Wasdale Head

Wasdale Head

Grit Ref : NY 187086

The Wasdale Head Hotel and slopes of Yewbarrow.

Wasdale Head is a small HAMLET in the Lake District National Park. It is located at the “head” of the valley of Wasdale, and is surrounded by some of England’s highest mountains: Scafell Pike, Sca Fell, Great Gable, Kirk Fell and Pillar.


The Wasdale Head Inn, originally a farmhouse was enlarged by Ritson in 1856 to house overnight guests. There were other alterations over the last century, but the Inn still retains many original features, including a collection of climbing memorabilia.


The ancient packhorse bridge behind the Wasdale Head Hotel with Great Gable behind.

For many centuries it has been a starting point for walks and climbing trips into the mountains. Today, it is the recognised starting point for the ascent of Scafell Pike as part of the National Three Peaks Challenge.


Behind the Wasdale Head Inn is a stone arched packhorse bridge. Once both smuggling and trade routes led from the Inn over the Black Sail, Sty Head and Burnmoor passes. Now walkers take advantage of the trails.


The ancient field patterns at Wasdale Head, and St Olaf’s Church, which has a reputation of being the smallest church in England (in the yew trees, centre right).


Wastwater and Wasdale Head from the viewpoint cairn south of Kirk Fell summit

The hamlet claims to be home of the highest mountain (Scafell Pike), deepest lake (Wastwater), smallest church and biggest liar in England. The latter claim is based on a former landlord of the Wasdale Head Inn, who proclaimed himself as such.


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