Honister Pass Circular Walk

Difficulty
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Moderate
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
4.5-6.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
13.4 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
794 m
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Directions to Trailhead

The Honister Pass Circular Walk is a rugged adventure in the Lake District that will take you on a long climb through the pass before circling around Fleetwith Pike and Black Star. The route features some dramatic scenery, including the imposing sight of Fleetwith Pike that dominates the landscape surrounding the pass and nearby Buttermere. There is a bit of rugged terrain along this walk, but the spectacular views across the undulating terrain are well worth the effort.

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Route Description

Although a good portion of this walk traverses the rugged terrain along the slopes of Fleetwith Pike and Black Star, the initial stretch follows alongside the paved road. Remain alert on this roadside portion of the walk and keep an eye out for any passing vehicles. Additionally, parking at the trailhead can be limited during peak times, so make sure to arrive early to secure parking. If you are planning an overnight stay in Dubs Hut along the southern slope of the mountain, be sure to make alternate arrangements in case the shelter is occupied.

Even with the long roadside portion of this walk, it is a spectacular adventure through a rugged stretch of terrain within the Lake District. The trail sets out from Seatoller and follows the paved road, passing by the Honister Slate Mine before branching off to the west to traverse the slope of the mountain. After walking beneath the shadow of Black Star and Fleetwith pike, you will meet back up with the road and follow it through the dramatic landscape of the pass on the return to the trailhead. This walk features some unique terrain with beautiful views and should definitely make it onto your to-do list of walks in the Lake District.

Setting out from the trailhead, make your way alongside the road to the west as the surrounding landscape transitions from green farmland to the rugged moorland terrain of the pass. After 1.4 mi on the road, you will pass by the Honister Slate Mine, where you can take a mine tour or visit the Sky Hi Cafe for some refreshments, before continuing along the trail.

After keeping right for 0.2 mi, head left at the fork and begin the uphill climb along the wide track that cuts across the mountainside. After 0.6 mi, you will pass by the Hopper Slate Quarry on your right. Turn left at the junction here and make your way downhill until you arrive at the small stone shelter known as Dubs Hut within the Dubs Slate Quarry. If the hut is empty and you are planning to spend the night, then feel free to set up camp and explore the surrounding terrain. If not, continue downhill along the trail to the southwest for 0.4 mi as it runs alongside Warnscale Beck.

Here, the path will turn north and follow closely along the foot of the mountain for the next 1.3 mi, as you take in the amazing views of the dramatic landscape with Fleetwith Pike towering overhead. Once you have arrived at the edge of the road near Gatesgarth Farm, turn right to begin the journey back through the pass to the trailhead.

With the flowing waters of Gategarthdale Beck on your left, you will gradually climb uphill along the paved road for 2.1 mi, as you begin to be flanked by the rugged peaks of Dale Head and High Scawdel on your left, with Fleetwith Pike and Black Star on your right. After the grade of the climb intensifies, you will arrive back at the Honister Slate Mine. Here, you can utilize the toilet facilities and grab a quick snack at the cafe before making the final 1.5 mi walk back to the starting point of your journey in Seatoller.

Trail Highlights

Fleetwith Pike

Located in the Lake District, Fleetwith Pike is an imposing fell with a height of 648 m. The hill is a dominant feature of the landscape, as it towers above the Honister Pass and Buttermere to the northwest.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Honister Pass open?

Honister Pass is open daily from 08:30am to 05:00pm.

How long is Honister Pass?

From Seatoller to Gatesgarth Farm the pass is 3.0 mi long.

Insider Hints

  • Dubs Hut, located right along the trail, is a non-reservable shelter that can be utilized on a first come, first served basis. It’s free to use; however, it is a basic shelter, meaning you will need to remember to pack out any waste.
  • Wear proper walking boots for this rugged journey.
  • Pair this walk with a weekend of camping at the Inside Out Campsite.

Getting There

To reach the car park for the Honister Pass Circular from Keswick, drive southeast on Borrowdale Road/B5289 for 7.1 mi and turn right to enter the Seatoller National Trust car park.

Route Details

  • When to do

    March-October

  • Backcountry Campsites

    Seatoller Farm, Inside Out Camping

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Lollipop

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