Seatoller, Seathwaite and Stonethwaite
Seatoller is situated 7 miles from Keswick on the B5289 with commanding views of the Borrowdale Fells. It is located at the foot of the Honister Pass which winds in a succession of bends for 1.5 miles up to the top of the Pass and the buildings of Honister Slate Mine and from there over to Buttermere. Seatoller is surrounded by fells, rich pastureland and ancient deciduous woodland. Around Seatoller the woodlands such as Johnny Wood are designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
Farming and mining have traditionally been the main industries in this area.The first records for quarrying at Honister Slate Mine are in 1643. The mine prospered with over 100 men employed. The raw material for Keswick's major industry, pencil making, was purportedly discovered by a shepherd in Seathwaite in the Borrowdale Valley in 1550. The substance, known as black lead or graphite was initially used to brand sheep, leading to Borrowdale's claims to have made the first pencils in the world. In the 18th and early 19th C the mines were at their most productive.
There is a National Trust car park in Seatoller which is an excellent starting point for walks such as Castle Crag, (click for route) and the surrounding high fells of Great End, Glaramara and Great Gable. For those preferring a low level walks you can follow the path along the River Derwent past Rosthwaite and Grange through the Borrowdale valley to the shores of Derwentwater.
There is a also a National Trust car park at Honister Pass. At the height of 350m it is a good leg up some of the summits such as Dale Head.
Seatoller is a popular place from which to start the ascent of Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. From the car park it is a mile to walk along the narrow lane to Seathwaite Farm in the tiny hamlet of the same name. Once through the farmyard the track climbs to Stockley Bridge and beyond up Grains Gill to Esk Hause and then between Great End and Ill Crag to the summit of Scafell Pike. Scafell Pike is a challenging mountain walk and should not be attempted without the proper equipment. Read our Safety on the Fells page for more information.
Honister Slate Mine is located at the head of the Honister Pass and produces the world famous Westmorland Green Slate a beautiful, functional 450 million year old material extracted here for centuries. In addition to mine tours there are a host of high adrenalin activities including two via ferrata challenges following the original miners' route to the top of the mountain.
Close to Seatoller is the tiny hamlet of Stonethwaite. Stonethwaite is home to Borrowdale Primary School and the beautiful but tiny St Andrews Church. Two miles on foot from Stonethwaite in the Langstrath Valley is Black Moss Pot, a deep pool in a small ravine with high rocky sides popular with wild swimmers. The Langstrath beck is a lovely place to picnic and paddle.
Seatoller is served by the Keswick to Seatoller bus 78 which runs all year round. Additionally between April and October you can ride on the Honister Rambler a circular seasonal bus service which runs in both clockwise and anti clockwise directions taking in Portinscale, Catbells, Grange, Rosthwaite, Seatoller, Honister Slate Mine, Buttermere, Lorton and Whinlatter Forest. Travel through one of the steepest passes in the region, the Honister Pass over to Buttermere. Click here to view bus timetables