A loop walk from Grasmere up to Helm Crag, taking in the iconic "Lion and the Lamb".
Distance 6.4 km
Enjoy the perfect introduction to walking higher up in the Lake District fells as you make your way slowly to the top of Helm Crag today, and discover the iconic "Lion and the Lamb" craggy outcrops, so named because they are said to resemble the aforementioned creatures. Alfred Wainwright said of this walk "The virtues of Helm Crag have not be lauded enough. It gives an exhilarating little climb, a brief essay in real mountaineering." From the Lion and the Lamb, enjoy some of the Lake District's best views, looking over the Fairfield and Helvellyn mountain ranges before descending via Helmside and country lanes back to Grasmere. You will have the real feeling of being up in the mountains today as Wainwright alluded to, but this is gained without too much effort!
Take a picnic lunch with you today and enjoy the views from the top of Helm Crag!
Check the weather forecast before setting out and listen to advice locals may offer you. When the route follows a road with no footpath remember to walk on the right hand side so you are facing any oncoming traffic.
If you wish to carry a hardcopy map, we would recommend buying the OS Explorer Map OL7 - The English Lakes Southeastern Area. Alternatively, you may wish to print the daily maps directly from our app.
Tips and hints
Food & Drink
Pubs and cafes at Grasmere.
Points of interest
Please see the interactive map for notable points of interest along the walk, including recommended pubs/restaurants and tearoom stops. Simply click the icons on the map for more information as you walk.
The Lion and the Lamb and the Howitzer
A distintive rock formation at the top of Helm Crag, named because they are said to resemble the aforementioned creatures. On the other side of the summit plateau is "The Howitzer, named as it appears as if a giant artillery gun is pointing skywards. The top of the Howitzer represents the true summit but reaching the top requires some scrambling and is therefore not recommended - even Wainwright himself didn't get to the top of this summit!
The village green, Grasmere (73 m)
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The village green, Grasmere
*** To help you follow the route with confidence we have provided a general overview below of the walking route to Helm Crag from Grasmere. This walk is navigationally straightforward, however, please ensure that you follow the GPS tracks in the Macs Adventure smartphone app to ensure you have a safe, enjoyable and problem-free day. The daily maps can also be printed from the web version of the app should you wish to take paper copies with you. ***
Stage 1 (Grasmere to Lancrigg) - 0.0 - 1.5km: From the centre of Grasmere, with the village green behind you and the Heaton Cooper Studio in front of you, head up Easedale Road, passing the Glenthorne Quaker Guest House and Goody Bridge to Lancrigg.
Stage 2 (Lancrigg to Summit of Helm Crag) - 1.4 - 2.9km: At Lancrigg, turn right off the road and follow the obvious path all the way to the Lion and the Lamb, and the summit of Helm Crag, passing disused quarries and White Crag.
Stage 3 (Summit of Helm Crag to Grasmere) - 2.9 - 6.40km: From the summit, descent north-east to Bracken Hause, a dip in the ridge, and then take the path to the south which descends into the Easedale Valley. You will eventually meet the bridleway which and turn left on this to follow it along the valley back towards Lancrigg and Easedale Road, re-tracing your steps from earlier back into Grasmere.
all notes on protected areas
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Arrival by train, car, foot or bike
Sturdy hiking boots, warm clothes, and a waterproof/wind-break layer are all required. The weather can change quickly in the Lake District so be sure to take all equipment even if the weather looks okay. Walking poles will be a big advantage on some of these ascents and descents.
Ensure your phone is fully charged; if you doubt the battery will last throughout the hike, it might be beneficial to bring a power bank.
Please ensure you have plenty of water and emergency food (energy bars/trail mix) with you at all times. Please also ensure you check in advance of Pubs/cafes and shops opening hours on the day you are due to walk, in the Lake District opening hours are varied and they can be closed on certain days of the week (walking post-Covid19 lockdown restrictions means their opening hours could be even more erratic, so please check to avoid disappointment).