Hampsfell and Humphrey Head

View from Hampsfell
View from Hampsfell

Route Introduction

Hampsfell and Humphrey Head are the most southerly of Alfred Wainwright’s Outlying Fells of Lakeland. Only Hampsfell falls within the Lake District National Park but both are beautiful fells. This route card suggests a fantastic route for someone peak bagging the Outlying Fells of Lakeland.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on Monday 7th December 2020. These were Outlier numbers 97 and 98 of 116 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag these outlying fells too.

Hampsfell and Humphrey Head Route Stats

Fells: Hampsfell (220m) and Humphrey Head (53m)

Total Distance: 16.5km / 10.3miles

Total Ascent: 310m / 1,000ft

Approx Walk Time: 5 hours

Grid Reference Start: SD 390741

Hampsfell and Humphrey Head Route Report

The Lead Up

The previous day I’d hiked Dunmallard Hill and Heughscar Hill and I decided to seize upon the stable, crisp winter weather window and head down south to Grange-over-Sands to continue my peak bagging quest to hike all of the Outlying Fells of Lakeland.

The Approach to Allithwaite

From Holy Well Lane car park, I walked north over the cattle grid and headed down Holy Well Lane. After 700 metres I turned right onto the bridleway to head east.

Finger post marking the start of the bridleway
Finger post marking the start of the bridleway

At the end of bridleway, I passed through a gate and turned left to walk alongside the wall. The trail was grassy and muddy in places.

Stone stile in the wall
Stone stile in the wall

I passed over a stone stile on my left and proceeded immediately through a small gate.

Small gate leading into field
Small gate leading into field

This led across a field of sheep before leading to a passage under the railway line.

Train travelling overhead
Train travelling overhead

After exiting the tunnel I continued straight on, hugging the right hand side of the field. I crossed a tarmac track and continued walking north through a gap in the wall, following a fingerpost for the Cumbria Coastal Way.

Sign for the Cumbria Coastal Way
Sign for the Cumbria Coastal Way

I walked through another field to a gate in the top right hand corner. This led into another field and to another gate, which led onto a short boardwalk and over a stile. This field had farm buildings over to the right which I walked alongside, heading to a ladder stile.

Route past the barn to the ladder stile
Route past the barn to the ladder stile

I passed over this into the next field and went through a gate which led on to exit the field through a gate leading onto a lane. Here, I turned left and walked north along the lane before turning left again at the T-junction for Jack Hill. I then took the first right, around the front of the Pheasant Inn pub to walk uphill on Church Road through Allithwaite.

Allithwaite to Fell End

When the road forked I took the left hand fork which led onto a residential side street.

Sign to Cartmel
Sign to Cartmel

At the next junction I followed the sign for Cartmel and continued uphill passing Saint Mary’s Church and Allithwaite Primary School on my left.

I took the next right as the gradient began to flatten out onto Wart Barrow Lane. It was along this road that I saw a bench and sat and ate my lunch there.

Lunchtime view from the bench
Lunchtime view from the bench

Setting back off I soon saw the stile in the wall on the right.

Stone stile into the field
Stone stile into the field

I used this and walked along the field which cut the corner of the country road.

From here I was treated to lovely views over to the distant snow-capped Coniston fells.

View to snow capped Coniston fells
View to snow capped Coniston fells

It was only two days earlier that I was right opposite the Old Man of Coniston on Top O Selside.

I merged back onto the road over another stone stile next to a large metal gate and continued to the next T junction. Here I turned left followed by an immediate right, beside the cemetery to walk up Grange Fell Road.

Cemetery
Cemetery

I passed the golf club and continued uphill.

I took my next left onto Spring Bank Road to head north, but soon followed a finger post for Cartmel over a stone stile.

Finger post to Cartmel
Finger post to Cartmel

This led onto the open fellside. I headed north and decided to veer north west to the summit of Fell End.

Fell End to Hampsfell Hospice

Looking back on the ascent of Fell End
Looking back on the ascent of Fell End

Behind me was a beautiful view across Morecambe Bay which was glistening in the sunlight.

I left the summit to the north following a grassy trail that led to a large gate. I used the stile to the left of the gate and then ascended once again to the north.

View to Hampsfell Hospice from the descent of Fell End
View to Hampsfell Hospice from the descent of Fell End

The boxy Hampsfell Hospice soon came into view in the distance and the trail ahead led to it, passing over one more stone stile along the way.

The Summit – Hampsfell

Hampsfell Hospice
Hampsfell Hospice

At the summit I explored the Hampsfell Hospice site which was built in 1846.

Signs in Hampsfell Hospice
Signs in Hampsfell Hospice

You can peer inside and read poetry mounted on plaques.

Stone steps up to the roof of Hampsfell Hospice
Stone steps up to the roof of Hampsfell Hospice

You can also ascend the stone steps on the outside of Hampsfell Hospice to walk on the roof.

