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Tom Gill to Tarn Hows walk, Coniston


Thinking of driving up to Tarn Hows? Walking up this short approach heightens the magic.

Waterfalls, woodlands and wonderful views

Take the steep path through woodland and past the waterfalls, stopping off at the iconic beauty spot of Tarn Hows. The return route offers spectacular views of the high fells of Wetherlam and Coniston Old Man.

Tarn Hows near Coniston, Cumbria
All the family can enjoy walking at Tarn Hows National Trust / Chris Lacey


Map route for Tom Gill to Tarn Hows walk, Coniston
© Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey


Car park at Tom Gill (at Glen Mary Bridge), grid ref: SD321998


From the car park, head past the ticket machine and over the wooden bridge. Go through the gate to take the narrow path alongside the gill.


The path climbs up a rocky section before traversing the gill-side with the beck below. The waterfall is best viewed from the path as it ascends on the left side.

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Passing a gate, follow the path, keeping on the left-hand side of the gill. Take extra care on the last rocky section as you approach Tarn Hows. Head right on the main track through the gates.

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Herdwick sheep, Coniston, Cumbria
Get up close to Herdwick sheep, an icon of the Lakes, on your walk National Trust / Val Corbett


In front of the bench, at the three-way junction, take the path on the far left along the edge of the tarn. It sweeps around the bank and uphill, past some trees on your left.

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At the T-junction, go right, continuing uphill towards the road. Stay on the path as it follows alongside the road a little way above you, bearing left until you reach the junction with the road, opposite the car park.


Turn right and head towards Coniston, along the road, passing a cattle grid. Follow the road for about ¼ mile (0.4km) as it swings its way down, opening out breathtaking views of Yewdale.


At the junction, take the track on the right through the gates marked Tarn Hows Cottage. With the wall on your left and views on your right, follow the track towards the cottage.


Follow the track swinging down to the right. Go through the gate, keeping straight on past the front of the cottage and out through another gate into the fields. Turn immediately left, following the wall downhill.


At the end of the wall, go through the small gate. Continue down the slope, keeping the hedge and fence line to your right. Go through a small gate in the hedgerow, then turn left downhill.


At the bottom of the hill, head right along the field edge, with Yew Tree Farm on the opposite side of the road. Head out of the field, through the gate and over the wooden bridge into the car park. Yew Tree Farm is a typical Lakeland hill farm and was famously used in the 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.

Yew Tree Farm, house and Herdwick sheep, Coniston, Cumbria
Yew Tree farm is part of Beatrix Potter's legacy to the National Trust National Trust Images / Val Corbett


Car park at Tom Gill (at Glen Mary Bridge), grid ref: SD321998

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Tom Gill to Tarn Hows walk, Coniston


A short walk but on difficult terrain; the initial ascent up Tom Gill has uneven paths alongside steep drops with two rock scrambles that can be hazardous, especially in poor weather.

Dogs welcome on leads.

Not suitable for those with limited mobility or novice fell-walkers.

Tom Gill to Tarn Hows walk, Coniston

Contact us

Tom Gill to Tarn Hows walk, Coniston

How to get here

Glen Mary Bridge, Coniston, Cumbria
By road

Car park is located off the A593 Ambleside to Coniston road at Glen Mary Bridge.

By foot

From Coniston (Holly How Youth Hostel) follow the footpath (and permissive bridleway) north-east, along the well-surfaced woodland track, past High Yewdale and Yew Tree Farm to Glen Mary Bridge.

By bicycle

Regional Cycle Route 37(Ambleside to Coniston) passes via the property. Deviate from the route at Shepherds Bridge (end of Hodge Close Road), heading along the permissive bridleway to Yew Tree Farm. Tom Gill car park is 109yd (100m) further along the A593.

Tom Gill to Tarn Hows walk, Coniston

Facilities and access

  • Not suitable for those with limited mobility or novice fell-walkers
  • Dogs welcome on leads