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A view of Alcock Tarn, Grasmere, in summer
A view of Alcock Tarn in summer | © Lucy Tickle
Lake District

Alcock Tarn walk

Starting in the heart of the lakeside village of Grasmere, this circular walk climbs to a small tarn, a beautiful place to have lunch. Winding through trees and out to views of the valley, lakes and surrounding fells, you'll take in history from miners and coffin-bearers to Wordsworth along the way.

Boggy underfoot

In wet weather, especially in autumn and winter, the top of the walk around the tarn can be boggy. Please take care and wear appropriate footwear for the conditions.

Total steps: 8

Total steps: 8

Start point

St Oswald's Church, Church Stile, Grasmere, grid ref: NY337074

Step 1

With the church behind you, head right to continue up Church Stile, follow the road through the village and turn right onto Broadgate, which leads to the main road (A591). Cross the main road with care and follow the minor road opposite, between the car park and the Swan Hotel. After about half a mile (0.8km) turn right at the finger post signed Greenhead Gill and Alcock Tarn. Follow the lane to the top with the stream tumbling alongside.

Step 2

At the top of the lane, step onto the fell side and turn right and go over the bridge. Follow the path as it bends right and then left following the line of the wall. You will reach a bench from which you can take a breath and look out over magnificent views.

Step 3

Continue on the ascending path following the wall, then continue on the path as it leaves the wall and goes up more steeply, zig-zagging up the fellside. Continue climbing up to a rocky outcrop.

Step 4

Go left of the rocks to the cairn and then onto the flatter, often wet, area until you reach a metal gate and Alcock Tarn.

Step 5

The tarn is a great place for a paddle to cool your feet and also a lovely spot to eat a picnic lunch. When the time comes to head down, walk along the right-hand side of the tarn and head for a gateless gap in the wall.

Step 6

Follow the path through the gap in the wall and start the descent over a short, rocky section of path overlooking the Vale of Grasmere. Take in the views as you descend. As the path goes steeply down, go through a gate past a bench and then a manmade pond (which dates back to this area being a gentleman's landscaped woodland garden).

Step 7

At the junction in the path, turn left. Continue through the metal gate and through the woods until you reach the road.

Step 8

Turn right and follow the road, which will lead you down the hill. Turn right at the junction on to a minor road to take you past Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Trust Museum, until you come to the A591. Cross with care and follow the B5287 back into Grasmere and to your starting point.

End point

St Oswald's Church, Church Stile, Grasmere, grid ref: NY337074

Trail map

Map of the Alcock Tarn walk from Grasmere
Map of the Alcock Tarn walk | © Crown copyright and database rights 2012 Ordnance Survey

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Allan Bank, Grasmere, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 9QB

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