Yewdale Valley walk
Shepherds Bridge Lane, Coniston, Cumbria LA21 8ALRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
A medium length walk starting from Coniston village that takes in the charming Yewdale valley. The route gains enough height to provide good views of the landscape, but stays low enough to be not too demanding.
- Bus stop
Start: Coniston Primary School, grid ref: SD305978
Start opposite Coniston Primary School at Shepherds Bridge (bus stops here). Walk over Shepherds Bridge and take the Cumbria Way footpath immediately on the left, which will lead you through the fields.
Nearing the top of the hill, the path takes you through the woods of Back Guards Plantation, continuing along the Cumbria Way.
Bear left, keeping on the path that passes under the large oak tree, and head through the gate.
Go left at the path junction onto the track, heading for Low Yewdale.
Just before the stone bridge, take the Cumbria Way path on the right, heading for Tarn Hows. Go across the fields, following the path into the woods.
Bluebells carpet the woodland floor in spring, along with other wild flowers and ferns. The wet environment is ideal for mosses that cover the rocks like blankets under a canopy of hazel, birch and oak trees.
At the top of the track, head through the gate and follow the path around the front of Tarn Hows Cottage, heading for Glen Mary Bridge.
At the bottom of the hill, head through the gate and go right briefly along the road (take care, it can be busy). After 22 yards (20m), turn left into Yew Tree Farm where you will head over a bridge. Take the path through the gates on your right. Yew Tree Farm is a typical Lakeland hill farm and was famously used in the 2006 film Miss Potter. Although this was not her home, Beatrix Potter once owned it and helped the tenants to set up the first tea-room.
Youll approach another bridge named Shepherds Bridge. Here you will head left over the road bridge for 33 yards (30m) before taking the path on your right, heading for Coniston.
View of the valley showing Yewdale Crag with Holme Fell in the background. These rugged fells are characteristic of Central Lakeland fells and contrast markedly with the softer landscape to the east. Much of the valley landscape was developed in Victorian times by the wealthy Marshal family. Individual trees and block plantations framing views from trackways, are often design features of a landscape very much in the picturesque ideal.
Keep an eye out for steps to a kissing gate on the left into a field; the little-used path takes you to the remains of a disused lime kiln. If you decide to have a look, you need to return back to this gate to continue the walk back to Coniston on the main path.
In the past, lime was a valuable resource for improving farmers' fields. By baking limestone in kilns, such as this now disused one, lime could be produced that was spread over the land to neutralise the naturally acidic soils.
Bear right at the path junction to stay on the main path leading out of the woods. The rocks to the west are called the Borrowdale Volcanics; hard rocks that give the central fells their character. A fault line runs through the valley, separating these from the softer Windermere super-series rocks to the south and east.
At the end of the path, go through the gate and turn left down the road back to Coniston village centre. To return to the start of the walk you need to head left along the main road for 545 yards (500m), then go right at the junction signposted to Hawkshead.
End: Coniston Primary School, grid ref: SD305978
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Moderate
- Distance: 4.25 miles (7km)
- Time: 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours
- OS Map: Landranger 96, 97; Explorer 0L6, OL7
Undulating terrain. Maximum height gained is 525 feet (160m). Mixed surfaces of open fields and aggregate paths and tracks. One short section of road. Dogs welcome, please keep on a lead.
- How to get here:
By foot: From Coniston centre follow B5285 then take a left up towards Shepherds Bridge. From Hawkshead, follow path up Hawkshead Hill, then continue along path past Lags Wood, then onward to B5285. Continue along B5285, taking a left to Shepherds Bridge
By bike: From Hawkshead follow B5285 toward Coniston town centre then bear left on to road leading to Shepherds Bridge
By bus: Coniston Rambler (505) from Windermere, Ambleside and Hawkshead. X12 from Ulverston, Mon-Sat, connecting to X35 from Kendal and Barrow
By car: Turn right off A590 at Greenodd on to A5902. After approximately 1.8 miles (3km), turn right on to A5084 then on to A593 to Coniston. From Hawkshead, turn right up Hawkshead Hill, then follow signs for Coniston
- Telephone: 015394 41456
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/coniston-and-tarn-hows/