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You are here: Walk Routes Coniston Valley and Fells

Coniston Valley And Fells Walk

Grade : M
Distance : 14¾Km (9¼ miles)
Height Climbed : 550 metres (1,804 feet)
Map : Explorer OL6
Stiles : 3
Summary : A great fine weather walk with splendid panoramic views. It starts off going round to and down the Copper Mines Valley to head along part of the Old Coniston Railway line. This is followed by a pleasant lakeside stroll along the shores of Coniston Water, a section of the Cumbria Way and a gentle climb through Torver Common Wood with its spring bluebells before heading up onto Bleathwaite Pasture. You finish with a view of the Bannishead Quarry waterfall and a ramble along Walna Scar Road, an old pack-horse route back to the car park.
There is a wide choice of post-walk refreshments available in Coniston Village.
Terrain : A mixture of valley and hill walking over ground that can be boggy especially after rainfall. Basic navigation skills may be required in poor visibility and winter conditions.
Start : Walna Scar free car park above Coniston village    NGR: SD 2888 9704    Nearest Postcode LA21 8HZ (The crossroads in Coniston where you turn up Station Road).
Access by car : From Ambleside take the A593 to Coniston and keep to the main road through the village until you reach the crossroad just past the garage. Here turn right up Station Road (signed 'Coniston Old Man'), keeping ahead as it winds its way uphill and narrows to a single track shortly before passing the national speed limit signs. Eventually you reach a gate which you have to open and go through to the parking area (closing the gate behind you).
Access by public transport : Bus 505 from Windermere BR station to Coniston Visitor Centre (340m, ¼ mile from point 4) 7 days a week.


1   Grid ref : SD 2889 9705
Head back to this car park entrance gate, but don't go through it; take the gravel track left signed to Coniston Old Man. Continue along it until you reach a junction at the top of the Copper Mines Valley.

2   Grid ref : SD 2845 9808
At this junction turn right to head down the valley, keeping to the path ahead and ignoring the odd stile and footpath on your left or right until you reach a wide bridge on your left.

3   Grid ref : SD 2942 9802
This is known as the Miners' Bridge; don't cross it, instead continue straight on along the track heading downhill and through a small industrial yard to a T-junction.

4   Grid ref : SD 3002 9758
At this junction by The Sun Hotel you turn right to the next junction.

5   Grid ref : SD 3002 9756
Here you turn right uphill to a crossroads.

6   Grid ref : SD 2997 9756
At this crossroads turn left to walk along Old Furness Road past the old station car park, the site of the old Coniston Station complete with information board. You are now following the Old Coniston Railway, a branch line opened in 1859 to take copper and slate from the local mines to the coast at Broughton-in-Furness and later also provided a passenger service until its closure in 1962. Continue ahead along the road and permissive path until you reach a sign for The Ship Inn.

7   Grid ref : SD 2994 9683
At this sign go left through the gate and head down to the Inn car park.

8   Grid ref : SD 3001 9687
Walk through the car park to this exit and turn right.

9   Grid ref : SD 3000 9685
After a few paces turn left at this junction down to the main road.

10   Grid ref : SD 3002 9683
Cross the road and pass through this gap to your right on the other side, signed for Coniston Hall to a gate.

11   Grid ref : SD 3006 9684
After this gate bear right over the footbridge to the gate on the other side of it.

12   Grid ref : SD 3007 9683
Pass through this gate (straight ahead of you in the picture - ignore the gateway to your right) and follow the path left to a gravelled track.

13   Grid ref : SD 3021 9688
You follow this track right as you join The Cumbria Way, a 112 km (70 mile) National Trail crossing the Lake District National Park from Ulverston to Carlisle. Continue ahead when you join the road bending right past the farm building of Coniston Hall (a Grade II listed 16th Century building). Keep to the main road through the campsite, crossing a small bridge.

14   Grid ref : SD 3033 9573
When you reach this junction about 500m past Coniston Hall, take the left fork. This leads you down to the lakeside and through a gate, where you follow the path ahead along the shore of Coniston Water over a footbridge and past a path on your right.

Although best known for its links with Sir Malcolm Campbell and the site of his four successive water speed records, Coniston Water was also the inspiration for Arthur Ransomes Swallows & Amazons novels.

15   Grid ref : SD 3017 9522
Shortly afterwards your route briefly bears right away from the lake where you go left through this gate to follow the left hand boundary to another gate.

16   Grid ref : SD 3015 9517
Go left again through this gate and follow the path ahead over two bridges, keeping ahead along the main lakeside path to a small woodland clearing on your right.

