The path eventually pulls in alongside a stream before meeting a wall where it starts to flatten. Pass through the wooden kissing gate at the corner of the wall and head down the gravel path adjoined by a wooden / wire fence erected to stop short cuts across the field. Follow the path until it meets a stile over which there is a three step drop onto a lane. Looking back from the stile, Wansfell in all its glory can now be seen.

The view from the bench

Turn left onto the road passing another beautifully sited bench which affords views over towards the Langdales. Wandering down this lane, the water of Stock Ghyll can soon be heard. A short diversion can be made a few hundred yards down the lane, by turning off to the right, passing through a kissing gate and walking the short distance to view Stockghyll Force. Return to the lane and continue on down into Ambleside, branching left as the lane splits at the public toilets, then turning left a few yards further when the lane meets the main A591. The A591 can then be followed for about half a mile where the car park is reached on the left. An alternative to keeping on the main road is to turn left after a few hundred yards on the main road, onto Old Lake Road, which is then followed for about one third of a mile, before reaching the car park which is on the right.


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