Many superb hill walks start from the two valleys, including the Langdale Pikes themselves, Bowfell, Crinkle Crags, Pike ‘o’ Blisco, and even a route along Mickleden to Scafell Pike. Many of these will appeal to serious mountain walkers and climbers, but there are equally rewarding lower-level walks for those who want to immerse themselves in the finest scenery in England without too much strain. In either case, we urge you to take a suitable map and guidebook on any walk other than the very most straightforward. Most of the walks in Langdale can conveniently be made to involve a country pub either part way through or at the end, but do remember that too many pints of the local ale can impair your walking ability! Our favourites in this hill-walkers paradise vary between the more and less challenging routes:
You cannot miss the dramatic peaks that rise so majestically above the Great Langdale valley, and neither should you leave them out of your walking plans. There are various ways on to the fells. We favour the well-laid but steep mountain path that runs from the back of the Sticklebarn Tavern and the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel. Parking is available in the pay-and-display carpark across the road, and often in the field in front of the New Dungeon Ghyll, with payment at the Walkers Bar. If you only wish to go as far as Stickle Tarn, the walk is relatively short, though still taxing and rewarding, but you can move on to conquer Harrison Stickle, Pike ‘o’ Stickle, and Pavey Ark, some of the best-loved peaks in the Lake District. Jack’s Rake on Pavey Ark offers a thrilling and challenging ascent. 3 hrs.
One of our very favourite of the smaller Lake District hill walks, there are various ways up and down the tongue of hillside that separates Great Langdale from Little Langdale, some of them steep, but none very long. We like to park near the top of the pass between the two valleys, overlooking Blea Tarn, and walk up the Side Pike path and on to the ridge of Lingmoor. Though lower than the surrounding hills, this fell gives unsurpassable views of those greater peaks, and especially the Langdale Pikes across the Great Langdale Valley. 2 hrs.
Park in the National Trust car park on the Little Langdale side of the pass from Great Langdale. Access to the rugged mountain tarn is on the far side of the single track road, and you can walk through woods by the tarn shore and up onto the hillside, and on to the top of the pass, returning via the road if you wish. 1 hr.
This short walk takes in two of the must-see spots in the Langdale valley. Parking on the road near the Three Shires Inn lets you walk a short distance up the hill before bearing left and passing into open fields past the nearby farm. From there you can walk to delightful Slaters Bridge, the rustic river crossing that took the slate miners to their daily work in times past, and on into wooded hillside beyond to discover the tunnel that leads to Cathedral Cavern. Quarrying produced the mighty cave, which was used by film crews in Snow White and The Huntsman. Another, darker and danker tunnel can be found to take you right through the hillside for those brave enough and owning a torch! A circle can then be made via the bridge by the ford back to the Three Shires, though the walk can be extended. 1 hr.
Lovely riverside, woodland and meadow walk. Start from the car park in Elterwater near the bridge by the Britannia Inn, with return by the same path that runs right by the river and the shores of Elterwater. The first section of path in particular is very well laid and suitable for wheelchair and pushchair users. The woodlands at the Skelwith end incorporate the dramatic Skelwith Force waterfalls. We recommend a half-time break at Chesters-By-The-River at Skelwith Bridge for refreshment. 1 ½ hrs.
Begin by parking beside the little road that winds its way up from Elterwater towards Grasmere, or walk from Elterwater itself. This beautiful fell walk is perfect when time and energy do not recommend one of the tougher hills. The views from the ridge and summit of both Langdale and Grasmere vale are splendid. 1 ½ hrs.
At the mouth of the Great Langdale valley near Skelwith Bridge lies Loughrigg Tarn in the shadow of Loughrigg Fell. There is a circular walk around the tarn itself, incorporating some distance of country lane on one side, and offering terrific views of the Langdale Pikes. Consider picnicking by the tarn itself on a sunny day. You can also access Loughrigg Fell from here, and walk over to Grasmere or to Ambleside. A steep little side lane running up from Skelwith Bridge with parking at the top takes you close to start of the path round the tarn. 1 hr.