St Olaf's Church, Wasdale Head, Cumbria

Welcome to Wasdale Head and England’s smallest parish church. Wasdale Head is the birthplace of English rock climbing and many of England’s finest fells are in the parish – among them Great Gable, Pillar, Steeple, and the highest - Scafell Pike, so is its deepest lake, Wastwater, and they create a montage that many regard as one of Britain’s finest views.

Amongst these wonders of God’s creation sits the little church of St Olaf’s – the parish church of Wasdale Head. The site has been the base of the Christian Community here for over 1000 years - though the present building only dates from circa 1525-1550. St Olaf's can quite accurately be described as a little stable, with pews, ancient beams and a flagstone floor - a perfect place to worship God. Do come and visit us!

St Olaf's is open each day from around 9am till shortly before dusk. 

Faith in the Fells - We usually hold services in St Olaf's at 11am on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month throughout the year. However, having held four services at St Olaf's in the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Day, we are having a day-off on Low Sunday (24th April) and instead the service will be at our sister church, St Mary's in Gosforth. It is at 11am and is Holy Communion. 

Our May services at St Olaf's are on Sunday 8th May at 11am - Morning Praise, and on Sunday 22nd May at 11am - Morning Worship.

EXHIBITION - from Palm Sunday until Saturday 30th April, the story of Good Friday will be illustrated in St Olaf's using the tradition of the 14 Stations of the Cross illustrated by the paintings of renowned artist Jenny Hawke whose artwork is all about helping people see the beauty and colour of faith in the world around them.

Each year we welcome visitors from all over the world. With only a track and a footpath leading to the church, most are walkers or climbers on their way to and from some of England's finest fells. Many call in for quiet moments of prayer or meditation, and enjoy the silence amidst the grandeur and permanence of God's creation. St Olaf's simplicity and smallness is what people love.

For full information, service times etc please visit our website   

The parish of Gosforth & Wasdale is committed to safeguarding children, young people and adults. Any matters of concern should be reported to our Parish Safeguarding Officers, Steven & Susan Round, or if appropriate to the local authority or the police. Our Parish Safeguarding Officers' contact details are - email  [email protected]  - phone  01946 841 626.

Get in touch

Rev Philip Dorling

The Rectory,
Wasdale Road,

CA20 1AZ

Our website