Grasmere Walk

Grasmere Walk

Grasmere Walk

First published in Walks in the Lake District

THIS week I decided to make a longer journey than usual into the Lake District to find an almost forgotten tarn much loved by William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy.

1.From the Swan Inn turn left along a very minor road.

Look for a footpath sign on the right indicating Alcock Tarn.

Follow the course of Greenhill Gill, a pretty stream with many small waterfalls and the haung of grey wagtail and dipper.

2.Approach two private houses and pass these on the right, crossing a wooden footbridge over the stream.

Walk to the left and prepare for a long steep climb.

3.Look for a bend in the rough trakc and follow an ancient packhorse trail.

Here the track becomes even steeper, finally reaching a collection of rocks offering views along the valley.

4.The track runs alongside a stone wall which twists onwards and upwards over rocks, grass and a baggy area. Look for a wooden stile over a stone wall.

5.Cross this stile leading to the tarn, now in the hands of the National Trust. Approach a metal gate with a Trust sign on, passing through it and continuing over Bracken fell.

Here a number of small streams lead down to Rydal Beck. Take advantage of one of the well-positioned benched to enjoy the view and get your breath.

You need to descend through a woodland area close to a little pond to meet a minor road. Turn right and right again passing a very small tarn.

6.Look to the right to find the coffin stone. This was one the road to the church in Grasmere and the flat stone was used by funeral parties to give coffin bearers a rest.

7.Pass Dove Cottage on the right. If you’ve time, stop and wallow in the Words-worth experience, as the family lived here between 1799 and 1808.

Again this is run by the National Trust. From Dove Cottage, turn right on to the A591 and follow the wide verge past the National Trust ffice on the right.

Ignore the two footpaths on the left leading to Grasmere and return to your starting point.

How to get there

Grasmere is the nearest main town to Alcock Tarn.

Follow the A591 between Ambleside and Keswick.

Approaching from Ambleside, drive through Rydal but don’t turn off into Grasmere, instead continue on the A591 to reach a car park on the right close to the Swan Hotel.

Length of walk: 4½ miles.

Some guide say it is just 1½ miles and easy going but in reality it is much longer and tough in places.

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