Great Langdale Valley

Harry Place Farm sits in the heart of the Great Langdale Valley, which makes it an ideal base for exploring our corner of the Lake District, and beyond.

Among the best-known features of Great Langdale are the Langdale Pikes, a group of peaks on the northern side of the dale. England's highest mountain, Scafell Pike, can be climbed by a route from Langdale. Langdale has views of, in particular, Dungeon Ghyll Force waterfall, Harrison Stickle and Pike of Stickle.

The mouth of the valley is located at Skelwith Bridge, which lies about two miles west of the town of Ambleside. The Langdale valley contains two villages, Chapel Stile and Elterwater, and a hamlet at High Close. Great Langdale is a U-shaped valley formed by glaciers, while Little Langdale is a hanging valley.

Great Langdale is known to archaeologists as the source of a particular type of Neolithic polished stone axe head, created on the slopes of the Pike of Stickle and traded all over prehistoric Great Britain and Europe. It also supplied stone for some Bronze Age items, including stone wrist-guards. Neolithic cup and ring marks are found on the Langdale Boulders at Copt Howe.

Copt Howe : Langdale Boulders

Just a short walk down the lane back towards Chapel Stile

A site designated by English Heritage as an ancient monument after the discovery of Neolithic / Bronze Age concentric circles carved into the rock face.

Cathedral Caves

The Cathedral quarries are a small network of inter-linked quarries above Little Langdale. The system is best known for its main chamber, which still stands forty feet in height, and is lit by two windows off the main quarry. They are frequently referred to as Cathedral “Cave”

Having read the sign at the entrance, and accepting its conditions, you then enter a tunnel. For this first tunnel you will probably not need lighting. At the end of the tunnel you will enter a forty foot high chamber that is known as “The Cathedral”.

The larger of the two openings opens onto the second level of a pit quarry. The smaller opens out into a narrow, cutting like quarry, which eventually leads back to the entrance where you started.

There are various tunnels to explore, which will require lighting, as one is about 400 feet long.


Rydal Caves

Rydal Cave can be found on the north side of Loughrigg Fell above Rydal Water and, like Cathedral Cavern, is man made; a consequence of quarrying, again for slate. Long disused, the cave can be entered by the public.

At the entrance there is a shallow lake full of small fish (including goldfish allegedly!) and insect life but there are stepping stones so it's usually possible to make your way across it to the dry floor inside and explore. Do be cautious when doing so, especially without a torch, as we have come across things you wouldn't want to step in darker corners.

Walk Lakes

Hardknott Fort

One of the most remote and dramatically sited Roman forts in Britain, the small, three-acre fort at Hardknott enjoyed command of the Eskdale Valley and the Roman road to Ravenglass.

The fort at Hardknott was established early in the second century AD: a fragmentary inscription, dating from the reign of the Emperor Hadrian (117–38), from the south gate records the garrison as the Fourth Cohort of Dalmatians, from the Balkans.

English Heritage

Old Dungeon Ghyll

The Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel is to be found in the magnificent setting of the Great Langdale Valley. It is the ‘original’ Dale Head Inn and right in the centre of the Lake District.

For 300 years the Old Hotel has offered accommodation and sustenance to weary fellwalkers and climbers in the midst of some of the highest mountains in England. However it is not only the fantastic scenery of Langdale that attracts our guests, some simply come to enjoy the comfort and traditions of a cosy get away, far away from the stresses of modern day life. Don’t expect to be easy to contact – you may have to climb 1000 ft to get a mobile phone reception!

Old Dungeon Ghyll


A National Trust owned & operated pub. Sticklebarn is the best place in Langdale to relax after a day on the fells. This isn’t a traditional pub experience, it’s a National Trust pub and we do things a little differently.

The National Trust


Ambleside, a small town in the Lake District, has now become a major tourist resort with shops, restaurants, cinema and a large selection of places to stay. It is very popular with walkers and climbers and is one of the best bases for exploring the Lake District.



Hawkshead is an ancient township that has flourished since Norse times, belonging to Furness Abbey until the 12th Century. The monks owned Hawkshead Hall, just outside the village, of which the National Trust owned Hawkshead Courthouse is all that remains. After the dissolution of the monasteries in 1537, Hawkshead grew as a market town, with many buildings dating from the 17th Century.



The most notable feature of Coniston Village is The Old Man of Coniston, rising dramatically behind the houses when seen from the village centre. Coniston is a good centre for walkers and climbers, and those wanting to investigate the Tilberthwaite Slate quarries.



Windermere village grew around the railway station, about a mile and a half from the lake. The village was originally called Birthwaite, but the railway company decided to call the station after the lake. Over the years, the village has become merged with the older lakeside town of Bowness-on-Windermere, though the two have quite separate centres.



Bowness-on-Windermere is a sprawling tourist town on the shore of Windermere, about halfway along the 10.5 mile length of the lake between Waterhead at the North end, and Lakeside at the South end. It developed after the opening of the railway line from Oxenholme and Kendal to Windermere in 1847. Bowness was the nearest accessible point on the lake.


Near Sawrey

The attractive village of Near Sawrey is situated two miles from Hawkshead down the eastern side of Esthwaite Water, overlooked by the woods and tarns of Claife Heights. There are two separate hamlets – Near Sawrey and Far Sawrey, both a cluster of picturesque cottages, teas rooms and pubs.


Langdale Pikes

Among the best-known features of Great Langdale are the Langdale Pikes, a group of peaks on the northern side of the dale. From below, they appear as a sharp rocky ridge, though they are precipitous only on their southern side; to the north, the land sweeps gently to High Raise, the parent peak of the range. The Pikes themselves include (from west to east) Pike of Stickle, Loft Crag, Harrison Stickle and Pavey Ark.

