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Coniston to Boot

· 2 reviews · Hiking route · United Kingdom
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  • Pack horse bridge on Walna Scar Road
    Pack horse bridge on Walna Scar Road
    Photo: Iain Grant, Macs Adventure
m 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 -100 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 km
A challenging walk over open fell descending into a broad glacial valley, then up and over into the picturesque Eskdale Valley.
Distance 20.8 km
6:15 h
906 m
891 m
601 m
39 m
At first this route climbs steeply out of Coniston onto the exposed ancient drovers route of the Walna Scar Road with the Old Man of Coniston looming above on your right. At Brown Pike you descend into the Duddon Valley and the sleepy hamlet of Seathwaite before climbing up the flank of Harter Fell and the final descent into the picturesque valley of the River Esk  arriving in the village of Boot.

Author’s recommendation

Experience the open wilderness of the exposed fells on the ancient drovers road of Walna Scar and the rugged beauty of Eskdale while following the River Esk downstream before arriving in Boot.
Profile picture of Iain Grant
Iain Grant
Update: February 06, 2020
Highest point
601 m
Lowest point
39 m
Best time of year

Track types

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Safety information

The first part of the route can be exposed in bad weather with poor visibility so stick to the main path. Some of the descents are steep and rocky so take your time and take care. These could be slippery in wet conditions and we highly recommend the use of walking poles.

Tips and hints

There are no refreshment stops on the route so be sure to carry food and plenty of drink. Coniston has several shops where groceries are available. There is a pub in Seathwaite but opening times vary.

Boot is only small with a couple of pubs serving meals, a public phone box and a small gift shop. There is no mobile signal in the village.

Points of Interest.

Eskdale Mill.

There has been a Mill here since Medieval Times, the existing 16th century corn mill is one of the oldest water powered mills in England. There is a small donation charge for entry.

Ravenglass/Eskdale Steam Railway.

This is a narrow gauge steam railway running 7 miles between Ravenglass and Dalegarth Station near Boot. There is a shop and cafe at Dalegarth Station.


Coniston Tourist Information Centre. (53 m)
OS Grid
SD 30314 97596
54.369094, -3.074108
54°22'08.7"N 3°04'26.8"W
30U 495185 6024591
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Eskdale Mill in Boot.

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00km - With your back to the entrance gate of the Tourist Information Centre on Tilberthwaite Avenue, TURN LEFT past the church, crossing the bridge over the river. TURN RIGHT immediately onto a tarmac road and continue uphill past the hotel.

0.35km - At the road junction TURN RIGHT and continue STRAIGHT ON up the hill following the sign for Walna Scar, steeply at first, until the tarmac surface breaks up into a rougher track.

1.70km - Go through the metal gate and carry STRAIGHT ON following the sign for Seathwaite on the Walna Scar Road, with open fell on both sides and the Old Man of Coniston above on the right. Do not take any of the paths off to the right but stay on the rough track for about 3.5kms, crossing over streams and the pack horse bridge, ascending steadily up the side of Brown Pike.

5.20km - Arriving at the track summit carry STRAIGHT ON ignoring paths on either side and descending steadily through the wooden gate with the stream at the side to join the small tarmac road by a stone bridge.

7.50km - Go STRAIGHT ON along the road,down through the gate and past the cottage. TURN LEFT onto the signposted path through a small wooden gate, continuing across fields and past some houses to join a gravel track. BEAR RIGHT past the farm.

8.50km - Where the track joins a smaller tarmac road, carry STRAIGHT ON and TURN LEFT at the campsite sign, downhill to the village of Seathwaite, past the church and the pub.

9.30km - Just before the post & phone boxes, TURN RIGHT between the stone buildings, marked public footpath and go through the gate. Aim for the sign for the bridge and stepping stones, crossing both and following the path, muddy in places, STRAIGHT ON, crossing the river by a narrow stone bridge into National Trust Woodland.

10.60km - Arriving at the farm, go through the gate and TURN RIGHT opposite the stone barn. Go through another gate and up the stoney footpath in the direction of the rocky crags above, zigzagging steeply. Over the brow of the hill, carry STRAIGHT ON descending through Grassguards Forestry Commission Woodland.

12.00km - Exit the woodland through the double gates and go STRAIGHT ON along the grassy track, past some ruined stone buildings. On reaching the farm go through the yard and TURN LEFT before the ford. Go through the gate and carry STRAIGHT ON with the river on your right. Do not cross over the footbridge.

12.90km - Go through a wooden gate continuing STRAIGHT ON over a footbridge and along a narrow path, muddy in places, criss-crossing  a number of streams and following the path, signposted bridleway to Eskdale.

14.10km - At the path junction signposted Hardknott Forest, BEAR LEFT and continue STRAIGHT ON along a rocky but slightly drier path up through the trees.

14.60km - Leave the woods through a wooden gate and go STRAIGHT ON across the open fell, keeping to the right if possible to avoid muddier sections.

15.40km - Just before a rocky outcrop on the right, TURN LEFT over a wooden stile and cross the stream with the wire fence on your right. Carry STRAIGHT ON through the vegetation, descending steeply with good views of Eskdale ahead. Please exercise caution on this section as it can be very slippery. 

16.40km - Go through the wooden gate and descend the path, muddy in places, zigzagging down the hill to a small wood. 

16.80km - At the signpost, TURN LEFT and ford the river, through the gate and into the fields beyond. Before reaching the farm TURN LEFT onto the permissive path avoiding the farm yard.

18.00km - On reaching the track on the other side of the farm, TURN LEFT through the gate signposted Doctor Bridge. On crossing the bridge immediately TURN LEFT through the gate and onto the footpath signposted to the church.

19.80km - At the path junction with the double gates, BEAR RIGHT following the sign for Eskdale Mill. Arriving onto the small tarmac road TURN RIGHT between the stone cottages, still following the signs for the mill.

20.50km - At the main road opposite the pub, go STRAIGHT ON down the No Through Road, signposted Eskdale Mill, past the pub and shop crossing the stone bridge.

20.80km - You have arrived at Eskdale Mill, the end of your route. (NB; if your accommodation is at the Woolpack Inn, it is outside the village, a mile further up the road in the direction of the Hardknott Pass.)





all notes on protected areas


OS Grid
SD 30314 97596
54.369094, -3.074108
54°22'08.7"N 3°04'26.8"W
30U 495185 6024591
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


Even in the summer months conditions on the Fells are changeable, so take extra layers of warm clothing and waterproofs. A good pair of boots are essential on the rocky terrain and gaiters may be advisable for the muddy sections if preferred.Walking poles would be useful on the descents.

Questions and answers

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Colin Bowden
June 01, 2019 · Community
If you are staying at the Woolpack Inn and feeling weary, soaked to the skin or running late there is a shortcut to the Inn from the bridge over the river. I wish I had checked its location before hand. The walk down the road in the pouring rain was no fun especially when you discover that it could have been avoided!!
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Richard Malik 
September 20, 2018 · Community
At 15.4 km, directions state: “carry straight on through the vegetation, descending steeply.” They are NOT kidding! It was steep and difficult to negotiate with wet, slippery terrain. This section felt dangerous and one of our party was injured here. Another was holding on to the fence at times to not fall. Be careful and use poles. Overall, although steep at times and parts of the route not well-travelled, other parts of the trail were fine. Using the GPS map on our iPhone was amazingly helpful and well worth the investment.
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When did you do this route? September 19, 2018

Photos from others

20.8 km
6:15 h
906 m
891 m
Highest point
601 m
Lowest point
39 m
Scenic Linear route Cultural/historical interest


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