Walkers enjoying views from Tarn Hows copyright Charlie Hedley

Miles Without Stiles 13: Tarn Hows

Miles Without Stiles

This is a beautiful circular walk around this picturesque location. OS Explorer Map OL7.

Route for some. A circular walk. 3km distance.


Tarn Hows is a man-made, stunning beauty spot. In Victorian times, a beck was dammed, creating the tarns you see today. The Hows are the surrounding small, wooded hills.

From the main car park, turn right and take the obvious track down towards the tarn. The circuit can be done either clockwise or anti-clockwise. The path surface is made up of smooth, compact stone. However, there are some short rougher sections and sections with gradients steeper than 1:10 (up to 1:5 in places).

The scenery is stunning and there are plenty of benches and rest places to take it all in. Look over to the Coniston hills and Langdale Pikes, which form the backdrop to this spectacular corner of the Lake District.

The former short linear walk above the tarns is no longer a Miles without Stiles route as it does not meet our minimum standards.

Please note that the map below needs updating.


Start point:

The main car park.

Postcode: LA22 0PW
Grid reference: SD 327996
W3W: ///echo.refreshed.limits


Toilets at the main car park (no longer at disabled car park as shown on map) and during summer an ice cream van is usually in the main car park. An all-terrain mobility scooter is available to use free of charge - to book call the National Trust on 07919 111620.

Getting there:

Bus: The nearest bus stop to the start point is Hawkshead Hill, 1.4km from the start of this walk. It is served by Stagecoach service 505 between Ambleside, Hawkshead and Coniston.
Car: B5286 from Ambleside to Hawkshead, turn right up Hawkshead Hill and follow signs for Tarn Hows.