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For the lesser-known Wasdale on the east of the Lake District, see Wasdale Horseshoe.

Coordinates: 54°25′30″N 3°21′00″W / 54.425°N 3.350°W / 54.425; -3.350

Wasdale from the shores of Wastwater. Yewbarrow is on the left, Great Gable in the centre and the Scafell range on the right.

Wasdale (/ˈwɒzdl/ WOZ-dayl) is a valley and civil parish in the western part of the Lake District National Park in Cumbria, England. The River Irt flows through the valley to its estuary at Ravenglass. A large part of the main valley floor is occupied by Wastwater, the deepest lake in England (258 feet). Sailing boats and motorboats are banned from Wastwater, although canoes and diving are permitted.

On the south-eastern side of the lake are very steep screes below the summits of Whin Rigg and Illgill Head which are more accessible on the far side. The head of the valley is dominated by the Great Gable and Scafell Pike, the highest peak in England, which, along with Scafell, Kirk Fell and Yewbarrow, surround the small community of Wasdale Head. Wasdale is famous amongst rock climbers as the home of British rock climbing. A classic route is Nape's Needle on Great Gable.

Nearby is St Olaf's Church, one of the smallest churches in England. Wasdale Head was also home to an annual "greatest liar" contest, now held nearby at Santon Bridge. Further down the valley are the villages of Nether Wasdale and Gosforth.

Panorama of the Wasdale screes, Illgill Head in the centre, Whin Rigg on the right.

Fells of Wasdale[edit]

Clockwise from the north-west:-

Sty Head Pass


The name came from Old Norse Vatnsdalr = "valley of the water". The alternative spelling "Wastdale" existed through much of the 19th century. [1][2]



  1. ^ British Newspaper Archive - a search achieves numerous hits
  2. ^ http://archive.org/stream/completeguidetoe1855mart#page/n7/mode/2up

External links[edit]