Perched on a shelf, high on the fells to the east of Grasmere, Alcock Tarn is the perfect target for a short day’s walk. Within a few minutes of leaving the Grasmere village boundary you can be exploring a different world - a world of fast flowing becks and steep mountain slopes. As a prize for your labours you can picnic by the secretive shores of Alcock Tarn, and indulge yourself in the selection of sneak views out over Rydal and Grasmere towards the surrounding giants of the central fells.
Directions: (starting at Grasmere National Trust shop)
Turn L out of Grasmere NT shop and walk to the green at the centre of Grasmere. Turn R and follow the main road through the village to the junction on the A591. Carefully cross the busy A591, turn R, then turn immediately L and follow the lane up to a fork. Take the L branch and follow it to the start of a path (access drive) on the R. Climb up the drive to the Alcock Tarn path through the gate and turn R.
Follow the path up the R side of Greenhead Gill beside the plantation wall. The path climbs steeply up the side of the gill to a fork just past a wall corner. Take the R fork which zigzags up to another wall corner. Ignore the path on the R and continue zigzagging up the fell side to a levelling by yet another wall corner. In a short distance (and through a gate) the path leads to Alcock Tarn.
Once finished at the tarn, head to the southern end to a fork. Take the R branch and follow it as it descends down the steepening fell side. The path enters the woods and sweeps through a series of constructed zigzags and passes some small man-made tarns. Below the zigzags ignore the permissive path and continue down the main path to join the minor road on White Moss Common.
Turn R and descend the road which leads past Dove Cottage and the Jerwood Centre to join the A591 at the mini-roundabout. Carefully cross the A591 and follow the B5287 back into Grasmere.
As a guide, you can expect this walk to cover a distance of 5.3km (3.3 miles) and gain a height of 350m within the 3-5 hours it should take to complete.
Lead Ranger - Central and East Lakes