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Sunny view of a white farmhouse building, a shepherd and grey Herdwick sheep in the yard, and mountains rising behind
Yew Tree Farm, near Coniston, is the final stop on your route | © National Trust Images/Val Corbett
Lake District

Tom Gill to Tarn Hows walk

Thinking of driving to Tarn Hows? Approaching by this short but exhilarating climb heightens the magic. Take a steep woodland path past surging waterfalls to reach the beautiful tarn near Coniston. The circular route returns you via soaring views of Wetherlam and Coniston Old Man fells.

Challenging terrain

This walk has two scrambles that can be hazardous in wet weather. Please wear appropriate footwear for the conditions.

Total steps: 10

Total steps: 10

Start point

Glen Mary Bridge National Trust car park, near Tom Gill, grid ref: SD321998

Step 1

From the car park, head past the ticket machine and over the wooden bridge. Go through the gate to take the narrow path alongside the gill (a narrow stream cut into a rocky ravine).

A rushing stream running through green mossy woodland scattered with fallen leaves
Tom Gill near Tarn Hows | © National Trust Images/Nick Dautlich

Step 2

The path climbs up a rocky section before traversing the gill-side with the beck below. The waterfall is best viewed from the path as it ascends on the left side.

Step 3

Passing a gate, follow the path, keeping on the left-hand side of the gill. Take extra care on the last rocky section as you approach Tarn Hows, the reward for your climb. Head right on the main track through the gates.

Herdwick sheep at Yew Tree Farm, Coniston, Lake District, Cumbria
Herdwick sheep in the Lake District | © National Trust Images/Val Corbett

Step 4

In front of the bench, at the three-way junction, take the path on the far left along the edge of the tarn. It sweeps around the bank and uphill, past some trees on your left.

Early morning view across a lake surrounded by trees, with pink-tinged mountain peaks in the distance
Tarn Hows: picture-postcard views at every turn | © National Trust/Paul Harris

Step 5

At the T-junction go right, continuing uphill towards the road. Stay on the path as it follows alongside the road a little way above you, bearing left until you reach the junction with the road, opposite the car park.

Step 6

Turn right and head towards Coniston, along the road, passing a cattle grid. Follow the road for about a quarter of a mile (400m) as it swings its way down, opening out to breathtaking views of Yewdale.

Step 7

At the junction, take the track on the right through the gates marked Tarn Hows Cottage. With the wall on your left and views on your right, follow the track towards the cottage.

Step 8

Follow the track swinging down to the right. Go through the gate, keeping straight on past the front of the cottage and out through another gate into the fields. Turn immediately left, following the wall downhill.

Step 9

At the end of the wall, go through the small gate. Continue down the slope, keeping the hedge and fence line to your right. Go through a small gate in the hedgerow, then turn left downhill.

Step 10

At the bottom of the hill, head right along the field edge, with Yew Tree Farm on the opposite side of the road. Head out of the field, through the gate and over the wooden bridge into the car park.

End point

Glen Mary Bridge National Trust car park, near Tom Gill, grid ref: SD321998

Trail map

Ordnance Survey map of the the Tom Gill to Tarn Hows walk
Map of the Tom Gill to Tarn Hows walk | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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