Although Buttermere may be one of the smaller lakes in the Lake District, what it lacks in size, it certainly makes up for in natural attractions, and is a tourist hotspot in summer for this very reason. The fells, or rolling hills that surround the lake and village, provide what has become known as some of the best walking in the Lake District. Here are some details of fells you can expect to see in the Buttermere area:
Grasmoor: There are also views of Scafell Range to the South, and the High Stile/Red Pike area to the South East. The summit of Grasmoor is one of the highest in the North Western Fells, rising to 852m or 2,791 ft. The gradient can be steep in places, and as such there are impassable routes, or those best left to experienced walkers. Grasmoor was mentioned by author and keen walker Alfred Wainwright in his series ‘A Pictorial Guide To The Lakeland Fells, with book 6 covering the North Western Fells. Ordnance Survey Maps and GPS details are readily available for anyone planning a walk.
Haystacks: Size really doesn’t matter when it comes to fells in the Lake District, especially when climbing one affords you views of some of the major peaks in the Lake District, and the surrounding countryside. The summit of Haystacks is just 597m, but it was still a favourite of Alfred Wainwright. A suggested walk combines both Haystacks and the Honister Pass, a road that connects Buttermere Valley with Borrowdale Valley. Approximately 5 ½ miles long, this ‘moderate’ trek begins at the top of Honister Pass, and passes old quarry trackbeds and buildings, streams, and mountain pools called Tarns. The summit of Haystacks is great for those who enjoy scrambling, and there are views over to Great Gable and Scafell Pike.
Robinson: This fell was named after a landowner who bought estates in the area many centuries ago. The fell comprises several steep sections, marshland, and a broad plateau at the summit. The south side of Robinson falls down into the Buttermere Valley, while the north side overlooks the Newlands Valley. Pathfinder Guides for walkers with some experience, suggest a walk that starts in the Newlands Valley, and also covers Robinson and Hindscarth. Along the way you will see evidence of past mining activity in the area, and will pass near Goldscope Mine, one of the Lake Districts past success stories in mining.
High Stile: Alfred Wainwright wrote of the summit of High Stile in his ‘Pictorial Guide To The Western Fells’, noting that “the view becomes truly aerial, with an uninterrupted picture in depth from the zenith of the sky to the rock on which one stands”. A pleasant walk along the summit ridge, and the views over the surrounding fells and lakes, are the rewards for conquering High Stile, a fell which is accessible from a number of different directions. One popular challenge for fell walkers is to follow a route taking in Red Pike, High Stile, and High Crag, on the South West shore of Buttermere Lake. If you descend toward Scale Beck, you’ll also be able to view Scale Force, a waterfall that has been popular with visitors since Victorian times.
These are just a few of the popular sites that attract fell walkers to the Buttermere area; there are many more treats to be found here, and around the National Park. The popularity of the walks around the park mean there are erosion scars to be found in some areas. This had led to the founding of ‘Fix The Fells’, a five year partnership involving the Lake District National Park Authority, The National Trust, Natural England, and The Heritage Lottery Fund. They take on practical conservation work on the fells, and also run awareness projects, to educate the public on this valuable landscape and how it needs to be conserved.