Wainwright Walks: Silver How

Considered one of the trickiest of the ‘easiest’ Wainwrights, we decided to tackle Silver How as our first family Wainwright. With promised views over Grasmere and the Langdales, and of Grasmere Gingerbread as a reward, Silver How seemed like an excellent first choice. Here’s how we got on, with step-by-step instructions in case you want to try it too.

Silver Howe at a Glance

  • 3.5 miles ‘out and back’ route
  • 1000ft ascent
  • Walking boots, very sturdy trainers or wellies definitely needed
  • Time Taken: A very leisurely 2h 45m

If this seems too steep and you want an easier (flatter!) walk, read this Grasmere Lake Walk post for a lovely circular lake walk.

Silver How Ascent

  1. Our walk started in Stock Lane car park. This is the car park furthest away from the official start of the walk, but we prefer it as it’s on the outskirts of Grasmere and there are toilets! (Always helpful with children). And for us we enjoy the walk through the village.
Silver How and a blue sky
Silver How (the smaller peak on the right)

2. Wherever you park (any car park in Grasmere will work), you now need to find Emma’s Deli. The path to the left of this is where the walk starts.

3. Walk up this path and over the cattle grid, but before you reach the big gates to Allan Bank the path will split. Take the tarmac path off to the right (you’ll see the sign).

The tarmac path leading to Silver How

4. Keep following this tarmac path. The hill isn’t too steep at this point. Remember to turn round and enjoy the view!

view over Grasmere village with lake district fells

5. Keep going until you come to a farm. You will see a sign for Silver How, so head left.

6. The path then continues up, through fields and gates, with a wall on your left hand side. In the field just beyond the farm, there is a special request notice not to use those fields for any toileting, as it is the drinking water for the farm.

7. For the next few fields, we found the ground very wet! First of all it was almost like we were walking up a (very) little stream, then we picked our way over stones through a flooded section. It was fine, we stayed dry, but you definitely need decent shoes!

8. It gets steeper after the wet sections, so we spent quite a bit of time stopping to admire the view (aka catch our breath and eat snacks). The sun was out and the shadows were long!

9. As you keep following the path, you will come to a section where the wall (on your left) turns away from you, and you need to keep following the very obvious path up the hill. After a while, you will see Wray Gill, with water running through it, down to your left.

You will walk alongside Wray Gill for a while, then the path pulls away from it slightly to the right. Do not follow the path here. You will see another path leading you down to a narrow part of Wray Gill, where you will use the stepping stones to cross. Take this path.

Once you have crossed, it’s a slightly scrambly slope back onto the hillside – all three of my children (and me!) had to use our hands to steady us.

*If the water is too deep or fast flowing for anyone in your group, please do not cross here. Instead make your way back down the fell.

10. Follow the wide, obvious path along and up the side of the fell, with little piles of stones (cairns) marking the way. At one of the cairns, you will see a path to your left that takes you steeply to the summit. Follow this path.

11. Congratulations, you made it! You will find the summit cairn, and hopefully a well deserved view. It can be windy up here even if the weather is completely still down in the village, but it is easy enough to find a sheltered position for a celebratory snack!

Two Lego minifigures enjoying the view over Grasmere

The view across Grasmere is pretty special.

Silver How summit cairn with views over Grasmere

Here you can see three lakes: Grasmere, Rydal, and Windermere in the distance.

We stayed at the top for about 30 minutes, having lunch and a play. Amazingly for such a lovely day, there was no one else around while we were up there, otherwise we wouldn’t have hogged the summit for so long! Eventually the wind picked up and we were ready to get moving again so we started to find our way down.

Silver How Descent

12. Before this walk, I researched it to plan our route. Most guides online suggested a circular route, with fairly vague instructions for getting back down. The suggested path for the descent was via a steep, stepped path on the Grasmere side of Silver How.

Having found this stepped path, I can say that I absolutely do not recommend this route with children. For my children (age 7 – 11) and me, it did not look like a good idea.

So, for the descent, I recommend going down exactly the way you came up. We loved the path down; we knew exactly where we were going, the kids found it easy, and we could enjoy the views.

13. Then back to the village for the most important part of any Grasmere adventure – the famous Grasmere Gingerbread. All in all a pretty great day.

If you do try this walk, remember to plan your route in advance, and make sure you have decent footwear, and enough clothes for any weather changes that might happen. And don’t forget the snacks to encourage little (and long!) legs to keep going. Enjoy!

About the author

I'm Michelle, Lake District resident and founder of this site. You can mostly find me up a hill, on a lake, or enjoying a hot chocolate by the fire. Feel free to get in touch, I'd love to hear from you!

Leave a comment