Flat Fell and Dent

Route Introduction

Flat Fell and Dent are two of Alfred Wainwright’s Outlying Fells of Lakeland. They’re situated on the western edge of the Lake District National Park. This route card suggests a fantastic route for someone peak bagging the Outlying Fells of Lakeland.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on Saturday 30th May 2020. These were Outlier numbers 1 and 2 of 116 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag these outlying fells too.

Flat Fell and Dent Route Stats

Fells: Flat Fell (272m) and Dent (346m)

Total Distance: 8.2km / 5.09miles

Total Ascent: 390m / 1,280ft

Approx Walk Time: 2.5 hours

Grid Reference Start: NY 031144

Flat Fell and Dent Route Report

The Lead Up

My boyfriend James and I discussed easing ourselves back into hill walking gently after a long absence during the corona virus pandemic, where we stayed at home alongside the rest of the nation during late March, April and early May of 2020.

We have both ‘compleated’ rounds of the Wainwrights so Alfred Wainwright’s Outlying Fells of Lakeland seemed like the perfect way to recommence hill walking whilst remaining sensitive to the pandemic restrictions and guidelines.

Based out of Cockermouth, we started with the western and northern fells, prioritising those with parking outside of the national park and away from residents.

We selected Flat Fell and Dent as our first two fells, for a sunny afternoon hike.

We parked the car in a large layby in the Wath Brow area of Cleator Moor and headed north east over a bridge to start the walk.

The Ascent

Views on the ascent of Flat Fell
Views on the ascent of Flat Fell

The initial part of the walk took us along the tarmacked road before we turned right to head southeast up Nannycatch Road.

Views on the ascent of Flat Fell
Views on the ascent of Flat Fell

At the end of the road, we followed a finger post signed for Nannycatch Gate before heading up the grassy hillside towards the summit of Flat Fell.

The Summit – Flat Fell

We reached the summit in glorious sunshine.

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Flat Fell in the Lake District National Park
Adventurer Nic on the summit of Flat Fell in the Lake District National Park

The summit of Flat Fell is marked by an elaborate cairn.

Summit of Flat Fell
Summit of Flat Fell

You can clearly see the Wainwright of Grike from the summit, and beyond to Great Borne and Grasmoor beyond that.

Linking the Fells

We followed Alfred Wainwright’s advice from his book – The Outlying Fells of Lakeland – and descended down in a south easterly direction.

James Forrest on the descent of Flat Fell towards Nannycatch Gate
James Forrest on the descent of Flat Fell towards Nannycatch Gate

The terrain steepens here as you descend through sparse bracken to the valley bottom. Aim for Nannycatch Gate which is visible from above.

James Forrest pauses just above Nannycatch Gate
James Forrest pauses just above Nannycatch Gate

We passed through Nannycatch Gate and headed down the wide track.

James Forrest crosses a stream in the picturesque valley bottom between Flat Fell and Dent
James Forrest crosses a stream in the picturesque valley bottom between Flat Fell and Dent

There are useful wooden footbridges over the small streams.

Walking through the valley, linking Flat Fell with Dent
Walking through the valley, linking Flat Fell with Dent

The valley was really quiet and beautiful as we walked alongside Kirk Beck.

We started climbing again at the side of Raven Crag following a clear path. We sat for a while on the slopes and had five minutes truly re-connecting with nature.

Views from the ascent of Dent
Views from the ascent of Dent

Having been cooped up for so long due to the pandemic we wanted to really appreciate being in the hills again. We watched the sheep grazing, a butterfly landing on the ground beside us, a bee buzzing behind us and we admired the woodland beside Lagget Beck that rose up in front of us. What a joy it was to be back.

Views from the ascent of Dent
Views from the ascent of Dent

We recommenced our walk and passed through two gates. A the second, we turned around and realised Scafell Pike and Scafell were now visible behind us. Two giants of the Lake District (the highest two points in England).

Looking through the cotton grass to Scafell Pike and Scafell
Looking through the cotton grass to Scafell Pike and Scafell

The Summit – Dent

Gaining the summit plateau of Dent, we first passed a small cairn, which indicated the true summit (the highest point at 352m).

The highest point on Dent
The highest point on Dent

But Wainwright favours the north west summit further along (at 346m), marked by a much bigger cairn.

Adventurer Nic approaching the Wainwright summit of Dent
Adventurer Nic approaching the Wainwright summit of Dent

The Descent

We enjoyed sea views on the descent.

Looking towards the Isle of Man
Looking towards the Isle of Man

We could see the hazy outline of the Isle of Man rising up out of the water in the distance.

Adventurer Nic descending Dent
Adventurer Nic descending Dent

Sellafield nuclear power station was visible on one side. I preferred the view to Criffel in Dumfries and Galloway on the other.

We descended until the grass gave way to woodland.

Woodland on the descent of Dent in Cumbria
Woodland on the descent of Dent in Cumbria

Passing through the woodland, we reached the road, which led back to the bridge at the beginning of the walk.

Wrapping Up

The bridge at the end of the walk
The bridge at the end of the walk

All in all it was a great afternoon hike. Next on the list was something a little more challenging, 12 Outlying Fells of Lakeland situated south of Devoke Water.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist, Wainwright ‘Compleator’ and is hiking her local Outlying Fells of Lakeland in the wake of the corona virus pandemic. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

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