Eastern Fells

Eastern Fells

The Eastern Fells are a group of hills in the English Lake District. Centred on Helvellyn they primarily comprise a north south ridge running between Ullswater and Lakeland's Central Valley.

Partition of the Lakeland Fells

The Lake District is a National Park in the north west of the country and in addition to its lakes it contains a complex range of hills. These are locally known as fells and range from low hills to the highest ground in England. Hundreds of tops exist and many writers of fells and divided the range into areas to aid their description.

The most influential of all such writers was Alfred Wainwright whose "Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells" series has sold in excess of 2 million copies, [ [http://www.wainwright.org.uk/events/2007/centenary.html : The Wainwright Society - The Alfred Wainwright Centenary 2007] ] being in print continuously since the first volume was published in 1952. Wainwright divided the fells into seven geographical areas, each surrounded by valleys and low passes. While any such division must be arbitrary and later writers have deviated to a greater or lesser extent from this blueprint,Birkett, Bill: Complete Lakeland Fells: Collins Willow (1994) ISBN 0-00-218406-0] Richards, Mark: Lakeland Fellranger series: Collins (2002)ff: example ISBN 0-00-711367-6] the sevenfold division remains the best known partitioning of the fells into 'sub ranges', each with its own characteristics. The Eastern Fells are one of these divisions, covered by volume 1 of Wainwright's work.Alfred Wainwright: "A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells", Book 1: ISBN 0-7112-2454-4] .

Boundaries and Principal Sub-Groups

The Eastern Fells occupy the region between the A591 Keswick to Ambleside road and the lake of Ullswater to the west. The Helvellyn range forms the main spine of the group, running on a north south axis and remaining above 2,000 ft throughout its length. To the south of the Helvellyn range, across the depression of Grisedale Hause, is the Fairfield group of fells. There are also a number of subsidiary ridges and outliers, particularly to the east of the main range. The eastern fells constitute the largest, if not necessarily the wildest, area of high ground within the district, its long sweeping ridges the perfect environment for long distance walking.


The outliers of the eastern fells stand to the north of Ullswater, seemingly isolated hills rising out of an upland plateau between the lake and the wide lowlands to the north east. Great Mell Fell and Little Mell Fell are rounded "pudding basins", the first stirrings of Lakeland on the approach from Penrith, while Gowbarrow Fell shows the initial outcropping of rock.

The Helvellyn range proper begins in the north at Clough Head, which reverses the character of the rest of these fells by bearing its crags to the west and its long smooth slopes to the east. South from here are The Dodds, three fells clad in grass almost throughout. Great Dodd and Stybarrow Dodd throw out long ridges to the east, enclosing the marshy valley of Deepdale. Between the two is Watson's Dodd, a ridge top with considerably less prominence. The range now drops to a low point at Sticks Pass, a bridleway linking the settlements around Thirlmere and Ullswater. This is the only point on the main ridge below 2,500 ft.

South of the Sticks, the western slopes continue round and anodyne while the eastern flanks become craggier with every passing mile. Raise and White Side are followed by the highest of the eastern fells, Helvellyn. East from its summit plateau run the twin arêtes of Striding and Swirral Edges, the former easily the most famous ridge walk in Lakeland. The long valleys of Glenridding and Grisedale cut deep into the range from the shores of Ullswater, providing access to this walkers’ wonderland. The final tops of the Helvellyn range are Nethermost Pike and Dollywaggon Pike, both displaying shattered faces above Grisedale of which there is no hint in views from the west.. This is .

Access for Walkers

Ambleside provides a base at the south west corner of the range and there are numerous opportunities for car-parking (or more sustainable modes of transport) all along the A591. In the east, where the mountain scenery is so much more stirring to begin with, Patterdale provides the focal point. From here the long valleys of Grisedale and Glenridding can be used to gain access deep into the fells. Further south are the mouths of Deepdale and Dovedale, gateways to the rock scenery of the Fairfield Group. Mention should also be made of the Kirkstone Pass which provides a 1,500 ft headstart for climbs of Red Screes, together with a sales point for alcoholic beverages.

ee also

*Far Eastern Fells
*Central Fells
*Southern Fells
*Northern Fells
*North Western Fells
*Western Fells


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