THIS short walk from Hawkshead visits a secluded tarn in the Grizedale Forest and offers splendid views of Esthwaite Water and the fells to the north, writes JOHN EDMONDSON. The sheltered, well made paths make it a good all season walk regardless of the weather.

Start from Hawkshead bus stop near the car park, grid reference SD 353 979, postcode LA22 0NS.


Distance: 4 miles with 750 feet of ascent

Time: 5 hours

Terrain: good footpaths and forest tracks

Map: OS Explorer OL7


1 Cross the road to the path signed Vicarage Lane going in front of the Old Grammar School. Its most famous pupil was William Wordsworth, whose name can still be seen carved into one of the desks. Keep left past the 15th Century Parish Church. Take a short detour to visit the graveyard on the left. Words on one of the gravestones begin (appropriately for walkers), "May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back." Above the graveyard is a fenced off H-bomb shelter. This underground station was built in the 1950s at the height of the Cold War to monitor progress if there was a nuclear attack on the UK. Return to the path and after the second gate bear right to Walker Ground then left at the cottage onto an uphill track signed Grizedale, following the course of a beck on the left.

2 Go through a gate and keep on the main track. After crossing a ford, views open out over Esthwaite Water on the left. Turn left onto the forestry road (signed Moor Top) then after 80 yards take the waymarked footpath on the right. Continue uphill to meet a second forestry road and bear left at the Y-shaped junction. Goosey Foot Tarn can be seen through the trees on your right. The tarn, probably named by its shape, was built to supply Hawkshead with water. Visit the tarn by turning right along a short track at its southern end, where there is a stone memorial bench.

3 Return to the forest track and turn right. Turn left at the next junction and almost immediately fork left going downhill to rejoin the forest track at another junction. Keep straight on and go through Moor Top car park. Turn right onto road for 40 yards then left onto track path signed High Barn. Walk down past a crossing of paths towards Esthwaite Water and between the cottage and barn of High Barn. Continue around the left side of a boggy field. Splendid views appear of the fells to the north beyond Ambleside and over Esthwaite Water. Descend into a pretty valley, across a wooden footbridge and through woods where Elder Gill flows down a deep gorge on the left. Walk through the small estate of cottages to the road and turn left.

4 After 300 yards turn left on the path signed Hawkshead. Just before Howe Farm turn right (signed Roger Ground). At Roger Ground walk up to the main road and turn right (downhill). At the next bend (by a mirror) turn left onto the footpath to Hawkshead Church. The stone flag wall beside the path was skilfully made from interlocking Brathay slates. Here too is a good example of a 'hek' or 'stang and stoop' gate where the rails (stangs) can be arranged to allow small animals such as sheep to pass underneath while keeping larger animals within the field. Turn right onto the path where the walk started out and return to Hawkshead village.

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.