WALK from Coniston along the pastoral Yewdale valley and up the beautiful Glen Mary beside Tom Gill, writes JOHN EDMONDSON.

Take a short excursion off the popular Tarn Hows circuit to enjoy spectacular views from Tom Heights. Rejoin the tarn path then return to Coniston via Monk Coniston with its interesting trees, walled garden and gazebo.

Start from Coniston Tourist Information Centre, grid reference SD 303 975, postcode LA21 8EH.


Distance: 7.5 miles with 1,500 feet of ascent

Time: 4 hours

Terrain: mainly good footpaths and woodland tracks

Map: OS Explorer OL7


1 Turn right onto Tilberthwaite Avenue then left on Shepherds Bridge Road. Turn right to cross the bridge, through a kissing gate and on the Cumbria Way to the Dog House, a 19th Century Gothic style kennel for foxhounds. Walk up beside a fence on the right to a gate then past gorse bushes and through a kissing gate into conifer woodland. Descend past a waymarker to a gate and onward to meet a stony track. Turn left alongside Yewdale Beck. Cross the bridge then turn right onto the footpath signed High Yewdale. Go through two gateways in the centre of fields then left alongside a hedge and slate wall lined with yew trees. Originally there were 18 trees, each planted to celebrate the birth of a child.

2 Turn left onto the A593 for 100 yards then right onto the Hodge Close road. Cross Shepherd Bridge then keep straight on to the bridleway signed Yew Tree Farm. The farm was owned by Beatrix Potter and featured as Hill Top in the film Miss Potter. Cross the A593 right, then left, then turn left along the path to Glen Mary car park. Cross a footbridge and the first parking area, then left in the second area to cross Tom Gill via a footbridge. Turn immediately right through a wicket gate. Follow the uphill path on the left of Tom Gill as it tumbles down rocky slopes. On reaching Tarn Hows turn left for 200 yards then left onto a path behind a memorial bench. Follow the uphill path along the undulating ridge to the top of Tom Heights and enjoy spectacular views of Crinkle Crags, Langdale Pikes and Lingmoor. Descend over a boggy area to a stony path and turn right to meet the main path around Tarn Hows.

3 Turn left and circumnavigate the north of the tarn to a crossing of paths. Fork left through a gate onto the uphill path signed Rose Castle then keep right onto the high level path above the tarn. Visit the Scott Memorial rock on the right for some of the best views over the tarn. Continue to the disabled car park and cross the road onto the path signed Coniston. Bear right, keeping by the wall, onto the track signed Boon Crag then High Cross and Coniston. Keep right onto the track signed Coniston, descending through the woods. After crossing a bridge over the beck the path rises to a path-side fence, shortly after which turn left onto the path signed Monk Coniston. Descend the steps and cross a dam. Cross the B5285 onto a permissive footpath signed Gardens and Lake. Follow the woodland path then up to the left, through the walled garden and visit the gazebo on the other side. Follow the footpath down across pasture, with splendid views along the length of Coniston Water to Waterhead. Turn right on the roadside path, cross the B5285, turn left and return to Coniston.

Next week: Blea Tarn and Great Langdale from Elterwater

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.