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Kirkstone Pass in England

The highest pass in the Lake District that is open to motor traffic

Best time: all year round

Kirkstone Pass
Kirkstone Pass
Kirkstone Pass
Kirkstone Pass

Kirkstone Pass with an elevation of 454 m (1,489 ft) is located in the English Lake District, Cumbria. The asphalted road to the pass, called A592, is rather steep and narrow, with a gradient of 1 in 4. Kitkstone Pass Road connects Ambleside in the Rothay Valley to Patterdale in the Ullswater Valley. Ambleside is set at Windermere, the largest natural lake in England. The road is very picturesque. However, it can get dangerous in the winter when covered with snow and ice.

Kirkstone Pass provides a picturesque view when going down to Patterdale and several small lakes at the foot of the pass. The summit of Kirkstone Pass features an inn, which is a third highest public house in England. It used to be an important coaching station, and it still caters tourists, cyclists, and other travelers. The pass was named after the stone which stands a few yards from the inn. Its shape resembles a church steeple, or a 'kirk' means church in old Norse.

Kirkstone Pass has lots of folklore and tales around it. It's said to be haunted. There are stories about a grey woman, a lost hiker, and a ghost of a woman hanged for murdering her child. The Hangman's Tree is called after her. Kirkstone Pass used to be essential for local slate mining industry until the beginning of the 20th century. There is also a Hartsop Hall Lead Mine nearby.

Practical info

When should you visit Kirkstone Pass and why?

Late spring to early autumn is the best time to visit Kirkstone Pass for pleasant weather and outdoor activities. Winter and autumn have colder weather with snow and ice, which can make the pass unsafe. During the peak season, the area may get crowded with tourists. Show more

What are the scenic locations along the A592 road?

The A592 road leading to Kirkstone Pass offers several scenic views. A beautiful panorama of Patterdale and surrounding fells can be seen from the brow of the pass. Wansfell Pike and Red Screes are also two attractive locations starting from Ambleside. Show more

What is the story behind Kirkstone Pass's name?

Kirkstone Pass got its name from a large stone known as Kirkstone at its highest point. The rock has a unique shape, resembling a church steeple. The term 'kirk' means church in old Norse language, hence the name 'pass with the church-shaped rock.' Show more

Is driving on Kirkstone Pass safe during winter?

Driving on Kirkstone Pass in winters is challenging due to the steep and winding roads and snow or ice on the road. Using snow chains and/or four-wheel drive is necessary for safe driving. The pass may remain closed in severe weather for motorist's safety. Show more

What are the historical sites around Kirkstone Pass?

Hartsop Hall Lead Mine and 17th-century farmhouses like Hayeswater and Hartsop Hall are some of the historical sites around Kirkstone Pass. The Kirkstone Pass Inn built-in 1496 used to be a favorite coaching station. The area is a perfect location for those interested in history and culture. Show more

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