Torver Beck and Bowmanstead

THIS interesting walk follows Torver Beck upstream past an impressive quarry waterfall to the Walna Scar road. The route then descends to a beautiful garden and the Ship Inn at Bowmanstead. It returns via Coniston Old Hall, the lakeside and Hoathwaite Farm.

Start from the lay-by beside the A593 north of Torver, just south of the turning for Hoathwaite Campsite, grid reference SD 287 946, near postcode LA21 8AX.


Distance: 6.5 miles with 1,200 feet of ascent

Time: 3 hours

Terrain: grassy footpaths and stony tracks

Map: OS Explorer OL6


1 Walk to the lane signed Hoathwaite Campsite and turn left onto the bridleway signed Little Arrow. At Little Arrow cross the A593 and join the signed footpath. The path goes over a cattle grid, past a white house and over a wall stile onto an uphill path through gorse bushes. Views appear over Torver and Blawith Fells to the left and of Walna Scar ahead. Continue near Torver Beck on the left going through a gate, over grassy pasture and past a fingerpost signed Walna Scar. Cross a footbridge and pass to the left of a large quarry tip. This was the main Bannishead slate quarry. Continue around the right of the fenced quarry known as Johnson’s Deep. The waterfall was created in 1959 when children dislodged a wall that held back Torver Beck. Water runs out through a quarry access level. Continue up the path bending right to face the fells below Coniston Old Man and ascend to meet the Walna Scar road. Once an important byway between Coniston and Seathwaite this track was closed to motor vehicles (for a second time) in 2012.

2 Turn right and follow the track for one mile to the car park. Turn right onto the path signed Bleathwaite beside a wall on the left. Turn left to go through a gate then downhill parallel to a wall and fence on the right. Go through a gateway beside a beck and then in the direction of a waymarker. Cross a fence stile in an opening between trees with attractive views over Coniston. Continue ahead (past a gate on the left) going downhill then through a gate at the bottom left, across a plank bridge and down to a gate on the left of a lawn. Cross to the left corner of Mill Dam Cottage and go ahead, past two large conifers, and through a beautiful garden to a bridleway. Turn left, zig-zag downhill, cross the railway path and descend to the Ship Inn.

3 Turn right onto the A593 for 50 yards, then left onto the path signed Coniston Hall. Go through woodland and turn right onto the main track. Pass round the right of Coniston Hall and farm and along the campsite road. Keep left onto a stony track following the lakeshore. Cross Hoathwaite Beck then turn right onto the track signed Torver. The track bends to the left and continues uphill. At the top of the slope the walk can be shortened by continuing along the track. For a more scenic route turn left through a kissing gate beyond campsite toilets. In front of Hoathwaite farmhouse turn right by a barn and walk beside a coppice on the left. Go through a kissing gate into the coppice and out at the top through another kissing gate. Cross a field to the gate opposite and walk along the fenced grassy track. Turn right onto the track after Brackenbarrow Farm. At the minor road turn right and return to the A593 where the walk began.

Next week: Ratherheath and Underbarrow

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.