List of sights which can be seen from Hampsfell
List of sights which can be seen from Hampsfell

There you will find a list of fells and towns visible from Hampsfell plus the corresponding bearing for each. The list includes some familiar Outlying Fells of Lakeland like Black Combe, Caw and Walna Scar.

Couple reaching the summit of Hampsfell
Couple reaching the summit of Hampsfell

On a good day you can see as far as Blackpool, the Howgill fells and Ingleborough.

Viewfinder on Hampsfell Hospice
Viewfinder on Hampsfell Hospice

The viewfinder is looking a little worse for wear these days but it is very charming.

Decorated stone on Hampsfell
Decorated stone on Hampsfell

On the top there was also a stone which read ‘One day you will look back and realise the little things are the BIG things’ which for me sums up the joy of the smaller Outlying Fells of Lakeland.

The Descent – Hampsfell

The Coniston Fells from Hampsfell
The Coniston Fells from Hampsfell

As I left Hampsfell Hospice I followed one of the many trails which headed south east through the patchy sections of limestone pavement.

Limestone pavement on Hampsfell
Limestone pavement on Hampsfell

There was one slightly awkward section of limestone pavement at the bottom which would be slippery in the wet, but I got down with no worries and immediately went over the ladder stile.

Ladder stile on Hampsfell
Ladder stile on Hampsfell

The trail led downhill to a stone stile. I went over this and continued walking beside a fence along a grassy path.

I went through a gate at the bottom and turned left to head down the lane.

Gate into woodland
Gate into woodland

Following a public footpath sign on the left, I entered woodland through a metal gate. There are a few options for exiting the woodland, but my GPX trace will show that I exited using the right of way behind a large building and down multiple flights of steps through Lieutenant Colonel Austin Townsend Porritt’s Garden before reaching Main Street.

Grange-over-Sands to Humphrey Head

Here I turned right and crossed the road to head down into a large car park to gain access to the Promenade.

Tunnel under railway to promenade
Tunnel under railway to promenade

Behind the Commodore Inn there is a tunnel under the railway line which I passed through. At the other side I turned right onto the promenade.

Cyclist on Grange-over-Sands promenade
Cyclist on Grange-over-Sands promenade

I walked right to the end of the promenade and turned right under the railway. I walked along Carter Fold which led to Cart Lane. There I kept walking south past houses that must have wonderful views across the bay until the lane became a thin path.

Path towards Humphrey Head
Path towards Humphrey Head

This path led to a staircase. I turned left at the top of the staircase to walk along Kentsford Road. I soon reached Kents Bank railway station.

Kents Bank Railway Station with Humphrey Head in the distance
Kents Bank Railway Station with Humphrey Head in the distance

Here I showed caution crossing the railway and exited through the gate on the other side.

Gap in the wall towards Humphrey Head
Gap in the wall towards Humphrey Head

I passed through a gap in the wall to walk along the thin promenade in the direction of Humphrey Head which was now looming in front of me in the fading light.

It was here that I wondered if I’d make it before the sunset, so I increased my pace. The thin promenade didn’t last forever and soon I was following a mushy trail but I could now see the path that I started on, on the other side of the bay. I re-joined the path and turned right back onto the bridleway.

Gate to Humphrey Head
Gate to Humphrey Head

At the end of the bridleway I turned left, but instead of following the lane back to the car I took the next left through a gate.

The Summit – Humphrey Head

Grassy ascent of Humphrey Head
Grassy ascent of Humphrey Head

I peeled off the lane and followed the spine of Humphrey Head along the grassy trail, passing through one more gate along the way.

View from the summit of Humphrey Head
View from the summit of Humphrey Head

The true summit of this tiny fell is actually 150m before trig pillar so I took a few photos here before walking on to the trig.

Sunset at the Humphrey Head trig pillar
Sunset at the Humphrey Head trig pillar

I continued to walk part way down the nose of the limestone peninsula towards the vast expanse of Morecambe Bay.

Humphrey Head Point
Humphrey Head Point

For a moment I considered returning to the car off Humphrey Head point via the saltmarsh but I didn’t fancy crossing the soft sediment alone after sunset as the channels are often deep and impassable.

Memorial gate on Humphrey Head at sunset
Memorial gate on Humphrey Head at sunset

I therefore retraced my steps and paused at the gate by the trig pillar for a while, enjoying the sunset.

Sunset from Humphrey Head
Sunset from Humphrey Head

Today – 7th December 2020 – marked 10 years since one of the worst days of my life, a bereavement that will never leave me.

I couldn’t think of a better way to mark the day than with a glorious pink sunset in a stunning Cumbrian location.

The Descent – Humphrey Head

Pink skies above Humphrey Head after sunset
Pink skies above Humphrey Head after sunset

I considered a route off the side of the crag directly down to the car but I was told this is a very steep and slippery descent on limestone and mud so it’s not one I’d recommend alone in the dark either. I therefore retraced my steps back to Holy Well Lane and to my car.

Wrapping Up

Up next would be Newton Fell (North Top).

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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