No matter where we live, we love our walks, family walks, walks with the dog or solitary walks for thinking. Yet if we could all pick a walk for all seasons that was close to where we live I think this might just be it. This is a great family walk.
A Tarn Hows walk may simply consist of a walk around the lake, although I would advise to include a short diversion down to Glen Mary Bridge, returning via the waterfalls, thus adding a mere mile to your walk.
Monk Coniston Hall was once home to the 19th century industrialist James Garth Marshall, the Victorian creator of Tarn Hows which is located between the villages of Coniston and Hawkshead.
Tarn How may be somewhat artificial by nature, whilst set within one of England’s grandest National Parks, yet the beauty and splendour are considerable. As a result of this and sharing similarities to Cat Bells walk vast numbers of visitors are attracted here each summer. Therefore it may be better to do this walk out of season, when you may be fortunate enough to be rewarded with the peace and tranquillity the scenery and setting deserve, without the large number of visitors and those having summer picnics.
You may consider walking the picturesque route created by James Garth to wow guests at his country residence of Monk Coniston Hall to Tarn Hows or from Coniston village. Either way you will be rewarded with some wonderful scenery and look out for the Old Man of Coniston walk, maybe for another day.
Tarn Hows walk
Leaving the car park entrance closest to the lake, turn right along the road. Almost immediately leave the road and the track curves left. Within a short distance fork left onto a grassy path. Follow the path over the top of the ridge and down the far side to meet a wall on the right. The path continues down hill , curving left and then right. Continue on through the gate, at the wall corner bend left. Upon reaching the ruined barn follow the wide track to the gate. In the lane turn right and continue down the path to the road at Glen Mary Bridge.
Crossing the footbridge over the stream to the right and turn right through the small gate. Continue up the left hand side of the stream. Keeping with the stream as it bends its way past the magnificent waterfalls you should see signs for ‘Tom Gill Waterfall’ Once at the top of the fall go through the small gate in a fence, making your way up the path along the stream to reach the Tarn Hows at the stream outflow.
Here you should see a broad well maintained path. This path goes completely around the tarn, ultimately returning to the stream outflow and concludes your walk.
There is a small stone to the south east of Tarn Hows, inscribed;
National Trust The Tarns are given in memory of Sir James Scot of Yews and of Anne Lady Scot, 1930.
The view from the memorial stone over Tarn Hows, is superb and one of the best, most photographed in all of the Lake District. Not forgetting that the tarn is artificial and the water level was raised by a dam and weir constructed at the south west tip, thus creating a single tarn. With trees alien to the Lake District were planted. This is a great example of what can be achieved by sensible and creative countryside development.
The name ‘The Tarns’ refers to its earlier existence prior to the raising of the water levels with the damn, when there were several stretches of water.