Pike of Stickle, also known as Pike o’ Stickle, reaches a height of 709 metres (2,326 feet). The rearward slopes show evidence of the Pavey Ark Member, pebbly sandstone and breccia. The Langdale face displays several strata: from the top the Lingmell Formation, Crinkle Member and Bad Step Tuff. These are composed, respectively, of tuff, lapilli-tuff and breccia; rhyolitic tuff and breccia; and rhyolitic lava-like tuff.

Despite the peaked profile the summit is wide enough for a sizeable cairn surrounded by a small level area. Loft Crag and Gimmer Crag steal the attention in the foreground while Bowfell impresses across Langdale. A wide swathe of the Southern Fells is in view, whilst even distant Skiddaw puts in an appearance.

Harrison Stickle is the high point of the Langdale Pikes and its crags fall south and east from the summit, presenting an arresting view from the valley floor 2,000 ft below, or from further afield. To the north, the main ridge of the central fells passes over Thunacar Knott before climbing to High Raise. The craggy eastern face of this ridge continues north as far as Harrison's near neighbour, Pavey Ark, visually the most impressive face in the area. The south-western border of Harrison Stickle is formed by the deep ravine of Dungeon Ghyll, which cuts through the parapet of the Langdale Pikes and into the lower hinterland of Harrison Combe. Across the Ghyll westwards are Thorn Crag, Loft Crag and finally Pike of Stickle. Below the steep eastern face of Harrison Stickle lie Stickle Tarn and its Ghyll, thus ensuring that all drainage from the fell is to Great Langdale. The tarn is a water filled corrie about 50 ft deep, this being enhanced by a dam. The water is used for public consumption in Great Langdale.

Loft Crag

Loft Crag has an altitude of 2,238 feet (682 metres). It lies between Harrison Stickle and Pike o’ Stickle and is usually climbed in conjunction with these two peaks. The fell has a small sharp summit, below which rises Gimmer Crag, which is one of the top rock climbing venues in the Lake District. The crag is made of Rhyolite rock and was pioneered in the early 1880s by the father of British rock climbing Walter Parry Haskett Smith.

Pavey Ark

Pavey Ark is 700 m (2,297 ft) high. The main face is a little over a quarter of a mile across and drops about 400 ft. To the south-west it merges into the crags of Harrison Stickle, while the northern end peters out into the valley of Bright Beck. Stickle Tarn is wholly within the territory of the Ark, a corrie tarn which has been dammed to create additional capacity. The stone-faced barrage is low enough not to spoil the character of the pool, and the water is used for public consumption in the hotels and homes below. The tarn has a depth of around 50 ft.

Pike of Blisco

Located between the valleys of Great Langdale and Little Langdale, its relative isolation from neighbouring fells together with slopes falling away immediately from the summit in all directions mean it has excellent views: the view of the Langdale Pikes across Great Langdale is particularly arresting.

Alfred Wainwright preferred Pike o' Blisco (he refers to Pike of Blisco as its "Sunday name"), and wrote, "the man has no blood in his veins who does not respond eagerly to its fine-sounding, swashbuckling name".

Pike of Blisco stands on the complex ridge of high ground descending south-eastward from the Scafell massif. The ridge incorporates Esk Pike, Bow Fell, Crinkle Crags and Cold Pike before turning sharply north-eastward to Pike of Blisco; it then makes a further abrupt northerly diversion around Blea Tarn to connect to Lingmoor Fell. To the north of Pike of Blisco is the Oxendale branch of Great Langdale, while Little Langdale stands to the south east. The two valleys drain eastward, joining beyond Lingmoor Fell. To the south of Pike of Blisco is the 393 m (1,290 ft) summit of Wrynose Pass, which links Little Langdale with the Duddon Valley, and beyond the pass lies Swirl How and the Coniston Fells.


Bowfell, a pyramid-shaped mountain, is the sixth-highest mountain in the Lake District and one of the most popular of the Lake District fells for walkers. It is listed in Alfred Wainwright's 'best half dozen' Lake District fells.

The summit area is a ridge running north–south with the final pyramid near the south-west corner and crags on three sides. The southern face is formed by Bowfell Links, an impressive wall of crag scarred by nine vertical gullies and with corresponding tongues of scree at its foot. A climb up these is neither pleasurable nor safe as they are extremely active loose rock channels. The eastern face carries a wealth of features including Flat Crag, Cambridge Crag and the Bowfell Buttress, the latter two providing good climbing. Flat Crag includes the Great Slab, a remarkable tilted sheet of rock which looks exactly as it sounds. At the base of Great Slab a spring gushes forth from the bare rock. Below these faces runs the Climber's Traverse, a narrow path providing an excellent high-level walking route to the summit from the highest point of The Band. This largely horizontal line contours around beneath many of Bowfell's most dramatic crags, finally reaching the summit via a rocky route known as the River of Boulders, running parallel to the Great Slab. Finally on the north- east corner of the summit ridge is Hanging Knotts, a complex series of faces and outcrops looking down upon Angle Tarn.

The Band provides the most popular means of ascent. Other routes from Langdale climb via Rossett Gill and Three Tarns. Bowfell can be reached from Stonethwaite via Angle Tarn although the way is long. Equally time-consuming although perhaps more picturesque is the long march up Eskdale from Brotherikeld, gaining the ridge at either Ore Gap or Three Tarns. Indirect climbs can also be made via Crinkle Crags, Esk Pike or Rossett Pike. The summit can also be reached from the top of Wrynose Pass by following the Right of Way starting close to the Three Shire Stone and heading in a north-westerly direction. The route takes in the summits of Cold Pike and Long Top.

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