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Ambleside to Coniston

· 1 review · Hiking route · United Kingdom
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  • Grasmere
    Photo: Iain Grant, Macs Adventure
m 300 200 100 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 km
A varied walk over open fells with splendid views, through mixed woodland and meadows, around scenic tarns and along quiet lanes.
Distance 19.2 km
5:30 h
544 m
543 m
334 m
38 m
Leaving Ambleside you ascend to Loughrigg Fell with splendid views of Windermere to the south, reaching the summit Trig Point at 335m, the highest point on the route. A steep descent affords equally good views of Grasmere, the route winding around Loughrigg Tarn to Skelwith Bridge. Here it joins with the Cumbria Way through woodland, meadows and around tarns  before entering Coniston through farmland.

Author’s recommendation

The highlight of the route are the panoramic views from the summit of Loughrigg Fell (weather permitting). Windermere can be seen stretching away to the south and Grasmere and the Langdale Pikes to the north west.
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Iain Grant
Update: February 06, 2020
Highest point
334 m
Lowest point
38 m
Best time of year

Track types

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Safety information

Care is needed on some of the steeper sections where the path is rocky. These could be slippery in wet conditions. Walking poles may be an advantage.

Just before 10km, you come out on to the 637 footpath/cycle way to Coniston. This is a busy road with fast moving traffic so please exercise caution.

Tips and hints

Ambleside has a wide range of shops and supermarkets where you can stock up with supplies for the walk. Refreshments may be available at Skelwith Bridge where there is a cafe and a hotel but opening times vary.

Coniston has cafes offering food but they tend to close between 5&6pm. There are a number of local pubs and hotels serving evening meals. Groceries are also available at the garage supermarket and village store. There is also a free ATM machine, Post Office and Bank as well as a Tourist Information Centre in the village.

Public bus services on this section are quite good but terminate early. Numerous taxi services are also available.


Points of Interest.

Loughrigg Fell.

Loughrigg Fell is a superb vantage point for the surrounding fells, marked with a prominent Trig Point standing at 335metres. Fine views of Windermere, Grasmere and the Langdale Pikes can be seen in good weather. 

Tarn Hows.

Tarn Hows is an area of Lakeland and forest with good paths and picnic spots,partly sold and partly bequeathed by Beatrix Potter to the National Trust. It is one of the Lake District's most popular tourist spots and is a site of special scientific importance.

 Ruskin Museum

Located in the village of Coniston this museum features exhibits on the life and works of social commentator and artist John Ruskin, the World Speed Record attempts by Donald Campbell in his Bluebirds and Arthur Ransome of Swallows & Amazons fame.



Ambleside Tourist Information Centre (60 m)
OS Grid
NY 37641 04536
54.432403, -2.962807
54°25'56.7"N 2°57'46.1"W
30U 502412 6031633
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Coniston Tourist Information Centre

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00km - With your back to the Tourist Information Centre, cross the road at the crossing and TURN RIGHT then almost immediately BEAR LEFT onto Compston Road.

0.13km - Just past the cinema BEAR RIGHT into Vicarage Road in the direction of the church, passing through Rothay Park and crossing the river over the old stone bridge.

0.65km - TURN RIGHT onto the road over the cattle grid then almost immediately TURN LEFT on the path, signposted bridleway, steeply uphill through the trees. Continue to follow the road as it changes to a gravel track going through two wooden gates to finally emerge on the open Fell.

1.90km - As the path becomes rocky continue STRAIGHT ON following signs to Loughrigg Fell crossing a small stream with stepping stones, then TURN RIGHT onto a smaller path by a little pond. Continue to climb uphill with good views of Windermere to the south, keeping to the main path marked by piles of stones (cairns). The area is criss crossed with smaller paths so care is needed here.

3.90km - Eventually reaching the summit Trig Point of Loughrigg Fell with splendid views in all directions. Descend steeply STRAIGHT ON, following the main path overlooking Grasmere. Take care as the path is rough and steep in places.

4.90km - At the bottom of the stone steps TURN LEFT onto the gravel path through the trees and metal stile keeping the main stone wall on your left.

5.10km - Emerging onto the tarmac road, TURN LEFT and immediately BEAR LEFT  taking the turning downhill just before the blue road sign passing the National Trust Arboretum on your right.

5.70km - Just before the stone barn TURN LEFT over the stile onto the footpath signposted Loughrigg Tarn. On reaching the Tarn,  BEAR LEFT on the track for 1.5kms, keeping the Tarn on your right.

7.40km - Go through the gate and BEAR RIGHT past the stone cottages and down to the post box in the wall.. TURN RIGHT onto the tarmac road crossing over a stream, then TURN LEFT down the road signposted Neaum Cragg towards Skelwith Bridge.

7.90km - At the road junction BEAR RIGHT onto the main Coniston road passing the hotel on your right. TURN RIGHT at the footpath sign just before the bridge and continue STRAIGHT ON through the stone yard keeping the river on your left.

8.30km - Cross the footbridge on your left over the river and continue  STRAIGHT ON through the woods following signs for Colwith Bridge.

8.60km - TURN RIGHT  onto a main track past some stone cottages and through the farm. BEAR RIGHT following the yellow footpath arrow signs descending wooden steps down to the river.

9.50km - At the road TURN LEFT uphill for a short distance then TURN RIGHT  onto the signed footpath/cycle way 637 to Coniston. PLEASE NOTE - This is a very busy road with fast moving traffic so please exercise caution.

11.20km - At High Park Farm TURN LEFT up the tarmac road and continue to the main A593. TURN RIGHT taking the footpath running parallel to the road emerging at High Oxen Fell. Cross the main road and carry STRAIGHT ON following the yellow arrow signs for the Cumbria Way..

12,20km - TURN RIGHT through the gate and into the National Trust Tarns. BEAR RIGHT on the good gravel path around the lakes signposted Coniston for about 3 kms

15.20km - At the end of the Tarns continue STRAIGHT ON up the gravel footpath to the car park and along the tarmac road, descending downhill.

15.90km - At the signpost for Low Yewdale TURN RIGHT and go through the gate towards Tarn Hows Cottage before descending downhill to a stream and fields. Still following the yellow footpath arrows and Cumbria Way signs go STRAIGHT ON towards Coniston.

17.40km - At the signpost for the Cumbria Way TURN RIGHT following the footpath across the fields.

18.90km - On reaching the tarmac road TURN LEFT and continue towards the village past the Sports & Social Club. At the junction TURN RIGHT and continue STRAIGHT ON towards the main village and shops. 

19.20km - Arrive at the main car park and Tourist Information Centre, the end of your walk.


all notes on protected areas


OS Grid
NY 37641 04536
54.432403, -2.962807
54°25'56.7"N 2°57'46.1"W
30U 502412 6031633
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


A good pair of comfortable boots are essential due to the rocky terrain in places. Loughrigg Fell is an exposed summit so an extra fleece may be required if windy. Waterproofs should also be carried as the weather can be changeable in the Lake District.

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Colin Bowden
June 01, 2019 · Community
Chester's take away section is great for lunch. Vegan food. Skelwith Bridge. They also have a cafe but the food in the take away section looked more enticing.
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19.2 km
5:30 h
544 m
543 m
Highest point
334 m
Lowest point
38 m
Linear route Scenic


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