The expanse of Blencathra from the summit of Great Mell Fell

The expanse of Blencathra from the summit of Great Mell Fell

Great Mell Fell is a prominent hill located in the Lake District National Park in Cumbria, England. It is a stand-alone conical fell situated in the northern part of the Lake District, between the towns of Penrith and Keswick. With an elevation of 537 meters (1,762 feet), Great Mell Fell offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding high peaks and especially Blencathra.

This easily accessible and family-friendly hill is a great short 2,5 mile up and down walk providing rewarding big views outdoor experience in the picturesque landscapes of the Lake District.

The unassuming but wonderful Great Mell Fell from the roadside
The unassuming but wonderful Great Mell Fell from the roadside

Social Wellness Walks

Overview of Great Mell Fell

Great Mell Fell is a remarkable mountain located in the Lake District of England. It stands at an elevation of approximately just 537 meters yet offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

With its distinctive conical shape, Great Mell Fell stands out among the neighboring fells. Covered in lush greenery, it presents a picturesque sight for hikers and nature enthusiasts. The mountain is characterized by its gentle slopes, making it accessible to individuals of varying hiking abilities.

Aside from its physical features, Great Mell Fell holds historical and cultural significance. In ancient times, it was used as a meeting point for local communities and played a role in shaping the social fabric of the area. The mountain is also home to several archaeological sites, adding to its cultural importance.

Clouds blowing over Western Fells
View from Great Mell Fell: Clouds blowing over Western Fells

Parking

As you drive along the A66, about 3 miles East of the Troutbeck turnoff there is lane that heads south towards Matterdale Head. Take this lane for approximately two and a half miles until it suddenly gets wooded. You can’t have missed the pudding shaped hill of Great Mell Fell on your right at this point. A rough track leads off to your right and at this junction I find it best to park in the layby and start the walk.

the start point in the woods

Route Description for Great Mell Fell

Starting from the layby parking area follow the well-marked path towards Great Mell Fell. Here is a step-by-step guide for the most popular route:

  1. Begin by walking towards the fell across the lane, and you will see the clearly defined path.
  2. As you continue, you’ll pass through a gate. Make sure to close it behind you.
  3. The path will start to ascend gradually, taking you through a mixture of woodland, grassy terrain and rocky sections.
  4. Keep following the path as it winds its way up the fell, offering beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.
  5. As you near the summit, the path may become steeper, but it remains well-defined and easy to follow.
  6. Once you reach the top, take some time to enjoy the panoramic views of the Lake District and its surrounding peaks.
  7. To return, retrace your steps back along the same path, carefully descending the fell. In fact this hill has a few options to add variety on the way down. With it being a short climb it is very hard to get lost.
  8. Remember to watch your footing, especially on the rocky sections, and take your time on the way down.
  9. Once you reach the gate near the parking area, exit through it and close it securely.

Taking In The Climb and Nature

The start of the walk is up a dirt lane and immediately through the woods. A wonderful start to the walk at any time of the year.

Scots Pine
Scots Pine

Within 10 minutes, the second gate on the right, a wide gate with a style on its right is the signal to climb over and get on the path up, from there it truly is follow your nose, up and up to the top. The trees become less frequent and you can see them twisted and bent over where they have been weathered for years.

Long Tailed Tit on Great Mell Fell
Long Tailed Tit on Great Mell Fell

The windswept trees become fewer and fewer and as the views out open up the views beside you get different all the time. I stopped to look around and flying from tree to tree, making a nice noisy racket, was a flock of Long Tailed Tits. In fact they seemed to follow me for a bit, always a tree behind.

Lonely windswept tree
Lonely windswept tree
From Great Mell Fell - Looking over the Eden Valley and Penrith to Cross Fell and the Pennines
From Great Mell Fell – Looking over the Eden Valley and Penrith to Cross Fell and the Pennines

Even half way up you get a great sense of expanse and views, never mind what was to come. Looking back you can see back down the grassy path and a wonderful view over Matterdale.

Looking back over Matterdale from half way up
Looking back over Matterdale from half way up

To the East the wide open Eden Valley with the North Pennines and Cross Fell towering in the distance, and to the West the Helvellyn Range with Striding edge and Swirral Edge on show, often covered in sweeping cloud as I pass here, today it showed its edges and pointed tops.

Over to Catstycam and the unmistakeable Helvellyn and ridges behind
Over to Catstycam and the unmistakeable Helvellyn and ridges behind

Enjoying the Summit

A great part about this walk is that you see so many great views on the way that when you get to the top you are absolutely spoilt rotten! The whole of Blencathra and beyond lies in front of you.

Blencathra from Great Mell Fell
Blencathra from Great Mell Fell

The valley holding the A66 opens up left to right and the road full of cars below just look a tiny blip on the landscape.

great mell fell summit
Looking towards the Vale of Keswick from the little summit cairn of Great Mell Fell

The summit is marked by a tiny pile of stones like a mini cairn. The spectacular is left to the views.

Taking a last look at Blencathra and its ridges before heading down
Taking a last look at Blencathra and its ridges before heading down

Alas, it was time again to head down. Back through the open grass, through the pines and oaks, listening to the birds singing in Autumn sunshine and all the while with views to stare at.

Windswept trees of Great Mell Fell
Windswept trees of Great Mell Fell

Conclusion

Great Mell Fell is unassuming yet a walk to its summit brings inspiration and massive views. A short climb that is rewarding in any season and is very family friendly.

Hovering cloud over Carrock Fell
Hovering cloud over Carrock Fell looking from Great Mell Fell

If you have half a day free when staying in the North Lakes area then I highly recommend a gentle walk up its slopes.

More in the area:

Share with your friends!
Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Similar Posts

4 Comments

  1. wellycath says:

    Lovely pics & fab views. You’ve made me want to go up there now! 🙂

    1. Paul Steele says:

      you must! 😀 tis lovely

  2. Jim Bennett says:

    One of my local fells and usually I have it all to my self a fantastic corner of the lake district. One of my favourite fells.

    1. Paul Steele says:

      Hi Jim.. yes I find myself being able to ponder alone up there.. wonderful isn’t it?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *