First Time Fell Walks for Children and Families

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If you’re looking to introduce younger ones to fell-walking. Or if you’re looking for a gentle introduction to the joys of taking to the fells yourself, then we have put together a list of family-friendly fell walks, perfect for first-timers. All these walks are suitable for most abilities and there are no significant dangers, such as drops, scree or scrambling to worry about. Just make sure everyone has suitable footwear, clothing and a map and off you go!

Black Fell From Tarn Hows
Black Fell is one of the lowest of Wainwrights summits and easily achievable as a detour from the popular Tarn Hows circular. Wainwright included low fells such as Black Fell for a reason – although modest in height, the view from the summit ensures its place amongst 214 is well deserved. The view from Black Fell is outstanding with the vista including the Old Man of Coniston, Wetherlam, Windermere, Tarn Hows, Coniston and Langdale. There’s a trig point on the summit helping children to feel a real sense of accomplishment in reaching the top.
Route
Leave the Tarn Hows circuit via the stile at the head of the tarn near the foot bridge. Follow the path as it crosses the field then pass through a gate to join the “mountain Road”. Turn right and follow this stony road uphill for a few hundred yards until you reach a path on your left signposted “Iron Keld”. Follow the track in this plantation until you pass through a gate onto open fellside. Take the path right directly after the gate and follow the path to the summit of Black Fell. Once you’ve enjoyed the summit you can retrace your steps and continue your circuit of Tarn Hows.
This route begins at the Glen Mary Bridge Car Park near Yew Tree Tarn (you can also pick up this walk from the Tarn Hows main car park should you wish to make it slightly shorter).
Route info...

Black Combe
Black Combe makes for the perfect first-time fell walk, with Alfred Wainwright himself once quipping that it is the only fell which “can be ascended in carpet slippers”. (We recommend sturdier footwear however!) At around 600m this walk has ample height, yet the distinctive, domed shape of Black Coombe and its geology of sandstone creates a smooth, heather covered silhouette which is quite unlike the jagged, craggy slate-formed fells elsewhere in the Lakes. After an initial steep climb up a grassy slope the path begins to level out as your views begin to broaden. The views on the ascent of Black Combe are like no other anywhere else in the Lakes. With the glittering Irish Sea dominant to your left and the rolling hills and mountains of the Lakes coming into view as you approach the summit the walk is best saved for a clear day.
Route
The most straight-forward route is from Whicham Church where there is ample parking and an honesty box. From the church take the sign-posted path to the lane running behind, follow the lane until you see a gate on your right leading to the obvious path up hill. Stay on this path on the initial steep climb before the gradient eases and winds itself around to the summit. A route map and description may can be found here.
Route info...

Wansfell Pike via Stockghyll Force Waterfalls
This route to Wansfell Pike from Ambleside is steep in parts but relatively straightforward throughout, with an easy-to-follow pitched stone path to the summit from where your efforts are rewarded by stunning views down Windermere.
Route
From Ambleside take Stockghyll Lane which begins at Barclays Bank in the village centre. Stay on the lane as begins to climb and take the footpath on the left sign-posted to the falls. There are various viewing place at which to take in the waterfalls and once you are nearing the top, before the bridge, bear right at the picnic bench and sign to the revolving gate. Once through the gate turn left on the road. In climb up the stone steps on your right to the stile signposted "Footpath to Troutbeck via Wansfell Pike". Follow the path beyond up beside the beck to the gate at the top of the field. Go through and bear left to the bottom of the stone pitch path climbing the fellside.
The pitched path zig-zags its way to the summit from where the views out outstanding. Those collecting Wainwrights will need continue on from Wansfell Pike to the true summit of Wansfell approximately 1 mile along the ridge. But if you’re not in the market for hill-bagging then the best views reside at here Wansfell Pike, which makes an ideal picnic spot, before your return back down into Ambleside. A map and full description can be found here.
Route info...

Loughrigg Fell
Like Black Fell, what Loughrigg lacks in height in more than makes up for in spectacular views and it’s relatively isolated summit allows for views in everyday direction, from Coniston Old Man and Great Carrs and across to the Fairfield Horseshoe and down onto the picturesque Rydal water the views are second-to-none whichever way you look. This family-friendly circular route starts and ends in Ambleside.
Route
Beginning in Rothay Park, Ambleside go through the park, over the small footbridge spanning the River Rothay and then left over the stone packhorse bridge. Turn right along Underloughrigg Road to cross the cattle grid, and in less than 100m turn left signposted "public bridleway". This tarmac lane immediately heads steeply up the hill. Follow the lane past the farm to eventually reach the gate onto the open fell. Go through the gate and bear right to leave the track and follow the wall round to the right for just a few metres. As the wall then bears right again to double back on itself, bear left on a path to round a small knoll. The obvious main path then appears almost directly ahead. Continue roughly ahead on the path and keep heading for the notch ahead. The trig point on the summit should come into view. There are various paths to the top of Loughrigg and as long as you head for the trig then you’ll eventually arrive on the summit. Once there you can take in the splendid views all around you. A route map can be found here.
Route info...

Holme Fell
Located just outside Coniston, above Yew Tree Tarn, Holme Fell is modest in height but the rough, sometimes, steep path will encourage children that they really are conquering a mountain!
Route
The path begins at the tarn, skirting its shoreline before passing under great pine trees and through a gate out onto the fell-side. The path passes some immense boulders, which your younger party members may take some time to explore, and continues up sharply to Uskdale Gap, from where the views across to the Langdale Pikes are worth admiring for a while. From the gap turn left to continue the climb up to the summit of Holme Fell. There’s a large cairn at Ivy Crag viewpoint, with the true summit and a smaller cairn situated on a rocky outcrop beyond. Once you’ve explored all the nooks and crannies of the summit and taken obligatory summit selfies trace you steps back down to Yew Tree Tarn. A map of the route can be found here.
Route info...

Skiddaw
Yes it’s big, and at 931m (or 3,054 ft), it’s the sixth highest mountain in England. Its grassy slopes and well-laid path however make this a relatively straight-forward ascent with no scrambling, precipices or river crossings to concern yourself with - so if you or your children are growing in fell-walking confidence and would like to take on a real challenge, with a genuine mountain feel, then Skiddaw is the perfect step up into the Lake District “big boys”.
Route
This route from the car park at the very end of Gale Road could not be simpler, basically consisting of walking uphill until you reach the summit plateaux. From the car park, cross the stile leading on to the well-laid path which follows the fence boundary. Keep on the path and it runs alongside the fence – you’ll see it begin to zig-zag its way up the grassy fell-side. The path is steep in places but otherwise poses no particular challenges. Once you get there the summit is extensive and the views spectacular and far-reaching – weather permitting of course! A route map can be found here.
Route info...

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