Roman High Street Circuit
This fine walk takes you through an untouched valley then up to the summit of Thornthwaite Crag. From there, explore the wonderful views on a great walk along an ancient Roman Road to the stunning Angle Tarn.
The walk starts and ends in Hartsop, a village a short way from Patterdale and Glenridding. From Patterdale, head south on the A592 before turning left at the sign to Hartsop. Drive the narrow road to the end of the village, where there is free parking.
|When to do|
When Dry, no fog
From the end of the parking lot at Hartsop village, walk out and immediately cross the bridge over Pasture Beck (stream). Head along the path, however when it branches take the left-hand side, continuing along a well-defined path above the stream. The path slowly curves to the right as it heads up the valley.
Eventually you can see up the valley and you will notice there is no exit. Your path will take you to the saddle right in the centre of the valley. The upper end of the Pasture Beck Valley is a real highlight of the walk, having a wild, untamed quality. Follow the path as it continues to be clear, but gets steep as it approaches the saddle.
Upon reaching the saddle, enjoy the views down the next valley and towards Windermere. This is a fine place for a break, but the climbing isn’t over. At the saddle, go over a stonewall and immediately turn left. Start climbing up to the top of Thornthwaite Crag. The path is fairly clear though you may need your hands to steady yourself on the way up in places.
At 4.7km you reach the peak of Thornthwaite Crag, where there is a chimney shaped cairn. The views here are great, and you can see the trail heading off relatively flat to the left. Go on this trail, and when it splits go left – don’t go over the wall. For this section keep the stonewall on your right. You are now on the ancient Roman High Street. The Romans built this gentle path as the valleys of that time were heavily forested and marshy (as well as prone to ambushes). Later, locals used these gentle slopes in the 18th and 19th centuries for summer fairs, held in July.
Follow the well-worn path as it gently rises and then falls away. The trail will have occasional paths heading off to your right, however you want to continue contouring to your left. You will see glimpses of Hayeswater down to your left, and a prominent feature known as the Knott directly ahead.
At 7.6km the path splits just before a feature known as The Knott. You can go left and go over the Knott, however we prefer contouring to the right as the path is easier. After the Knott ignore the path heading right and continue left. Immediately, a path heads off left down to Hayeswater – ignore this path and keep ahead unless you want to go back to Hartsop and skip Angle Tarn.
Continue ahead, not down to Hayeswater, passing another route leading off to your right. You will come across a rocky feature, known as Satura Crags – a great place to stop for a snack.
After cresting a hill you will see the stunning Angle Tarn (tarn being a term for a small mountain lake). This is one of the prettiest tarns we’ve seen in the Lake District, and ranks up with stunning tarns we’ve hiked to in the Rockies and Alps. Pass by Angle Tarn on the right hand side and then follow the path that continues behind it.
You will stay downhill on the obvious path until you reach a saddle between Stony Rigg and Place Fell. You can see the white path snaking up Place Fell.
From the saddle, the path splits in two. Go left to get back to your car, while the right hand path leads down to Patterdale.
The route down can be slippery with the hard track and lots of small stones. Take care – poles come in handy. As this route descends you go in and out of the trees.
Almost back in Hartsop you will come out of the trees and run into a fork in the road with bridges in both directions. While the lower route looks like the continuation of the trail, take the upper route and go over Angletarn Beck on a unique bridge. The route continues on the edge of the forest, with occasional forays into the trees.
You’ll see some homes as you go over occasionally paved portions of the path. Coming to a junction go right and head downhill back to your car.
You can do this walk from Patterdale, as Patterdale is on the Penrith – Windermere Bus service. If you walk from Patterdale, it can be very nice if you get a ride to the starting point in Hartsop.
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