Tarn Hows Circular Walk

Walking trail

Get ready to soak up some really special views of the Lakeland fells on this easy circular walk for all the family.

People walking on the path around Tarn Hows


Route map showing the circular walk around Tarn Hows


Tarn Hows Car Park


From the car park, cross the road and take the left hand fork following the track down to the lake side. Pass through the gate and continue on the track in a clockwise direction around the Tarn.

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Black and white photo of Tarn Hows in the 1950s


Follow the track as it continues around the Tarn to a point where a path crosses the main route. Continue straight ahead around the tarn and back to the car park if a level surfaced path is required. Otherwise to extend the walk and take in good views, pass through the gate to the left of the track and proceed uphill to an upper track. Continue on this track in the direction signposted to Consiton, Hawkshead and Old Car Park until reaching the Viewing Car Park. Note this extension is unsuitable for mobility scooters and pushchairs.

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early morning view of Tarn Hows looking north west


From the car park cross the road and pass through the gate following a footpath across the field, keeping the Tarn to the right hand side. This path can be muddy in bad weather. An alternative is to follow the road back towards the main car park.

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Continue on the track as it passes downhill and up again before descending back through a gate into to the main car park.

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Belted galloway cattle


Tarn Hows Car Park

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Tarn Hows Circular Walk

How to get here

Tarn Hows Car Park
By road

From Ambleside take the A593 and then the B5286 towards Hawkshead, and then the B5285 towards Coniston. At the village of Hawkshead Hill, follow signs to Tarn Hows. 

Please do not follow Sat Nav, instead follow signs for Tarn Hows from B5285, Coniston or Hawkshead Hill. 

By foot

Can be accessed from Hawkshead (2.25miles) or Coniston (2.25 miles) via road and public footpaths, see OS map for routes.

By bus

Take the 505 service from Hawkshead to Coniston. Alight at Hawkshead Hill Chapel and follow road signs to Tarn Hows (approx 1 mile). The walk will initially be via road, with a footpath option for part of the way.

By bicycle

From Ambleside via A593, and then B5286 towards Hawkshead. After 1 mile turn right on the road to the Drunken Duck. Continue on this road for 2.5 miles and look for signs for Tarn Hows. 5.5 miles total.

A major part of this route is by road. From Coniston take the cycle track from Coniston towards Hawkshead (the cycle track follows the road). After Boon Crag, follow the sign to the left for the Public Bridleway which rises steeply uphill to Tarn Hows. 2.25 miles. Note that cycling is not permitted around Tarn Hows.

Tarn Hows Circular Walk

Facilities and access

  • Toilets and baby changing facilities in Tarn Hows car park