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Seathwaite to Sty Head and Grains Gill walk


This invigorating walk takes you into the heart of the Lake District hills on an ancient pack horse route.

Good boots and waterproofs needed for a challenging walk

Renowned peaks like Great Gable loom large as you follow the trail through Sty Head Pass, visiting Sty Head Tarn and Sprinkling Tarn (great picnic spots), before returning alongside Grains Gill stream. Enjoy fantastic views on paths restored and maintained as part of the ‘Fix the Fells’ project.

Walking at Watendlath, Borrowdale, Cumbria
Walking at Watendlath, Borrowdale, Cumbria National Trust Images / Chris Lacey


Map route for Seathwaite to Sty Head and Grains Gill walk
© Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey


Seathwaite farmyard, grid ref: NY235121


Cross Seathwaite farmyard, going through a series of gates. Walk along a streamside gravel track over a small footbridge.


On reaching Stockley Bridge, continue straight ahead and begin climbing up Sty Head Pass on cobbled and stone-pitched paths.

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Follow this route, which after a short distance becomes a narrow gravel track on more level but still uneven ground. The footbridge over Sty Head Gill appears in front of you.


Cross the bridge then bear left, ascending gently towards Sty Head Tarn. Great Gable rises up to your right.

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Just above the Tarn you will see a mountain rescue stretcher box. From here walk left across stepping stones and on to another stone-pitched path with some sections of gravel and bedrock. Follow this to Sprinkling Tarn, a pleasant spot to rest for a bite to eat.

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Leave Sprinkling Tarn and follow the same path as it skirts around the bottom of Great End until meeting Ruddy Gill, a fairly steep stream.

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At Ruddy Gill turn left and cross the stream. Continue straight ahead and you will soon get back onto the path on Grains Gill again. On a clear day there are great views of the Borrowdale valley and Derwent Water from here.


Follow this path downhill, crossing a footbridge on the way. Eventually you'll reach a drystone wall. Go through a gate in the wall and look out again for Stockley Bridge ahead. Return to it and then to your start point by the same streamside route you came up.


Seathwaite farmyard car park, grid ref: NY235121

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Seathwaite to Sty Head and Grains Gill walk


Can be fairly strenuous in all weathers. Sections of this route have recently been levelled with stone and include a few steep rock steps. Good boots and waterproofs needed.

Seathwaite to Sty Head and Grains Gill walk

Contact us

Seathwaite to Sty Head and Grains Gill walk

How to get here

Seathwaite, Borrowdale, CA12 5XJ
By road

From Keswick take the B5289 Borrowdale road; follow this up the valley to Seatoller, turn left and follow a single track road to Seathwaite Farm; car parking is available on the road side.

By foot

The Cumbria Way, from Ulverston to Carlisle, passes close to the start of the walk.

By bus

Regular bus service to Seathwaite from Keswick and Buttermere.

Seathwaite to Sty Head and Grains Gill walk

Facilities and access

  • Car park available at start of trail