Fellwalking – Newlands Horseshoe (Lake District, England)

Looking into Newlands Valley from Dale Head

“The traverse of the fells on either side of Newlands is a joyful exercise of sustained exhilaration with views both beautiful and dramatic every step of the way. Nowhere is the walking difficult; there are no hazards and a steady pace can be maintained along the tops. I rank the Newlands Horseshoe among the best”

Wainwright’s Favourite Lakeland Mountains

And for what it’s worth, I rank this amongst the best walks in Lakeland as well. The walk starts at the accurately named Little Town, there’s a small carpark just south of the village at Chapel Bridge. From the car park walk back up to the village and then west on to the bridleway that climbs uphill to join a path between Cat Bells to the north (left) and Maiden Moor to the south (right). Take the path south to Maiden Moor and continue along the ridge almost due south to High Spy, enjoying the great views into the Newlands Valley and Derwent Water and Borrowdale.

From High Spy the track continues southwards, descending to Dalehead tarn; when I was last there the actual path passed to the right of the tarn (the map shows the right of way to the left of the tarn) before a steep uphill pull westwards to the summit of Dale Head. From Dale Head continue westwards along Hindscarth Edge before turning north for the final climb up to Hindscarth. From here, the track descends along an attractive spur to Scope End before executing a u-turn and proceeding south to Goldscope Lead Mine and then turning back north along a footpath back to the start point at Chapel Bridge. The Swinside Inn, up the road to the north, provides an excellent spot for a post-walk beer.

A longer alternative, recommended by Wainwright in his Favourite Lakeland Mountains book, is to start at Hawes End, on the west bank of Derwent Water. From here you need to head due south up the spur to Cat Bells. Descending from Cat Bells into the col, you can pick up the track described above. On the return, you would need to continue through Little Town and pick up the footpath that continues on to Skelgill and then the road back to Hawes End.

My rating: A+
Maps: OL4 – The English Lakes: North Western area (1:25,000)
Wainwright’s guides: The North Western Fells (50th Anniversary Edition): Book Six (A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells)

Maiden Moor on the way to High Spy Summit cairn - Dale Head Spur from Hindscarth to Scope End Newlands Valley - looking towards Dale Head

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