Heughscar Hill is an excellent short walk from the hamlet of Roehead, not far from Pooley Bridge. It has dramatic distant views to the Helvellyn range at the far end of Ullswater, a circle of stones, and small outcrops of limestone pavement.
Limestone in the Lake District is quite rare. The rock here is mostly volcanic, but here and there is limestone formed from the shells and corals of an ancient sea. Although having been compressed for millennia into quite a hard rock it can be etched and eroded by slightly acidic rainwater to form the classic pavements more usually associated with the Yorkshire Dales. Another feature in common with the Dales are shakeholes, or as those who study the way the geology has changed over time, geomorphologists, call them: subsidence dolines. Shakehole sounds more exciting.
There is an informal parking beside the road at Roehead, where this walk starts. To get to Roehead, take the B5320 road out from the centre of Pooley Bridge to Penrith, at the mini-roundabout bear right taking the minor road to Martindale. At the crossroads go straight ahead signposted Howe Hill caravan site, continuing to the end of the road where it widens to allow some rough parking spaces.
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
At the end of the road bear right through the gateway signposted Helton and take the track climbing steadily along the fellside for approximately 1.0km (0.6 miles).
A number of tracks join in from the left. Similarly faint paths dive off the track to the right, but ignore them until finding one with a large squat pile of stones beside the junction.
Bear right onto the gravelled path. After about 400m (440 yards) the path deteriorates back to natural grass and bog and, after another 100m (110 yards), the stone circle can be found immediately to your left. It is marked as "The Cockpit" on the OS 25K map.
From the stone circle turn left onto another gravel path. This meanders a little, but eventually swings back towards Heughscar Hill and the outward track.
Reaching the track cross it, to follow the wide grass path climbing steadily. Stick with it as it bears left again after 350m (385 yards) to aim roughly for the corner of a plantation of trees on the skyline.
Meeting another wide path as you near the trees bear left to a small cairn where there are excellent views down to Ullswater. Then bear right to the slightly higher summit cairn. The cairn further right much nearer the trees is slightly lower.
Continue on from the summit now heading approximately north, a little section of limestone pavement breaks through the grass. Approaching Heugh Scar the drop to the left steepens appreciably, continue to the end of the scar.
At the end of the escarpment turn left on a path dropping steeply through the bracken and reaching the track at the bottom, turn left again. You can now look back at the scar from below.
In 100m (110 yards) bear right through a clump of straggly gorse and follow the better path beyond. Reaching another track bear left to the metalled track used on the ascent. Turn right to return to Roehead.
With the plethera of paths and tracks in the area it isn't really important that you catch the ones specified here, they all return to the metalled track from where it is an easy matter to turn right back to the start.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|Dunmallet||1.3km (0.8 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