Perhaps the best part of Hart Side is the journey to this little rounded grass and mossy bump of a fell slightly off the beaten track north of Glenridding. On the way the views overlooking Glencoyne Park to Ullswater are understated picturesque, the immediate landscape is rolling and gentle in contrast to the distant rugged fells.
The walk starts at Park Brow where there is a small National Trust car park for Aira Force. Crossing the road and clambering over the fence into Glencoyne Park, you meander amongst the trees, cross small trickling becks and brush through sometimes deep bracken. After 2.0km (1.2 miles) of gentle ascents the ground gets steeper and the views open out further. Above the valley of Glencoyne the path crosses marshy ground before climbing steeply again alongside a wall to Birkett Fell.
Birkett Fell was named only relatively recently. On the 8th February 1962 Lord Birkett made a critical speech in the House of Lords against a bill brought by the Manchester Corporation to make Ullswater into a reservoir providing water for their voracious city. The bill was defeated and Ullswater reprieved. Two days after the speech he died. A hitherto un-named fell was named in his honour. The Ullswater Yacht Club also commemorate him by holding the Lord Birkett Cup Trophy Race in July each year.
From Birkett Fell it is just a short stroll to the summit of Hart Side.
Park at the small National Trust car park at Park Brow on the Aira Force road. Leave the A592 Ullswater road by taking the A5091 to Dockray. 300m (330 yards) after the sharp right hand bend the car park is revealed with little warning. This is an alternative car park for Aira Force.
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
From the car park return to and cross the road, a signpost and step-stile are immediately opposite the entrance. Cross the stile - small dogs can probably wriggle under the fence - and bear left on the path which starts a little faintly at first. It is quite rough and wet at times with small becks and rises gently as it traverses across the fellside. Ignore turnings off the path, and if in any doubt keep slightly right. The path runs along a fine terrace in places.
The fellside is covered in a luxurious growth of bracken which is obviously so even in winter when it has died back. As well as small becks to cross there are some quite dramatic gills.
The path starts to diverge from the fence to the left, and rises slightly more steeply. There are fantastic views down to Ullswater.
Continue along the path to the gate in the wall coming down the fellside below Spying How. There is a wood the other side.
Go through the gate in the wall, under the falling down tree, and keep on the path as it rises again quite steeply. After what could be described as a prostrate larch swing right as the path enters a gully and climbs the fellside, bearing left at the top of the steep bit. Meeting the wall joining in from the right, go through the gate and bear left on the path just above the wall.
In just 200m (220 yards) the path bears right and climbs onto a boggy plateau. Follow the path across and onwards to join a wall. Cross the wall at the broken stone stile and immediately turn up right to follow a very faint path through the long grasses alongside the wall.
Avoid the temptation to bear left up rough, boggy, tussocky grass slopes direct to Hart Side. Follow the path alongside the wall, across a couple of dips to the crest of the ridge. Turn left to the visible cairn on Birkett Fell.
From the cairn on Birkitt Fell continue ahead, ESE, to cross a slightly boggy depression, then bear right to climbing gently to the rocky oasis of Hart Side.
There are 3 cairns scattered about the small summit plateau.
Signs of an old trench near the summit are thought to be associated with Greenside Mine. In Wainwright's day it was more obvious and defined than it is today.
Return to Park Brow by retracing your steps.
On the way back, it really is a good plan to rejoin the wall by going back over Birkett Fell as cutting the corner off takes you through very tussocky grass interspersed with marshy hollows, becks, and general unpleasantness. It looks quite benign when looking across it but it really isn't much fun.
Follow the wall down to the clear cross-path and turn left through the gap. Traverse the fellside below Brown Hills to join another wall, and go back through the gate to descend below Spying How and through Glencoyne Park.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|Aira Force and Gowbarrow Fell||0.5km (0.3 miles) away|
|Greenside Mine and Glenridding Beck Circular Stroll||3.7km (2.3 miles) away|
|Lanty's Tarn, Birkhouse Moor, Red Tarn, Catstycam||3.7km (2.3 miles) away|
|Glenridding Dodd||3.7km (2.3 miles) away|
|Lanty's Tarn, Keldas, and Patterdale Circular||3.7km (2.3 miles) away|
|White Side and Raise, from Glenridding||3.8km (2.3 miles) away|
|Helvellyn, The Classic Ridges of Striding and Swirral Edge||3.8km (2.3 miles) away|
|Glenridding Dodd, Heron Pike and Sheffield Pike||3.8km (2.4 miles) away|
|Little Mell Fell||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|A Fusedale Round: Steel Knotts, Loadpot Hill, Arthur's Pike, Bonscale Pike||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|Beda Fell from Martindale||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|Steel Knotts - Pikeawassa||4.1km (2.5 miles) away|
|Hallin Fell||4.1km (2.5 miles) away|
|Great Mell Fell||4.3km (2.7 miles) away|
|Place Fell and a stroll alongside Ullswater||4.5km (2.8 miles) away|
|Birks and Arnison Crag||4.6km (2.8 miles) away|
|A visit to Place Fell overlooking Ullswater||4.6km (2.8 miles) away|
|St Sunday Crag and Grisedale Tarn||4.6km (2.8 miles) away|
Unless otherwise stated the text in this walk is the copyright of Hug Solutions Ltd trading as The Hug and the photographs are the copyright of Elizabeth Oldham. Hill data is derived from Database of British and Irish hills which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Maps contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011 and paths © OpenStreetMap Contributors,CC-BY-SA, 2011