Stickle Tarn trail
The steep path from our pub Sticklebarn follows Stickle Ghyll all the way up the valley side giving plenty of excuses to take a breather and wonder at the dramatic waterfalls and rock pools cut into mountainside and the striking views across the valley towards Lingmoor.
Stickle Ghyll car park
Leave from the top end of the car park and head through a wooden gate behind Sticklebarn. You'll then pass between some stone walls on the left and a bird feeding station to the right. The stone walls are part of the remains of a fulling mill which was built here in 1453 to clean and felt wool. The mill would have been powered by water wheel using water diverted from Stickle Ghyll (you can still see a channel further up the path on the left which would have provided water).
Bird feeding station
Stop off at the bird feeding station and see what you can spot. A huge range of birds can be seen here from blackbird, blue tit and wren to great spotted woodpecker, cuckoo and treecreeper. Also keep your eyes open for butterflies (green-veined white, orange-tip, painted lady, red admiral) and dragonflies (common darter, common hawker and golden-ringed dragonfly).
The trail very quickly heads uphill along a well defined path. An enormous amount of work has been done over the years repairing this much used path. The majority of the route is constructed using a technique called stone pitching.
Stone pitching is a very hardwearing solution for upland paths. Large stones are set into the ground, something akin to rough cobblestones, to create a durable path that sits very naturally in its environment and prevents ugly scarring of the hillside.
The trail continues onwards and inevitably upwards. The scenery is dramatic so take every opportunity to pause, catch your breath and take in the views.
Waterfalls and rockpools
You'll see waterfalls and rock pools on your walk uphill, as well as trees clinging on for dear life at the edge of ravines whilst others, having lost their fight with gravity, lie stranded and forlorn in the ghyll.
After a while you'll approach a wooden footbridge over the stream. This is the location of the Stickle Ghyll hydro-electric scheme that is helping the National Trust in its aim to become a greener organisation.
The 100kW hydro-electric scheme on Stickle Ghyll supplies electricity to the National Trust's Sticklebarn pub. The project is part of a wider aspiration to turn Sticklebarn into the UK’s most sustainable pub.
Once you're over the footbridge you'll start to gain height fairly rapidly as the path becomes steeper and, in places, turns into short scrambles over rocky outcrops. Eventually, as the top ridge comes into view you'll cross back over the stream on to its left side.
Large stepping stones (or more accurately, stepping boulders) make the second crossing of the stream almost as straightforward as the first. The size of the boulders in this area reflects how ferocious the stream can become when in full spate.
A few minutes later as you come over the final rise, you'll see the rewarding sight of Stickle Tarn below the stunning backdrop of Harrison Stickle and Pavey Ark. These summits together with Pike O' Stickle once formed part of the outer rim of a massive volcano.
The original tarn was enlarged by the building of the dam in 1838. The dam was constructed in order to provide a constant year-round supply of water to power the Gunpowder Works down the valley at Elterwater (now the site of Langdale Estates where you can still see some of the giant mill stones used for grinding the gunpowder).
Stick around for a while and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of Stickle Tarn. It's a great spot to dangle your bare feet in the water before retracing your steps back down the same path to your start point.
Go, you've earned
Reward yourself for your efforts with a nice drink at our pub Sticklebarn.
Stickle Ghyll car park
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