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The jagged outlines of Crinkle Crags, Bow Fell and the Langdale Pikes at the head of Great Langdale are an awe-inspiring sight when seen against the dramatic U-shaped trough of the valley. This is a dramatic landscape built by volcanic activity, forged by ice and adapted for human use over centuries. On the other side of Lingmoor Fell is the much gentler terrain of Little Langdale – a verdant, pastoral valley containing the softened scars of 18th-century slate workings. The scene is of white-washed farmhouses nestling at the foot of the fells, valley fields surrounded by dry stone walls, pockets of coppice woodland, and Herdwick sheep contentedly grazing on the lush pastures.

Centuries before, the volcanic rocks of the Langdale Pikes were highly prized by Neolithic people for making tools, and high on the slopes is probably Europe’s largest Stone Age axe factory – the debris-strewn screes almost entirely composed of discarded chippings.

At the entrance to Great Langdale are the green-slate villages of Chapel Stile and Elterwater. Both villages developed on the back of gunpowder manufacture and slate extraction. Nowadays, Elterwater exudes the charm of a typical English rural village with a picturesque country inn overlooking an attractive green.

Book Your Stay

Elterwater Hostel

Elterwater Hostel

Tourist Hostel with 21 bedspaces, £15-£140 pppn, £30-£146 prpn

7 Lingmoor View, lounge

2 & 7 Lingmoor View

Self-catering with 2 units, £290-£590 pupw sleeps 1-4

Three Shires Inn

Three Shires Inn

Inn with 9 rooms, £105-£165 prpnb

Langdale Hotel & Spa

Langdale Hotel and Spa

Country House Hotel with 57 rooms, £160-£210 prpnb

Little Parrock

Little Parrock

Self-catering with 1 unit, £1350-£2950 pupw sleeps 8-10

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Daw Bank

Self-catering with 1 unit, £592-£979 pupw sleeps 6

Lounge 1


Self-catering with 1 unit, £379-£708 pupw sleeps 5

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Self-catering with 1 unit, £395-£700 pupw sleeps 4

The Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel

The Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel

Bed & Breakfast with 12 rooms, £40-£232 prpnb

Wistaria Cottage & No.3 Main Street

Wistaria Cottage & No.3 Main Street

Self-catering with 2 units, £440-£520 pupw sleeps 1-4

Things to do

What's on

 May 2018>

There are a variety of events taking place in and around the Langdale area, whilst Ambleside & Grasmere are just a short drive away.

Click the button below for a full list of events in the Langdale area to see what's on during your stay

browse all events

Surrounding Areas

Skelwith Force
Little Langdale

Culture and Heritage

Blea Tarn, Langdale
Little Langdale
The hard rocks of the Langdales were formed by volcanic activity 450 million years ago. Extruded lavas overlain with deposits of ash were later squeezed into alternating bands of slate and tuff. One fine-grained layer of tuff could be ‘knapped’ to create sharp edges – an ideal property for making stone axes and adzes, and for 2000 years (from around 4000 to 2000 BC) the Langdale Pikes were the centre of an extensive axe factory in the Neolithic era.

Pieces of tuff were quarried from the rock face and roughly hewn into the approximate shape of an axe head. The rough-outs were then taken to coastal or lowland sites for fashioning into smooth axe tools. Examples of these rough hewn and polished stone axes can be seen at the Ruskin Museum in Coniston and at Tullie House Museum in Carlisle. Neolithic people also carved the strange petroglyphs that can be seen at Copt How near Chapel Stile.

The Romans impacted less upon the area, although a Roman road came through Little Langdale to link Hardknott Fort in Eskdale with Galava at Ambleside. It was Norse settlers, arriving on Cumbria’s western shores in the 9th and 10th centuries in search of suitable grazing land for their livestock, who formed the next wave of colonisation. Their longhouses were the forerunners of today’s farmhouses, and they left their legacy in the names of topographical features such as pike, dale, fell, beck, gill and how. Behind Fell Foot Farm is an unusual flat-topped mound known as a ‘ting mound’ (or meeting point of a Norse council), conspicuously sited at a junction of ancient routes linking west and central Cumbria.

Slate was the local building material. Farmhouses, dry stone walls, packhorse bridges and even churches were all built out of this distinctive green stone. Quarrying started in earnest in the mid-18th century, and at its peak there were around 30 active quarries. Today, only Elterwater Quarry is still in production, but the scars of slate extraction are still visible on the southern flanks of Little Langdale giving rise to an almost alien world of massive spoil heaps, gaping tunnels and arching caverns. It was not only slate that was extracted but also copper and iron ore. At Greenburn mine in Little Langdale it is possible to wander among the remains of the copper workings and imagine how the mine operated.
Loughrigg Tarn, Langdale

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