Tarn Hows

Tarn Hows

Route: Tarn Hows

Area: Southern Lake District

Date of walk: 1st November 2023

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 3.5 miles

Ascent: 450 feet

Weather: Sunny patches, heavy rain at the halfway point

Tarn Hows is a well known beauty spot, perhaps too well known as it can be a little busy at times. The tarn is partly artificial, having been formed in the 19th century by the merging of three small tarns. When the Tarns and their setting came up for sale in 1929, they were bought by Beatrix Potter who sold the half containing Tarn Hows to the National Trust, and bequeathed the rest of the estate to the Trust in her will

We parked at the National Trust Glen Mary car park. The footbridge over Tom Gill was not in use but it was a simple matter to locate the path by the side of the gill. Keeping the gill on our right, we climbed up a rocky staircase passing by several impressive waterfalls. After about 20 minutes we arrived at the edge of Tarn Hows. We set off anti-clockwise along the wheelchair friendly path which runs around the tarn. After a short distance we left the main path to climb up to a higher path which enjoys better views. We lingered at a rocky viewpoint waiting for the light to improve, but it only worsened and we could see black clouds coming our way. We descended to the main path and followed it around Rose Castle Plantation, at which point it started raining quite heavily and the camera had to be stowed away

We arrived back at the outflow of Tom Gill but instead of retracing our steps beside it we sought out an alternative descent which is just as scenic, and much easier than descending the slippery rocks steps beside the gill. We passed by an atmospheric ruined barn and five minutes later we reached the Glen Mary car park – soaking wet, but it had been a wonderful walk despite the weather

For anyone looking for a longer walk, or seeking to bag a Wainwright, a visit to Tarn Hows can be combined with a climb up Holme Fell or Black Fell. There are numerous paths in the area giving rise to many possibilities – for a few more ideas visit the Find Walks page and search Tarn Hows in the Search Site box

Click on the icon below for the route map (subscribers to OS Maps can view detailed maps of the route, visualise it in aerial 3D, and download the GPX file. Non-subscribers will see a base map)

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