Gondola and Parkamoor trail
Coniston Pier, Lake Road, Coniston, Cumbria LA21 8ANRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
This Lake District walk starts and ends with a trip on Coniston’s famous steam-powered Gondola, providing a perfect opportunity to view the area’s spectacular scenery from the water. First launched in 1859 and now completely rebuilt by the National Trust, the Gondola sails from Coniston Pier (0.5 mile from Coniston village). Having disembarked, the route continues on foot, taking you through mixed woodland, open fell and past two fascinating old buildings. Rich in both flora and fauna this is a photographer's paradise. At the end of your walk, re-board the Gondola to return to Coniston Pier and your starting point. Please note, charges apply for the Gondola.
- Bus stop
Start: Coniston Pier, grid ref: SD307970
On leaving the jetty, turn left, following the lane to the car park at Dodgson Wood. Turn into the car park and exit from the rear left hand side, this is where all the hard work is done! Take your time and enjoy the tranquillity and delightful woodland surroundings. Follow the broad track which swings to the right, leaving the small barn to your left before starting to climb. Pass over a stile and on through the wood with a stream to your right-hand side. At the white marker post bear left, cross the beck and shortly after bear right at the next marker post. Again cross another small beck and ignoring the gate and stile to your left continue on a narrow path. Pass through a single gate and on up the path with the wall to your left. Keep climbing onto a major track where you should turn left, pass through a gate and on to Low Parkamoor Farm.
This remote, 16th-century Grade II listed farmhouse is set in a spectacular location some 656ft (200m) above Coniston Water. Recently restored by the National Trust, its now used as a residential resource and retreat by Grizedale Arts.
Leaving the farm on your left, pass through a gate into a field and follow a grassy path with a fence to your left until you reach the next gate. Passing through the gate the path becomes stony, and a steady but gentle climb follows. Be aware, this path is shared with mountain bikers who may descend at speed, Pass over the crest where stunning views will have you reaching for your camera. Descend to the viewpoint, a grassy ledge on the left just before you enter the forest (six flat slates confirm you have reached this magic spot).
Popular with photographers, the views across the Coniston Fells are spectacular.
Leave the viewpoint and pass through the gate onto a narrow track with forest on either side. Again, this undulating path is popular with bikers so stay alert. After around 15 minutes and on reaching a major forest track, turn left at the sign for High Cross and Moor Top. Ignore the first track to the left for Coniston and likewise the footpath going left at the foot of the hill. Just before the crest you will reach the Lawson Park bridleway. Turn left off the forest track and follow the rocky, and often muddy, firebreak through the pines and down to Lawson Park.
Dating from the 1300s, Lawson Park above Coniston now forms the headquarters of Grizedale Arts.
Turn right, leaving the farm behind you to your left, and descend on a narrower track and through a gate with more open country on your left. Away to your left is a fine view of the Coniston fells and a tiny barn which you will shortly pass by. Pass through another gate and still descending, cross another beck. After a short climb pass the barn and soon afterwards a seat of considerable interest. Still descending, pass Brantwood estate gates (the first are metal, the second wooden), and enjoy the long gentle stroll through lovely woodland to the road. Should you wish, you may take the path through the Brantwood grounds (admission charge applies, payable at Brantwood House).
Built for Sir James Ramsden, a director of the Furness Railway Company, the original Gondola was first launched in 1859 to take tourists on pleasure trips on Coniston Water. The original Victorian Gondola has been completely rebuilt by the National Trust, giving passengers the chance to sail in her sumptuous, upholstered saloons once again.
Turn left onto the lane (it is narrow so beware of the occasional car) and pass the entrance to Low Bank Ground, followed by Black Beck Cottage and Thurston. Brantwood House, former home of John Ruskin, now comes into view on your left. Here you will also find the Jumping Jenny cafe-bistro where a well deserved treat can be enjoyed, before re joining the Gondola by crossing the road and passing through the lower gardens to the jetty (Brantwood Jetty, grid reference: SD311958).
Former home of the artist John Ruskin from 1872 until 1900, Brantwood is both a treasure house of historical importance and a lively centre for contemporary arts and the environment. The house is open to the public from November to May. Admission charges apply (not National Trust).
End: Coniston Pier, grid ref: SD307970
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Moderate
- Distance: 4.6 miles (7.5 km)
- Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- OS Map: OS Landranger 96
Mixed woodland and open fell, some stony and muddy sections, good footwear and equipment including a map are recommended. The area is grazed so dogs must be kept under control and on leads.
- How to get here:
The trail starts and ends with an inspiring trip on Gondola, which sails from Coniston Pier (0.5 mile from Coniston village). Check fares and the timetable
By bike: View local cycle routes on the National Cycle Network website
By bus: Stagecoach in Cumbria 505 from Windermere railway station
By train: Foxfield 10 miles (16km), not Sunday; Windermere 10 miles (16km) via vehicle ferry
By car: A593 from Ambleside. Coniston Pier is at end of Lake Road, turn immediately left after petrol station if travelling south from centre of Coniston village
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