Walk, picnic, paddle and possibly even a swim? Then Easedale Tarn is the place to go. This high mountain tarn has been a popular attraction since Victorian times when ‘well-heeled’ ladies and gents would have been conveyed to the side of the tarn to take in the waterfalls in Sourmilk Gill, marvel at the wild setting of the tarn and then even wilder ring of peaks that surround it. Pack a picnic, a net for minnows, and towels and swimming gear if the weather’s warm enough and spend the day beside a sparkling mountain tarn.
Directions: (starting from the Grasmere National Trust shop)
Turn L out of Grasmere NT shop and walk to the green at the centre of Grasmere. Follow the road to the R and walk the short distance to Easedale Road (beside the Heaton Cooper Studio). Turn L on to Easedale Road and follow it for 850m to the start of a bridleway on the L at a bend beside Easedale Beck. The bridleway heads NW beside Easedale Beck then W beside Sourmilk Gill to make a stepped ascent to Easedale Tarn.
Just off to the L of the bridleway, as Easedale Tarn is reached, is a big boulder surrounded by collapsed walls. There are a number of spots suitable for swimming and picnics around the tarn, so have an explore and don’t just restrict yourself to the outlet beck.
2a. For a quick return to Grasmere the easiest way is to retrace your steps back down the bridleway.
2b. If you fancy a longer return there is a good path that starts across the stepping stones on the other side of the outlet beck. This path leads over into Far Easedale. Cross the beck (the first parts of the path can be a little vague and boggy after the rain) and then follow the path as it skirts the fell side below Cockley Crag to cross a broad shoulder overlooking Far Easedale. Descend to a junction at a wall.
- Turn L and descend beside the wall to a footbridge at Stythwaite Steps. Cross the bridge and turn R on the Far Easedale Bridleway. Follow this down the valley to a gate and a bend beside a cottage. Join the access road and follow it across the meadows to join Easedale Road, and then continue back to Grasmere.
This walk should take between 3 to 5 hours, covering a distance of 7.9km (4.9 miles) and height gain of 300m.
Lead Ranger - Central and East Lakes