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5 Best Walks around Coniston Water, Village and Coppermines

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The area around this picturesque little village in the southern Lakes is a haven for hikers of all abilities, so we thought we’d put together a list of the best walks around Coniston for your next visit.

There is plenty to do nearby for all the family and a good selection of shops, places to eat and welcoming country pubs, along with some of the most spectacular scenery in the UK.


Monk Coniston And Tarn Hows Walk

This moderately challenging walk takes around 2-3 hours and covers 5 miles, giving you plenty of opportunity to admire the spectacular scenery along the way.

Get up close the famous Herdwick Sheep as you pass through rolling farmland on this delightful figure of eight walk which was devised by J G Marshall a prominent industrialist in the area during the 19th century.

Keep your eyes peeled for red squirrels in the woodland, otters and lizards and marvel at the impressive tree collection and pretty walled garden at Monk Coniston Hall.

For the not-so-energetic there are seats to sit and relax along the way and afterwards why not enjoy a bite to eat at one of the excellent eateries in Coniston.


Tom Gill To Tarn Hows Walk

Most visitors drive to Tarn Hows, which is one of the most famous beauty spots in the Lakes but walking there is well worth the effort.

Suited to the more experienced hiker this challenging dog-friendly walk near Coniston takes you up a steep woodland path past waterfalls and offers breath-taking views of the Old Man of Coniston and the high fells of Wetherlam.

Be careful where you step!

Although a short walk of just 1.6 miles, it does take around an hour due to the rocky terrain and uneven paths. However, you can then take a gentler stroll around the Tarn which connects to other routes.

The Tarn boasts a National Trust carpark, toilets, plenty of scenic picnic spots and in the summer, there is usually an ice-cream van if you fancy a treat.


​Coniston to Torver Jetty

Easy walks

This easy low level walk is suitable for everyone and follows a disused railway track from Coniston to Torver, returning via the Cumbria Way which hugs the shores of Coniston Water. The distance of this Coniston railway walk is 4.3 miles or 2.2 miles if you return by boat.

The route starts from the Coniston Boating Centre car park, there are some kissing gates along the way, but these are wide enough for both wheelchairs and prams. Look across the water for views of Grizedale Forest, Brantwood which was once the home of the Victorian Writer John Ruskin and marvel at the Old Man of Coniston which dominates the scenery.

Once you reach the jetty, there is a car park with facilities and you can catch the boat back to Coniston or follow the lakeshore path back to the village.


The Saddle of Coniston

A very pleasant low level walk, suitable for families. This route takes you past the waterfalls of Church Beck and on to the disused quarry in the Coppermine’s valley, where you can see the old machinery and wagons which date back almost 400 years.Witness the majestic co​​​​​​​​​untryside

The return trip is via the Saddle of Coniston with breath-taking views of the lake and village where you can discover more about the copper industry with a visit to the Ruskin Museum or head to one of the plethora of village pubs, where you can enjoy a bite-to eat or a well-deserved pint.

The distance of this lovely walk is 2.64 miles and it takes under 2 hours to complete.


​Black Crag & Holme Fell

Best Circular Walks

More of a triangle than a circle really, this charming low-level 7-mile walk takes around 5 hours to complete and offers some of the most magnificent views in the area.

The route starts and finishes at Tarn Hows and takes in two of the lowest summits in the Lake District. Black Crag with its panoramic views towards Windermere and Holme Fell which looks out over Coniston Water itself. Definitely take your camera with you on this hike and keep an eye out for the local wildlife too.

If you are new to walking, there are guided tours available for this walk with prices of around £25 per person a day.

Important points about hill walking in the Lake District

The walks above are all relatively safe, but whenever you are hiking there is always the chance of injury or getting lost, so it is essential you plan your journey.

There are lots of apps, guidebooks and maps available which will help you choose the correct walk for your ability. Start slowly with a low-level walk, they still offer spectacular viewpoints. If you do plan on a more challenging hill-climb, plan to be off the fell before dark.

Hiking Checklist

  • Tell someone where you are going, what your planned route is and when you expect to return
  • Check the weather – There can be dramatic changes in the weather in the Lake District. Heavy rain can result in the ground becoming slippery, flash floods and rivers and streams becoming impassable. Walking the fells in winter, when Alpine conditions can develop is not for amateurs.
  • The British Mountaineering Council provides comprehensive advice for hikers and climbers in their hill walkers booklet and on their website.
  • Wear the right clothing – Make sure you have appropriate footwear even the low-level and family friendly walks in Coniston may have a little rough terrain. So, don’t head out in flip flops. Also, even if it is warm at ground level, the temperature can drop quickly as you climb or if the weather changes so always be prepared and carry some warm clothing and a waterproof.
  • Natural sources of water are not safe to drink so always take enough bottled water with you in order to stay hydrated, especially during warmer weather.
  • Swimming- There are plenty of places to enjoy a refreshing dip in the Lake District and wild swimming is a popular pastime. Find out more about wild swimming in the Lake District here (insert link when live) However, the water is usually extremely cold and there are hazards to be aware of such as currents, boats and hidden rocks.
  • Wildlife – The Lakes are teeming with wildlife, find out more about walking through farmland and near livestock by reading the countryside code. Two things you need to watch out for when walking through dense vegetation are.
  • Ticks – These insects carry Lyme Disease and can cause serious risks to health.
  • Adders – Rarely seen but if you step on one in the undergrowth they will bite so always wear suitable footwear and tread carefully.

If you do get into difficulties and need to call Mountain Rescue:

  • Dial 112 and ask for mountain rescue
  • Give them your location (with grid reference, if possible)
  • The number of people with you, including their name, age and gender
  • Any injuries
  • Your mobile number


Can you walk by Coniston Water?
Yes, there are some lovely walks which run by the shore of the lake, where you can stop for a picnic, take a boat trip or simply admire the views.

What’s the distance around Coniston lake?
If you want to walk around the whole lake using the Cumbrian Way trails it is around 16 miles in total.

How difficult is the old man of Coniston?
This a 6-mile circular walk of moderate difficulty, there are various routes to the summit, so do your research to discover which one would be best suited to your party.

The Last Word

Coniston and the surrounding area is a beautiful part of the country with nearby walks suitable for all ages and abilities. You will find walks around Coniston that are dog friendly, family friendly, low level and more challenging. There are plenty of facilities shops where you can purchase walking kit, toilets, places to eat and quintessential country inns.

So, pack your hiking boots, map and camera and head to Coniston

If you need places to stay nearby you can find them here