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On days when Coniston is overflowing with visitors the hamlet of Torver to the south provides something of a quiet haven.
Start at St Luke’s Church, which is the Victorian successor of a little chapel set up by monks, although not those of Furness. The priors of Conishead, near Ulverston, administered the chapel and following the dissolution by Henry VII the building was consecrated in its own right.
Follow the line of the old railway along the present A593. Don't miss the old stationmaster's building. Continue beyond the A5084, turning and look out for a narrow lake to the left.
Follow an obvious bridleway and continue along a wooded area to the right. I have seen barn owls on several occasions and three years ago I found a dead adult. I was able to photograph its powerful talons and I could see what a powerful killing machine this species is. Pass through Torver Low Common and cross Mill Bridge over Torver Back. Look closely and see the remains of what was once a waterwheel powering the mill.
After the beck follow the hedge footpath to the A5084 and Emlin Hall. This is one of the oldest granges established by the Furness monks and it is still set in a pastoral area. Follow the road until a sign is reached which indicates “Coniston via the Lake Shore”. The path turns right and then sweeps left and hugs the shore of Lake Coniston. This was once called Thorsteins Water, which indicates a Norse settlement. The lake is five miles long and at its deepest point is 175 feet.
The path here undulates and passes through kissing gates before descending to the waterside. Look out over the lake to see Waterpark beyond you and Brantwood on the far shore. Waterpark is another of the monastic granges whilst Brantford was once the home of John Ruskin (1819-1900).
Continue alongside the lake as far as a mooring used by the National Trust-owned boats, including the steam launch Gondola, built in 1860 now splendidly restored.
Look for a footpath to the left signed to Torver. This leads through extensive woodlands, with Torver Beck Common seen away to the left. Look out here for the remnants of stone circles. Pass through gates and dog stiles. Cross fields and along a stretch of the old railway now A593. Turn left ad return to the starting point.