THIS is a fairly easy walk from Coniston to Torver using a former railway path followed by a visit to the quiet fells of Torver Low Common and its tarn, writes JOHN EDMONDSON. The return route follows the Cumbria Way along the shores of Coniston Water.

The walk starts from the crossroads at the top of Lake Road in Coniston (grid reference SD 301 974, postcode LA21 8HH).


Distance: eight miles with 700 feet of ascent.

Time: 3.5 hours

Terrain: well made tracks and footpaths, a quiet road and some fell paths.

Map: OS Explorer OL6


1 Walk up Station Road and turn left just before the first bend. Go up some steps then along a lane beside slate cottages to join the old railway track. The Coniston Railway ran for 8.5 miles between Coniston and Broughton in Furness and on to Foxfield (hence the letters FOX on the bridge codes) from 1859 to 1962. It was originally designed for the transport of copper ore from the mines to the coast and later developed into a line for tourists. Turn left, then right onto the road and rejoin the railway track to the left of the road bridge. At the holiday park continue along the footpath by the park roadway then carry straight on towards Torver. After passing behind the Church House Inn turn left onto the road then right onto a bridleway that is the entrance to Shepherds View Caravan Site.

2 The bridleway turns left before Moor Farm then left at a fingerpost signed Mill Bridge. Walk past a white house and keep right (avoid crossing the river bridge). The path enters Torver Commons. This area was once inhabited, being above thickly wooded valleys. Keep along the waymarked bridleway going uphill parallel to power lines on the right and with views behind of Coniston Old Man. The path goes beside Torver Tarn, also called Thrang, Throng or Moss Tarn. The tarn is mapped as a reservoir owing to the low dam at its southern end, which was built to increase the water supply to a bobbin mill at Sunny Bank.

3 Immediately after the dam turn left to descend a valley beside a beck and past mature juniper trees. Common juniper is an evergreen conifer native to the UK and lives for up to 200 years. Its populations in the UK are shrinking, and the species is a priority under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. The most famous use of juniper berries is in the flavouring of gin. Their oil can be used to aid respiratory and digestive problems, and was once considered a good method to terminate a pregnancy. Cross the footbridge and go through a kissing gate to the A5084.

4 Cross the road and join the footpath signed Coniston via Lake Shore. Follow the grassy track downhill towards the lake (avoiding a metal gate on the left) to Sunny Bank jetty. Continue along the lakeshore path keeping to the right after walking past a boating centre. After passing the 16th Century Coniston Hall follow the wide path and return to Coniston.

Next week: walk goes to Seatle, south of Newby Bridge

NB: Restrictions on space mean that this article provides a general summary of the route. It is advisable for anyone who plans to follow the walk to take a copy of the relevant Ordnance Survey map.