19th June 2013

A walk around the Devoke Water fells


Walk Overview
Time 12.30 to 4.15pm
Duration 3 hr 45 min
Distance 8 mile
Ascent 2000 ft
Walking with On my own
Birker Fell Road - Devoke Water - Rigg Beck - Woodend Height - Yoadcastle - Stainton Pike - Holehouse Tarn - Whitfell - Storthes - Hesk Fell - Woodend Bridge - Birker Fell Road
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Roadside parking, near Devoke Water (Birker Fell road)

Being one of the least frequented area of the Lake District means that the limited parking around here is generally adequate anyway. The obvious place to park to reach Devoke Water is at the crossroads at the Birker Fell Road for High Ground or Devoke Water. Although, there are a actually couple of other places close by with space for a couple of cars each.

Needless to say parking is free.


Route Map

It's strange where you can end up during the course of day isn't it. Taking the afternoon of work nearly didn't happen anyway, and when it did, I set off with the intention of walking somewhere from Wasdale Head (I was going to decide when I got there). Just past Gosforth I got stuck behind not just one but two tractors and was making painfully slow progress. "This is a waste of my time" I said out loud. So, I turned round and headed to Eskdale instead. It's been a couple of years since I've walked these fells so a snap decision was made and the route was worked out in my head as I drove here.

A short walk from the car and you reach Devoke Water. A lovely quiet spot where you generally see more people fishing than walking.


The boathouse and fisherman.

As nice as it is down there, I needed to leave the footpath after walking only a short way around the edge of the tarn. I was heading up to Woodend Height.

Woodend Height summit.

A view across to Yoadcastle (straight ahead), Stainton Pike (the rocky bit to the right) and Whitfell (the highest point on the skyline).

Looking back to Yoadcastle.

Stainton Pike summit with the north western fells in the distance. The pointed fell to the left of the cairn is Great Gable.

Looking t'other way and you see the Coniston fells in the distance. The whaleback fell in the centre of the picture is Hesk Fell; I'll be there later in the walk.

Holehouse Tarn in front of Stainton Pike. It was quite windy up here today, as the water helps to show.

Lots of space but not quite as secluded as I thought at the time. When I got back to the car, a lady came across and asked "are you the guy that's just walked from Yoadcastle to Stainton Pike and Whitfell". She then said "We saw you leave Yoadcastle and as we weren't sure which way to go, we followed the route you took to Stainton Pike. We sat there and watched you walk all the way to Whitfell".
You never know when you're being watched from a distance do you. It's a good job I wasn't up to no good.

Whitfell trig point

and the very large summit cairn.

Rather than stick to the higher (drier) ground I decided to give it a go and take a more direct route across from Whitfell to Hesk Fell. Whenever I've considered this in the past I always felt it would be just a bit too wet down there. However, we've had a decent spell of dry weather so it was now or never.

Right, lets see just how wet it actually is.


Two streams to cross. Both easy enough to step over but judging by the colour of the water, I wouldn't like to fall in.

Looking back to Whitfell.
Thankfully it wasn't that wet as it turned out, although, all the evidence was there to tell me this would not always be the case. After a few days rain you you might find it difficult to get across in a straight line and with dry feet. After weeks of rain and ( or ) snow melt, I'd describe this as no mans land.

Hesk Fell summit and it's rather small cairn.

A close up of Seathwaite Tarn.

As the afternoon progressed the cloud and haze seemed to be clearing to give near perfect viewing conditions. Taken from the side of Hesk Fell, here you can see Caw, Stickle Pike and part of Duddon Valley.

A close up of Crosbythwaite and Crosbythwaite Farm.

Devoke Water comes back into view as you walk down from Hesk Fell. You also get a good view of the little hamlet of Woodend.

I'm almost down to the road now. It's about a mile and a half back to the car from here.

A final view across to Caw and Stickle Pike. It appears that I'm in the complete middle of nowhere, but there is actually a road across there.

Woodend Bridge.

A view back along the Birker Fell road to Hesk Fell. Considering what the rest of the fell is like, it must have taken a lot of time and effort to get those fields into such good condition. No doubt the fields and the walls go back to the time when Woodend was a Quaker settlement.

Bow Fell, Crinkle Crags, Harter Fell and Green Crag.

What a great afternoon in a truly fantastic place.
And to finish, a picture looking across to Illgill Head, Kirk Fell, the top of Great Gable, Scafell, Slight Side, Esk Pike, Bow Fell and Crinkle Crags, , , , , not a bad collections of fells to see on one go.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks