Fell (from the Old Norse "fjall", 'mountain') is a word used to refer to mountains, or certain types of mountainous landscape, in Scandinavia, the Isle of Man, and parts of England.


In Northern England, especially in the Lake District and in the Pennine Dales, the word "fell" originally referred to an area of uncultivated high ground used as common grazing. This meaning is found in the names of various breeds of livestock bred for life on the uplands, such as Rough Fell sheep and fell ponies. It is also found in many place names across the North of England, often attached to the name of a community; thus Seathwaite Fell, for example, would be the common grazing land used by the farmers of Seathwaite. The fellgate marks the exit from a settlement onto the fell (see photograph for example).

Today, "fell" can refer to any one of the mountains and hills of the Lake District and the Pennine Dales. This meaning tends to overlap with the previous one, especially where place names are concerned: in particular, names that originally referred to grazing areas tend to be applied to hilltops, as is the case with the aforementioned Seathwaite Fell. In other cases the reverse is true: for instance, the name of Wetherlam, in the Coniston Fells, though understood to refer to the mountain as a whole, strictly speaking refers to the summit; the slopes have names such as Tilberthwaite High Fell, Low Fell and Above Beck Fells.

Groups of cairns are a common feature on many fells, often marking the summit - there are fine examples on Wild Boar Fell in Mallerstang Dale, Cumbria, and on 'Nine Standards Rigg' just outside Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria.

As the most mountainous region of England, the Lake District is the area most closely associated with the sport of fell running, which takes its name from the fells of the district. "Fellwalking" is also the term used locally for the activity known in the rest of Great Britain as hillwalking.

candinavia and Finland

Equivalent words are used in Scandinavia: fjeld in Danish, fjell in Norwegian, and fjäll in Swedish.These words normally refer to mountains that are higher than the alpine tree line.

In other Scandinavian countries, a different word is used. Duottar in Northern Sámi, tundar in Akkala Sámi, tunturi in Finnish; "duottar" and "tunturi" are from the same Sami origin as the English word tundra, and come from the proto-word form *tōnter) is a treeless mountain landscape that has been shaped by glacier ice earlier in history.

In the Finnish language, a fell ("tunturi") is distinguished from a mountain ("vuori") in that true mountains have permanent glaciers. Erosion has also given fells a gentler shape, whereas the younger mountains have a rugged shape. Famous fells in Finland are Halti, Saana, Ylläs, Aakenustunturi and Korvatunturi, the legendary homeplace of Joulupukki, the Finnish Santa Claus.

ee also

* Fell farming
* Fell Terrier
* List of fells in the Lake District
* List of Wainwrights
* The Outlying Fells of Lakeland
* Middlesex Fells, a rocky highland just north of Boston, Massachusetts
* Snaefell, Isle of Man


*Wainwright, A., "Coniston Old Man" in "A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book Four: The Southern Fells" (London:Francis Lincoln, [1960] 2003), p. 15. ISBN 0-7112-2230-4

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Fell — (et) …   Kölsch Dialekt Lexikon

  • Fell — Fell …   Deutsch Wörterbuch

  • Fell — Fell: Das gemeingerm. Substantiv mhd., ahd. vel, got. fill, engl. fell, schwed. fjäll »Hautschuppe« bedeutete ursprünglich »Haut« (von Mensch und Tier). Es ist verwandt mit lat. pellis »Fell, Pelz, Haut« (↑ Pelle und ↑ Pelz) und griech. pélla… …   Das Herkunftswörterbuch

  • Fell — Sn std. (8. Jh.), mhd. vel, ahd. fel Stammwort. Aus g. * fella n. Haut, Fell , auch in gt. * fill (gt. filleins ledern , gt. þrutsfill Aussatz ), anord. fjall, fell, ae. fell. Dieses aus voreinzelsprachl. * pelno n. Fell, Haut , auch in l. pellis …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • Fell — Fell, a. [OE. fel, OF. fel cruel, fierce, perfidious; cf. AS. fel (only in comp.) OF. fel, as a noun also accus. felon, is fr. LL. felo, of unknown origin; cf. Arm fall evil, Ir. feal, Arm. falloni treachery, Ir. & Gael. feall to betray; or cf.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Fell — Fell, n. [AS. fell; akin to D. vel, OHG. fel, G. fell, Icel. fell (in comp.), Goth fill in [thorn]rutsfill leprosy, L. pellis skin, G. ?. Cf. {Film}, {Peel}, {Pell}, n.] A skin or hide of a beast with the wool or hair on; a pelt; used chiefly in… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • fell — Ⅰ. fell [2] ► VERB 1) cut down (a tree). 2) knock down. 3) stitch down (the edge of a seam) to lie flat. DERIVATIVES feller noun. ORIGIN Old English, related to FALL …   English terms dictionary

  • Fell — Fell, n. [Cf. L. fel gall, bile, or E. fell, a.] Gall; anger; melancholy. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Untroubled of vile fear or bitter fell. Spenser. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • fell — fell·age; fell·er; fell·ness; fell; …   English syllables

  • fell — fell1 [fel] vi., vt. pt. of FALL fell2 [fel] vt. [ME fellen < OE fællan, fellan (< Gmc * falljan), caus. of feallan (< Gmc * fallan), FALL] 1. to cause to fall; knock down [to fell an opponent with a blow] 2. t …   English World dictionary

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