The delightful village of Grasmere is a mecca for visitors to the Lake District, filled with delicious eateries and an array of local gift shops and art galleries. It is also a destination for walkers, with paths leading in all directions into the surrounding cirque of fells.
Helm Crag, the conical peak which overlooks the village, is an ever popular objective and the walk can be extended along the ridge over Gibson Knott with a loop back down the secluded valley of Far Easedale.
The way is rough and steep and requires some wayfinding skills, especially in poor visibility.
From Grasmere to Helm Crag
In the centre of Grasmere you will find the excellent Sam Read Bookseller - a great spot for lovers of literature. From almost opposite the shop, Easedale Road heads north west out of the village.
The road goes through woodland and past houses and continues towards the Lancrigg Hotel. The drive to the hotel has a sign pointing to Helm Crag. Walk down the hotel drive and then through the grounds, following more signs to Helm Crag.
From the hotel, a path leads through woods and emerges into a small clearing, with a quarry and more woodland on the hillside above. Follow the path uphill past the quarry and then steeply uphill beside a wall.
This path makes a sharp dogleg to emerge onto the fellside, with ever improving views across towards Easedale and Grasmere Common. It then snakes its way steadily upwards, finally swinging to the north west to emerge on the summit of Helm Crag.
At 405m, Helm Crag is far from Lakeland’s highest fell, but is deservedly one of the most popular. This is partly due, of course, to its proximity to such a popular spot as Grasmere, as well as the wonderful panoramic views across the encircling higher fells. However, it is also a peak that is well known for its rocky architecture.
Approaching from Grasmere, walkers first come across the twin rock formations known most commonly as ‘the Lion and the Lamb’, although they have also been likened to an old lady playing an organ or piano. Further along the ridge the protruding ‘barrel’ of ‘the Howitzer’ makes a distinctive silhouette against the skyline.
Helm Crag to Far Easedale and Grasmere
Continuing north west beyond the Howitzer, the path drops downhill and then climbs again over Gibson Knott. The route continues to track roughly westwards along the ridge. Although it is very well trodden, the path is occasionally indistinct and care is needed. In poor visibility a compass bearing is useful. Eventually, you will reach Calf Crag, where the route drops down towards the western end of Far Easedale.
The path into Far Easedale branches off at a very sharp angle, dropping downhill and eastwards and eventually running alongside Far Easedale Gill.
The path keeps following the gill and eventually becomes a well made track. From here, look out for signs to Grasmere. Follow these past farm buildings to eventually reach Easedale Road once more and the route back into the village.