17   Grid ref : SD 3007 9467
Here look out for and take this path to your right along the edge of the clearing (it is easy to miss), then continue ahead uphill through the wood.

18   Grid ref : SD 2980 9462
During this uphill section take the left fork at this junction and continue the gentle climb to a clearing, where you will need to aim for the dry-stone wall ahead. Follow the wall left and carry on along the path to a gated junction by a farmhouse.

19   Grid ref : SD 2907 9438
Here turn right to pass in front of the farm (on your left) and follow the track ahead.

20   Grid ref : SD 2926 9459
Keep left at this junction then, as the track disappears at the next gate, keep straight ahead across the field towards the large oak-tree on the other side. Pass through either the gate or gap-stile just to the left of it to follow the woodland track.

21   Grid ref : SD 2943 9484
Turn right after passing through this gate on the other side of the woodland and follow the woodland boundary to the right-hand corner.

22   Grid ref : SD 2952 9489
Here you walk through this gate ahead of you and keep straight ahead to the farmyard.

23   Grid ref : SD 2956 9491
Here you turn left for a few metres...

24   Grid ref : SD 2956 9493
... to pass through the pedestrian gate on your right and keep straight ahead to the road.

25   Grid ref : SD 2957 9496
Cross this road and immediately bear left parallel with the cattle grid. Then after a few steps, turn right between the fence and hedge and follow the path bearing right through another wood, down to a gate on the other side of it.

26   Grid ref : SD 2960 9516
Veer diagonally right after this gate over the footbridge (or through the ford if it's not too deep), bear left round the bottom of the small hill to your left and head up towards the top right hand corner of the field.

27   Grid ref : SD 2949 9547
Here you go through this gate and immediately turn right along the path signed to Coniston. You are now following another section of the Old Coniston Railway as you continue straight ahead along the service road to a point where it bends right into the caravan park.

28   Grid ref : SD 2964 9583
Here you follow this path straight ahead, still following the line of the old railway and the signposting for Coniston until you reach the main road.

29   Grid ref : SD 2978 9623
Here you pass through this gate and head diagonally left across the road...

30   Grid ref : SD 2978 9623
... then continue along this gravel track on the other side for a few metres...

31   Grid ref : SD 2975 9626
... before bearing left through this gate...

32   Grid ref : SD 2974 9626
... to do a U-turn round the end of this fence, which you then keep to your left back to and alongside the main road to a stile at the other end of the field.

33   Grid ref : SD 2968 9614
Cross this stile and bear right up the woodland path with its blankets of bluebells in spring to the top right hand corner.

34   Grid ref : SD 2946 9607
Here, walk through this gate and along the dry-stone wall on your left for a few metres to climb over a stile in the top left hand corner.

35   Grid ref : SD 2941 9606
Follow the wall right another few metres to this track junction, where you take the path straight ahead until you reach a fork junction.

36   Grid ref : SD 2890 9581
Here you take the right fork before going through a gate on your right and walking straight ahead across the valley until you reach a waymark post.

37   Grid ref : SD 2880 9590
At this waymarker you bear left in the direction indicated on the post, roughly parallel with the escarpment to your right. When the dry-stone wall appears to your right, look out for a stile.

38   Grid ref : SD 2859 9579
Climb over this stile, then bear diagonally left along the bottom of another escarpment to your right. At the end of the escarpment continue in the same direction towards a track junction.

39   Grid ref : SD 2828 9573
At this junction follow the track right to a footbridge. The peak in the distance ahead of you is Coniston Old Man.

40   Grid ref : SD 2815 9584
Cross this footbridge and bear left on the other side, then follow round the left side of the piles of slate to another junction.

41   Grid ref : SD 2804 9584
Continue ahead at this junction to follow the stream-side path up past the slate heaps and Bannishead Quarry with its waterfall, which is said to have been created in the 1950's by 2 local boys who removed the rock that was protecting the quarry from being flooded by the water from Black Beck. Ignore any minor paths off to your right...

42   Grid ref : SD 2763 9627
... until you reach this junction where you take the right hand fork to a gravel track. Beware, the path is rather indistinct in places, so you need to keep the mountain peaks ahead of you to your left.

43   Grid ref : SD 2772 9643
When you reach this gravel track, which is an old packhorse route known as Walna Scar Road that runs between Coniston and the Duddon Valley to serve the quarries either side of the pass; follow it right, keeping right at track junctions and ignoring side paths until you reach the car park. If you fancy a snack before heading home, a range of refreshments are available down in Coniston Village.

last route check 20/04/2019
Copyright © 2014-2019 Alan Windebank, ©1999, ©2017 Walkingworld Ltd All Rights Reserved
Last route check 20/04/2019