Explore Coniston and Tarn Hows

Ranger on Peel island Conison water, Cumbria

Coniston holds some of the Lake District’s most varied landscape – mediaeval farms and Herdwick sheep nestle amongst woods and wetlands of international importance.

You can explore from gentle lakeshore to rugged fell top, following in the footsteps of the Swallows and Amazons or embark on your own adventure. Surfaced cycle routes keep you off road throughout much of the area if you’re on a bike, and there are endless walks for all abilities.

A wild side

Easy, circular walks from the village take in the west shore of Coniston water, crossing Coniston Old Hall Farm with its namesake 16th-century hall.

On the opposite shore, an expanse of ‘Britain’s rainforest’ shrouds the hillside – serene oak woods support rare lichens, mosses and ferns because of our mild, wet climate and clean air.

Swallow and Amazons

Just offshore, Peel Island played a part in inspiring Wild Cat Island in Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons, and is also thought to be the site of a mediaeval fort.

Yewdale links Coniston village to Skelwith and the route back to Ambleside; this meandering valley is home to the picturesque (and much photographed) Yew Tree Farm and is a great starting point for a gentle stroll or to see on two wheels.

From the car park at Glen Mary you can potter uphill through lush woodlands to Tarn Hows, passing the thunderous Tom Gill falls. Across the valley, Holme Fell rewards a similarly gentle walk with 360 degree views and a sea of heather – and for the adventurous, you can gain the top up one of the Lakes’ classic scrambles.

History & heritage

At the head of the Lake, Monk Coniston provides the key to the history of the surrounding landscape as the nineteenth century home of James Garth Marshall, who created Tarn Hows by damming the stream and planting thousands of trees to create picturesque views.

The arboretum at Monk Coniston contains towering specimens of unusual conifers and makes a great stop on a walk from the lake to Tarn Hows.