Steam Yacht Gondola Parkamoor to Brantwood trail
The walk begins with a cruise on Steam Yacht Gondola. Take the Walkers Cruise from Coniston Pier (0.5 mile from Coniston village) at 11am on Saturdays and Sundays. On disembarking at Parkamoor jetty, 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.
Coniston Pier, grid ref: SD307970
From Parkamoor 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 afterwards at a hairpin bend in the track you'll see another white marker post where you should bear right off the main track. 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.
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 rise. Just before the crest at the end of the cleared section of forest you will reach the Lawson Park bridleway. Turn left off the forest track and follow the path along the edge of the pines and down to Lawson Park.
Dating from the 1300s, Lawson Park above Coniston now forms the headquarters of Grizedale Arts. Take a short detour to the left before continuing on the walk and you might see a swan burying its head in the ground.
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. Pass through another gate and carry on down past a small barn. Soon afterwards you'll come across a rather unusual seat. 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).
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 Brantwood Café & Restaurant where a well deserved treat can be enjoyed.
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).
To re-join Steam Yacht Gondola for your return trip to Coniston Pier cross the road below Brantwood and pass through the lower gardens to the jetty (Brantwood Jetty, grid reference: SD311958).
Steam Yacht Gondola
Steam Yacht Gondola was originally launched in 1859 to take Victorian tourists on pleasure trips around Coniston Water. After being left stranded on the lake bed in the 1960's, the boat was rebuilt and relaunched by the National Trust in 1980, giving today's tourists the chance to experience a cruise around Coniston Water on this magnificent boat.
Coniston Pier, grid ref: SD307970
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