Walks, Hikes and Trail running
EXPLORE AND DISCOVER
We are located at the foot of the Helvellyn range with High Rigg, Great Dodd and Blencathra in close proximity. Our farm has two gates onto the fells, allowing you to ‘bag’ multiple Wainwrights from your cottage door without crossing a single road. There is something for all abilities and skill levels, from a potter around the farm to climbing England’s highest peak, Scafell Pike.
We have created a private farm trail, exclusively for the use of our cottage guests, to help you enjoy the woods, fields, streams, wildlife and fantastic views. When you arrive you’ll find a hand-drawn map of the farm with points of interest marked, in your cottage. The valley remains a stronghold of the Red Squirrel and they regularly come and feed close to the cottages and can be seen around the farm.
Nestled between Wainwright’s Northern, Eastern and Central Fells, Fornside offers easy access to much of the Northern Lake District. If you are recce’ing a Bob Graham, we are ‘underneath’ Leg 2 and within very easy distance of Leg 1 and Dunmail Raise at the start/end of Leg 3. To find out more about the Bob Graham, watch this 20 minute film of Elsey Davis’s Winter Bob record attempt. Inspirational!
We have listed five of our favourite walks directly from Fornside Farm; they are all family friendly as long as you are active and prepared for the weather.
For those days when you really don’t want steep or tricky terrain, or don’t fancy a navigational challenge, we have suggested some fantastic easy-underfoot and easy-to-navigate walks.
BOOK AND MAP SUGGESTIONS
Booths, George Fisher and Bookends in Keswick sell a variety of books covering tried and tested walks in the local area, as well as both OS and Harvey Maps. You can buy OS maps online before you travel here, and we would recommend an annual subscription to OS’s online mapping app which I often use to double check my location … although if your phone battery expires, you will need a paper map. One top tip if you are planning ahead is to order a Harvey Map of one of the many fell race routes. These maps are small, weatherproof and offer spectacular pre-drawn routes, and there is no obligation to run!
OS, Komoot, Strava, Garmin, AllTrails and other apps are great for walking suggestions. Again, Mountain Rescue would recommend that you also take a paper map and compass (and the skills to use these), just in case you lose signal or battery. Further online walking inspiration can be found at Visit Keswick and Trail Magazine is great for ideas.
There are so many books describing lovely routes over the fells. Of course Wainwright’s seven Walking Guides to the Lake District Fells, are a must. These classics beautifully describe and illustrate the various possible ascents and descents of his 214 favourite fells. The other two books we keep referring to are:
Great Mountain Days in The Lake District by Mark Richards As much as we love and use our Wainwrights books, we find that sometimes Alfred gives so many options that we spend hours debating and decision-making. Mark Richards does this planning for you, suggesting fifty circular routes with maps, drawings, photographs, gradings and estimated timings to help you match your group’s ability and confidence levels. The descriptions are enticing and informative and his selection of routes includes both some of the great classics and other lesser known, but equally delightful, trods and peaks. Definitely of the best guides to the fells we have tried
Peak Bagging Wainwrights by Karen and Dan Parker; suggests 45 routes to complete all 214 of Wainwright’s Fells in the most efficient way, based on Steve Birkinshaw’s incredible non-stop route around all of them in 2014.
SAFETY ON THE FELLS
Before heading out onto the fells we strongly advise that you fully prepare for unpredictable weather, and difficult terrain. We’ve put together a whole blog about this as it really could be a matter of life or death: Read this before you head for the hills! In summary: think about your skill level, remember that the weather can change quickly on the hills, and take emergency gear (especially a paper map, compass, bivvy and headtorch). The weather can change an easy walk into a significantly challenging experience. It’s also worth checking out Adventure Smart‘s guide to staying safe on the fells.
Whinlatter, England’s only mountain forest, offers mountains of walking trails with unrivalled views across the Lakes. There are miles of surfaced trails and tracks for you to explore. Whether you like to walk, run, mountain bike or stroll with a buggy (or even if spotting a Gruffalo is more your thing), find trails that will suit you here: Trails in Whinlatter.
GUIDED WALKS AND HILL SAFETY & SKILLS COURSES
If you would feel more confident taking a guide, that can be a great option. As well as taking you on some magnificent routes, they will share tips and ideas to encourage your adventures. The Lake District National Park organise a programme of events including guided walks. Mountain Walks also offer guided walks. The superb team at NAV4 offer year-round Skills and Safety courses for fell and trail runners.