Stone Arthur

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Stone Arthur
Range: Lake District Eastern Fells
Summit: 1,640 feet NY348093
54°28’29"N, 3°0’28"W

Stone Arthur is a hill in Westmorland, standing above Grasmere. It is considered an outlier of the Fairfield group in the Lake District's Eastern Fells.


Stone Arthur is properly the south western ridge of Great Rigg, but was given the status of a separate fell by Alfred Wainwright in his Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells. His decision was based on it having a summit tor with"a short wall of rock like a ruined castle.".[1] This outcrop appears particularly impressive from Grasmere village, from where the higher fells are hidden.

From the top of Great Rigg the main ridge ploughs on due south, descending over the tops of Heron Pike and Nab Scar and carrying the ever popular Fairfield horseshoe walk. A second shorter ridge descends steadily to the south west over gradually roughening ground, until after three quarters of a mile a rock outcrop is thrust up. This is Arthur's Chair and the ridge upon which it stands is Stone Arthur. Prominence is negligible, and other than the low outcrop itself, the "summit" is merely the point at which the gradient steepens markedly.

Between Stone Arthur and Heron Pike is the little valley of Greenhead Gill. This bears evidence of former mining activities. Further up the fellside are the remains of Grasmere Lead Mine. This was operated by the Mines Royal between 1564 and 1573 and there are several levels and shafts around the 1,000-foot contour.[2]

To the north west of Stone Arthur is the valley of Tongue Gill, separating it from the lower slopes of Seat Sandal. This side of the ridge is craggy with the main features being Brackenwife Knotts and Rigg Crags. Both Tongue and Greenhead Gills are tributaries of the River Rothay, which passes through Grasmere village to the lake of the same name. The lower slopes have been planted with areas of woodland.


The summit tor is an example of the pebbly sandstone and breccia of the Pavey Ark Member.[3]


The summit of Stone Arthur is difficult to locate exactly amongst the upthrust rocks of Arthur's Chair. The view is excellent, particularly over Grasmere with Easedale Tarn showing across the valley.[1]


Stone Arthur can be climbed directly up the steep ridge from the village, although the depth of bracken combined with the gradient do not make the prospect particularly alluring. The summit can also be reached from either side of the ridge. Beginning at Mill Bridge, Tongue Gill can be followed until the footbridge, before making a pathless ascent on grass. From Grasmere, Greenhead Gill also provides access, climbing until a contouring traverse to the summit can be made.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Wainwright, Alfred: A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book One — The Eastern Fells (1955)
  2. Adams, John: Mines of the Lake District Fells: Dalesman (1995) ISBN 0-85206-931-6
  3. British Geological Survey: 1:50,000 series maps, England & Wales Sheet 38: BGS (1998)