Skip to content
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

You made it

Share your experience

More near here

Tarn Hows Cumbria

Tarn Hows circular walk 

Take in stunning views of the Lake District fells as you follow this easy, accessible route around a tree-lined tarn, with a Tramper mobility scooter available to borrow.

DistanceMiles: 2 (km: 3.2)
The view from Tarn Hows, Cumbria

Monk Coniston and Tarn Hows walk 

Walk from the head of Coniston Water to Tarn Hows via this picturesque route passing through woodland, farmland and the Walled Garden at Monk Coniston Hall. Look out for wildlife along the way including red squirrels, otters and hares.

DistanceMiles: 3.5 (km: 5.6) to miles: 5 (km: 8)

Get in touch

Our partners

Cotswold Outdoor

We’ve partnered with Cotswold Outdoor to help everyone make the most of their time outdoors in the places we care for.

Visit website 

You might also be interested in

Walker looking down over a green valley with a stream and stone path

Walking in the Lake District 

From gentle ambles to more challenging hikes, these are some of the best walks to explore the heart of the Lake District.

A person walking along the South West Coast Path at East Soar, South Devon


Explore some of the finest landscapes in our care on coastal paths, accessible trails, woodland walks and everything in between. Find the best places to walk near you.

A man on a Tramper talks to a woman beside him, on a tarmac path at Tarn Hows near Hawkshead, Cumbria. Also on the path are four other visitors and two dogs

Borrow a Tramper at Tarn Hows 

Borrow a Tramper mobility vehicle, a free to use all-terrain scooter which makes Tarn Hows more accessible to those who are less physically able.

A group of people in a hiking group are being guided on a hike by rangers at Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire

Cotswold Outdoor: our exclusive walking partner 

Find out more about the National Trust’s ongoing partnership with Cotswold Outdoor as our exclusive walking partner.

An aerial view of an adult and baby walking a dog along a path at Baggy Point, Devon

Staying safe at National Trust places 

The special places in National Trust care sometimes come with a few risks for visitors, be it coastline or countryside. Find out how to keep safe throughout your visits.

A visitor carrying a backpack and walking along a footpath at Divis and the Black Mountain with stone walls either side, the countryside visible in the background.

Follow the Countryside Code 

Help to look after National Trust places by observing a few simple guidelines during your visit and following the Countryside Code.

Tarn Hows & Coniston, Cumbria

Exploring Tarn Hows and Coniston 

Explore the varied landscape of the Lake District around Tarn Hows and Coniston. With endless walk and cycle routes and a Tramper to borrow, there’s something for everyone.

View of Tarn Hows and the surrounding mountainous landscape

The history of Tarn Hows 

Discover more about Tarn Hows, James Garth Marshall’s vision to create a designed landscape from three natural tarns and why his vision was never completed.