Hart Side is a fell in the English Lake District and is an outlier
of the Helvellyn range in the Eastern Fells.
The Ordnance Survey
maps give the name to a broad saddle dropping from White Stones on
Stybarrow Dodd, but Wainwright in his Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland
Fells gave the name to the lower top to the north of this depression. By
his convention the entire ridge between the valleys of Deepdale and
Glencoyne is known as Hart Side.
This ridge runs roughly north eastward for around
3 miles, gradually losing height until being cut off by Aira Beck at
To the north of Hart Side is Deepdale, not to be
confused with a valley of the same name near Patterdale.
Beck drops suddenly over a waterfall at Dowthwaitehead and from then on
is renamed Aira Beck, continuing north east and then coming round to the
south to meet the middle reach of Ullswater.
boundary of Hart Side is formed at first by the steep sided valley of
Glencoyne, falling due east to the upper reach of Ullswater, and then by
the lakeshore itself.
From White Stones, which is properly part
of Stybarrow Dodd, a flat topped saddle leads north to Hart Side.
From here the ridge turns sharply east to the twin summit of Birkett
Fell (2,434 ft). This was named in honour of Norman (Lord) Birkett in
In addition to his role as a judge at the Nuremberg Trials,
Birkett was a strong defender of the Lake District and was instrumental
in the defeat of a plan to raise Ullswater and convert it into a
reservoir. The scheme was finally abandoned only a week before his
The fell bears a cairn built of stone from the lakeshore
with a slate plaque inscribed "Birkett Fell". A second memorial on
Kailpot Crag carries the inscription "He loved Ullswater. He strove to
maintain its beauty for all to enjoy."
Within the sharp corner of
the ridge is Glencoyne Head, the craggy head of that valley.
opening here is the northern end of the Glencoyne or High Horse Level of
Greenside mine, driven a mile through the rock of Sheffield Pike. This
was perhaps the most successful of all the Lakeland mines, winning lead
and silver for over 200 years and abandoned only in 1962.
number of old miners tracks can still be traced on Hart Side,
particularly the "Terrace" which contours along the southern side of the
ridge from Park Brow to the mine opening.
From Birkett Fell the
ground drops away and then a narrower ridge continues east to Brown
Hills (1,807 ft). The ridge now turns north east again, running parallel
with the middle reach of Ullswater.
Swineside Knott (1,814 ft)
provides a fine viewpoint for the lake and this is followed in quick
succession by the tops of Watermillock Common and Common Fell, both
around 1,781 ft.
The altitude drops again over rockier terrain to
the final two summits on the ridge, Round How (1,269 ft) and Bracken How
(1,217 ft), before the final descent over Brunt Crag to the Dockray
From Brown Hills onward the southern flank is dotted with
plantings of mixed woodland, the steep upper slopes having areas of
The northern side is generally smoother, although there is
rock below Birkett Fell and Common Fell.
The ridge itself from
Brown Hills to Common Fell is unpleasantly boggy, as are all approaches
Ascents can be made along the full length of
the ridge from Dockray, or by joining it from either side partway along.
Dowthwaite Head provides a shorter alternative from the north, but
has extremely limited car parking.
The summit of Hart Side bears
some rock and a number of small cairns have been built.
yards to the south is a large trench which is believed to be a trial
working for the Greenside Mine, presumably unsuccessful.
is not extensive, being curtailed to the west by the main Helvellyn
Range and Ullswater is also seen better from lower down the ridge.
routes near Hart Side