High Street - History and Facts | History Hit

High Street

Kyle Hoekstra

07 Sep 2021
Image Credit: Dave Porter / Alamy Stock Photo

About High Street

High Street is a fell in the Lake District in northern England with a summit 828 metres high, named after the Roman road which snaked its broad ridge.

History of High Street

The Roman road which gives the fell its name connected the fort at Brougham near Penrith with the fort at Ambleside. The gentle slopes which characterise the hills of High Street as well as its flat summit plateau may have appealed to Roman surveyors more than the possibly forested and marshy valleys below.

High Street’s summit is 828 metres high and is the highest point in the far eastern part of the Lake District national park. It is located south west of Ullswater, the second largest lake in the Lake District.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the flat summit of High Street was used as a venue for summer fairs by the local population. On 12 July, people would return stray sheep. The summit is still known as Racecourse Hill as a result of the horse racing and games that took place on the fell.

There are other Roman remains in the Lake District, such as the Roman fort of Hardknott and the Roman bath house at Ravenglass. There are also the remains of Ambleside (Galava) Roman fort and evidence of other Roman camps in the region. These can be identified on Ordnance Survey maps.

High Street today

High Street is one of the lesser visited high fells in the Lake District, yet offers visitors with excellent views and hiking experiences. The fells remain a vast grass and sheep monoculture as they have for centuries, and from the height of High Street the broad-backed ridge that was formerly a Roman road is visible for miles.

Getting to High Street

A number of exhilarating routes can be taken along the Roman road which peaks on High Street fell. The road can be traced from Troutbeck near Ambleside to Brougham near Penrith and offers a range of opportunities to enjoy it.

For a moderate to challenging hike, experienced walkers can embark on an 18 mile (29 km) march over High Street from Troutbeck in the central lakes to Pooley Bridge on the eastern side of Ulswater. This route provides for fantastic views along the Roman road which snakes the fell tops. A map and compass are recommended.

A shorter but still strenuous route heads up from Howtown on the south side of Ullswater. This 8 mile route ascends via the beautiful Fusedale and returns south and west by Saturna Crag, Angle Tarn and then Patterdale. From here at the west side of Ullswater the steamer can be caught from Glenridding.

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