Alcock Tarn, Grasmere

You’ll find Alcock Tarn above Grasmere, in the central Lake District.  It’s beautiful in its own right, and also offers amazing views out over to Windermere, Coniston, Elterwater, Grasmere, Easedale Tarn and beyond!

We did a 2.5 mile clockwise circular route, starting at the Swan Hotel at Grasmere.  We parked on the roadside at grid reference 334508 on OS map OL7.  The post code for Sat Nav users is LA22 9RF.  Here is the route map:


Starting from the Swan Hotel, head up the lane, away from the main road.  Take the left fork in the road and you’ll soon see the footpath sign pointing you to the right.  Head up until you reach the river.

The bridge crossing Greenhead Gill was washed away during Storm Desmond in 2015.  It’s due to be replaced in the summer of 2018.  In the meantime, you’ll have to ford the stream by foot.  Which means this walk is not really suitable for a wet day, or after heavy rainfall.  We were lucky today, as it’s been quite dry these past few days, and crossing the river was a fun adventure!

Once you’ve crossed the river, continue heading on and you’ll soon come to a stoned footpath leading uphill on your right side.  Follow this path all the way up to the top (turning right at the corner of the wall) and you’ll find Alcock Tarn.  It’s approximately 950 feet of ascent, and was managed by our 4 and 6 year olds, with encouragement and chocolate stops!

After a picnic and photo at the top, continue onwards, following the clear path downhill.  The path winds and snakes downwards.  Eventually you’ll get to a footpath sign.  Take the permitted path to the right, rather than the yellow footpath.  This will lead you all the way to the new Forest Side hotel.  Exit through the gate and head back down to the car.

We did this walk at the beginning of November, on a fine day, and it certainly ranks highly.  There was quite a climb for the first half of the walk, but the kids enjoyed clambering up the fell side on the rocky paths.  The views were absolutely beautiful.

We didn’t have enough time to try out the Swan Hotel, but it’s on our list for next time!

Other walks near here include Easedale Tarn, Lion and the Lamb, White Moss, Loughrigg and Rydal Caves.

For more family walks, great picnic spots and pubs, stay up to date and “like” our facebook page Family Walks and Pubs in the Lake District and follow us on Twitter @familywalklakes

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