Heron Pike

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Heron Pike
Heron Pike from Great Rigg.jpg
Heron Pike from Great Rigg
Range: Lake District Eastern Fells
Summit: 2,008 feet NY355082
54°27’54"N, 2°59’48"W

Heron Pike is a fell in Westmorland, amongst the Lake District's Eastern Fells, a mile east of Grasmere. It is part of the Fairfield group.

A footpath runs up out of Rydal, over the hill summit and down to Grasmere, and is a popular walk.


Not a fell of great significance, Heron Pike is a slight grassy rise on the long southern ridge of its parent fell Fairfield. Just cresting the 2,000 foot mark at 2,008 feet, it is mostly climbed as part of the Fairfield horseshoe walk and it lies between the adjoining fells of Nab Scar and Great Rigg. Heron Pike’s eastern side features Erne Crag and Blind Cove as it falls away quite steeply towards Rydal Beck. At the base of Erne Crag is an old quarry, the mouth of a cavern quite easy to locate.[1]

The fell's western flank drops towards Grasmere and has the small Alcock Tarn on its lower slopes at a height of 1,180 feet. Alcock Tarn was originally known as Butter Crags Tarn and was enlarged by means of a stone and earth dam in the nineteenth century to a depth of about six feet. The owner, a Mr Alcock of Grasmere, then stocked it with brown trout.[2]

North Top

Main article: Rydal Fell

Heron Pike North Top is also known as Rydal Fell. It is 45 yards north of the main summit at the top of Erne Crag (NY357086) and reaches 2,037 feet. Though is considered a subsidiary top of the main hill it is higher than the "main" top and still significant enough on its own to make the "Nuttall" list.

The deliberate choice by Alfred Wainwright of the lower top to be the summit in his Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells is one of the many oddities which differentiate Wainwrights from more logical hill lists such as 'Nuttalls' or 'Hewitts'.


The ridgeline exposes the dacitic welded lapilli-tuff of the Lincomb Tarns Formation.[3]


Ascents of the fell are commenced either from Rydal or Grasmere; the ascent from Grasmere allows Alcock Tarn to be visited by a short detour while the route from Rydal first climbs Nab Scar. However the majority of walkers who visit Heron Pike do so either on the way to or on the way back from the main fell of Fairfield.


The south summit has flashes of quartz in the uppermost rock and by far the better view. This takes in a fine vista of Windermere, the Coniston Fells and Central Fells. The higher northern top bears the remains of a cross wall, some of this fashioned into a small cairn.


  1. Richards, Mark: Near Eastern Fells: Collins (2003): ISBN 0-00-711366-8
  2. Blair, Don: Exploring Lakeland Tarns: Lakeland Manor Press (2003): ISBN 0-9543904-1-5
  3. British Geological Survey: 1:50,000 series maps, England & Wales Sheet 29: BGS (1999)