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Two visitors wearing outdoor clothing enjoy a hike in nature at Seatoller in the Lake District.
Visitors enjoy time out in nature on this circular trail | © National Trust/Steven Barber
Lake District

Seatoller, Styhead Tarn and Grains Gill walk

This invigorating circular walk takes you into the heart of the Lakeland fells beyond Borrowdale. Follow an ancient packhorse route, as mountain views of Great End and Great Gable rise above you. Relax by Sprinkling Tarn before returning next to the Grains Gill stream.

Preparing for your walk

Conditions in the fells can change quickly. Check the weather forecast before you go, pack food, water, plenty of warm layers and waterproofs, and wear sturdy footwear.

Total steps: 9

Total steps: 9

Start point

Seatoller National Trust car park, grid ref: NY245137

Step 1

Turn left out of the Seatoller car park and walk about 100yd (91m) along the road. Turn right onto the Seathwaite road and walk 1.2 miles (2km) to Seathwaite Farm.

Walkers setting out from Seatoller car park in Borrowdale, Lake District
Walkers setting out from Seatoller car park in Borrowdale | © National Trust / Steven Barber

Step 2

Cross Seathwaite farmyard, going through a series of gates. Walk along a streamside gravel track over a small footbridge.

Step 3

On reaching Stockley Bridge, continue straight ahead and begin climbing up Styhead Pass on cobbled and stone-pitched paths.

Step 4

Follow this route, which after a short distance becomes a narrow gravel track on more level but still uneven ground. The footbridge over Styhead Gill appears in front of you.

Step 5

Cross the bridge then bear left, ascending gently towards Styhead Tarn. Great Gable rises up to your right.

Step 6

Just above Styhead Tarn you will see a Mountain Rescue stretcher box. From here walk left across stepping stones and onto another stone-pitched path, with some sections of gravel and bedrock. Follow this to Sprinkling Tarn, a pleasant spot to rest and have a bite to eat.

Step 7

Leave Sprinkling Tarn and follow the same path as it skirts around the bottom of Great End until meeting Ruddy Gill, a fairly steep stream.

Step 8

At Ruddy Gill, turn left and cross the stream. Continue straight ahead and you will soon get back onto the path on Grains Gill again. On a clear day there are great views of Borrowdale and Derwent Water from here.

Step 9

Follow this path downhill, crossing a footbridge on the way. Eventually you'll reach a drystone wall. Go through a gate in the wall and look out for Stockley Bridge ahead. Return to it and then head back to your start point, following the same route from the start of your walk.

End point

Seatoller National Trust car park, grid ref: NY245137

Trail map

Ordnance Survey map of the Seatoller to Styhead Tarn and Grains Gill walk
Map of the Seatoller to Styhead Tarn and Grains Gill walk | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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