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Things to see and do in Wasdale

Walkers on the Scafell path with Wastwater in the distance at Wasdale, Cumbria
Walkers on the Scafell path with Wastwater in the distance at Wasdale | © ©National Trust Images/Joe Cornish

Discover Scafell Pike, England's highest mountain, and Wastwater, the deepest lake in the country. Whether you’re in Wasdale for a family stroll or some serious scrambling, there so much to explore, from wildlife to waterfalls.

Wasdale highlights

Wasdale is a remote farming community surrounded by spectacular fells and dramatic wilderness. The fells have been an inspiration for mountaineers, climbers and poets for decades and remain a magnificent setting for an adventure to suit everyone.

Take in the highest views in England

Visit Wasdale to experience England's highest peak, Scafell Pike, not to mention the mountains Great Gable, Pillar and Yewbarrow. The crisp winter air gives intensely clear light, and you can see for miles in every direction.

Scafell Pike, the highest peak

Scafell Pike is the tallest mountain, and some would say most challenging. All year round it will require careful planning but, in the autumn and winter, it is vital to leave extra time. If you’re planning to head out onto the high fells when the days are shorter, take the time to pack a torch in your rucksack to avoid getting caught out as night falls. Find more tips for walking up Scafell Pike here.

Try a more moderate walking route

If the high fells are not for you, you don’t need to climb Scafell Pike to enjoy Wasdale’s beauty: there is plenty of interest along the valley floor. Wasdale’s valley paths deliver just as much drama as its mountains.

From Wasdale Head you can take in valleys, riverbanks, ancient packhorse tracks and waterfalls. Walk along Wastwater's south west shore on the path through Low Wood for views of the screes reflecting in the lake.

Ritson’s Force waterfall is only a short stroll from the valley head.

Try a moderate level walk around Greendale Tarn – on a clear day you can see as far as the Isle of Man.

The black and white plumage of a great spotted woodpecker sat on a tree branch in a woodland
A Great Spotted Woodpeckers in Wasdale | © National Trust Images/Jim Bebbington

Spring in Wasdale

Springtime in Wasdale brings blossom to the woodlands and hedgerows while warming weather brings more birdsong to enjoy as you walk along the paths. Come to Lowe wood for a walk along the blue bells but watch your step and help us keep these delicate blooms around for years to come. Listen for Great spotted woodpeckers drumming in the trees and make sure to stop at echo corner past the youth hostel and shout out to the screes to hear them answer your call.

At Wasdale head near Stangends farm as well as near Gaterigghow Bridge, our rangers have been restoring the meadows, putting in more wildflowers which should be starting to put on a show. Watch for butterflies and other pollinators coming to feed.

If you are heading up the fells, look out for the rare club moss ferns on the Scafel Pike path. These seem to be returning to the area with the reduction of grazing. Make sure you keep to the paths to help the many plants continue to recover and to avoid erosion.

Don't just visit for the day, bring your tent or campervan and stay at Wasdale Campsite for a few nights, or opt for one of the seven pods. You'll be wowed by the views every morning when you wake up and prepare for another day of adventure in one of the most awe-inspiring locations in the Lake District.

Two visitors sit on the grass in front of a tent at Wasdale Campsite, Cumbria
Camping at Wasdale Campsite, Cumbria | © National Trust Images/Paul Harris

Climbing and scrambling in Wasdale

It can be argued that Wasdale is the birthplace of British rock climbing, starting with W.P. Haskett-Smith’s ascent of Napes Needle, Great Gable, in 1886.

The crags of Wasdale continue to be an inspiration for rock and ice climbers. The range of routes means that there are suitable climbs for all skill levels.

Visit Wastwater - England’s deepest lake

As well as boasting some of the best views in England, Wasdale is also home to Wastwater, England’s deepest lake, which is an impressive 79 metres deep.

Wastwater is so special it has been designated a special area of conservation and here you can always find space to relax and take in the landscape.

Walkers on the Scafell path with Wastwater in the distance at Wasdale, Cumbria

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Our work in Wasdale 

Discover more about our restoration projects at Wasdale and Scafell Pike and how hydro power in the West Lakes is making a difference to our fossil fuel usage.

Walkers stopping for a photograph above Hollow Stones on Scafell Pike in Wasdale, Cumbria

Climbing Scafell Pike 

Find out more about how to prepare for climbing Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain peak, and follow safety procedures.

Dramatic view of Wastwater in the distance, at Wasdale, Cumbria

The history of Wasdale 

Discover the diverse history of the valley of Wasdale, one of the most significant sites in the National Trust’s Lake District portfolio, from Mesolithic times up to the present day.

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Countryside and woodland 

Plan a visit to one of the special countryside places in our care and discover the benefits of being in the great outdoors. Pack your walking boots and get ready to explore woodlands, valleys and rivers.

View of Derwent Island on Derwent Water with fells in the background

Countryside in the Lake District 

Explore the Lake District's majestic mountains – among them Scafell Pike, the tallest in England – ancient woodland, hidden waterfalls, rugged coastline and, of course, its many lakes. You might even spot a red squirrel, roe deer or bird of prey.

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