Tarn Hows from Coniston via Low Yewdale

Cumbria, England

SummaryGetting there

Starting from Coniston, walk alongside Yewdale Beck, through woodland to the incomparable Tarn Hows.

Distance:6.8 Miles
Est. Time:3 hrs 20 mins
Difficulty: Easy 
Total Ascent:1152 ft 
Total Descent: 1152 ft 

DescriptionMap View

The RouteSafetyNotes


  • views of Coniston Water and Coniston Old Man
  • mixed woodland scenes
  • Tarn Hows - a beauty spot that deserves the title

Tarn Hows is a justifiably popular beauty spot and, not surprisingly, attracts a lot of visitors. This walk enables you to enjoy relative solitude before and after you visit to this delightful lake.

The Route go to top

Turn left out of the Car Park and walk to the village centre (Bull Inn). Turn right and head outLow Yewdale of Coniston on the Ambleside road (A 593) past the Fire Staation. Pass the turnings to YHA Holly How Youth Hostel (left) and Hawkshead (right). Pass another left turn and 30 yards further on take the footpath on the left (signposted Tilberthwaite). Follow the well-laid gravel path through the woods for about ¾ mile (crossing 2 or 3 bridges/fords) to a ramp leading down to the road.

Cross the road, following a footpath sign for Boon Crag (3/4 mile). Walk along a farm track and to the right of a barn to a bridge crossing Yewdale Beck.

Cross the bridge and immediately turn left over a stile (signposted Tarn Hows). Walk along the hedgerow, parallel to the Beck, cross a stile and continue up the path through the trees and over a plank bridge. At the junction continue straight ahead. Go through a gateway (no gate !) and on up to a gate to a small lane leading to Tarn Hows Cottage. Go through a gate and walk beside the cottage, then turn right and go through another gate. Follow the metalled drive then along a broad track that leads to a road. Go through the gate and turn left onto the road.

Follow the road up to Tarn Hows (the Car Park is on the right and the Tarn is on the left). The view of the Tarn is rewarding if you go no further, but an easy path takes you right round the lake in either direction.

Tarn Hows

Walk back down the road, passing the path from Low Yewdale; cross a cattle grid and at the bottom of a hill, where the road crosses a stream, turn right onto a footpath that follows the road (signposted Coniston via Boon Crag). The path rejoins the road but, after passing one building, you turn right onto a bridle path leading through Boon Crag farmyard (now a sawmill).

Yewdale BeckPass some cottages, then turn left over a stile, following a sign to Coniston and Guards Wood. Go through a gate then on up a broad track, where a small path branches off to the right go up it, following the yellow arrow. Continue to follow the yellow arrows over the hill through the woods. Go through a gate in a wall and follow the yellow arrow left to join a section of the Cumbria Way footpath. The Old Man of Coniston is now straight ahead and you can see part of the village on the left.

Pass through a gate and follow the path down past a barn, then immediately turn left through a kissing gate. 

Go alongside a field to another kissing gate beside a green wooden bungalow. Go over a stone stile onto a bridge then cross the bridge and turn left onto a road. Go past the school and along to a T junction, where you turn right and walk back into Coniston.

Safety go to top

This 5-mile walk involves some inclines but is never difficult and mostly easy. (Add extra distance if you walk round the Tarn).

Notes go to top

view across Coniston WaterConiston - This popular village stands close to, but not alongside, the lake that bears its name. The lake was, in fact, only named after the village during the 20th century. Coniston has lots of pubs, cafes and shops, including several walking shops. Many visitors come to pay homage to Donald Campbell, who died during a water speed record attempt on the lake and is now buried in the village (not in the churchyard, but in a larger cemetery on the Hawkshead side of the village.

Old Man of Coniston - This mountain dominates the village and is another recommended walk for a different day.

Tarn Hows is not as natural as it looks, but is beautiful despite its man-made origins. managed by the National Trust is is one of Lakeland's most popular venues... just as well they have extended the Car Park recently!

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