Tarn Hows is a popular beauty spot easily accessible between Coniston and Hawkshead on the B5285. The National Trust car park is busy around school holidays due to the popularity of the Tarn Hows Walk. At the car park, there is information regarding the Tarn and public toilets in the car park. In the summer months, there is usually an ice cream van.
You can walk up to the Tarn from Hawkshead or Coniston. It’s roughly 2 miles from either village through country lanes and wooded footpaths. You can also catch a bus to High Cross, and walk from there.
Tarn Hows historically consisted of three smaller tarns owned by the Marshal family of Monk Coniston. James Garth Marshal (1802 – 1873) embarked on large-scale landscaping projects. These works included damming the lower Tarn to create the singular body of water you see today. He also increased the spruce, larch and pine plantations surrounding the Tarn.
Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) purchased the Monk Coniston Estate, including Tarn Hows, in 1930. The National Trust assisted with the purchase in order to protect the land from being sold off as tourist developments. Potter was in awe of this beautiful area and managed the property with her husband, William Heelis (1871-1945). Potter later bequeathed the rest of the land to the National Trust in her will.
Tarn Hows Walk
Starting at the National Trust car park, follow the well-maintained gravel path that tracks around Tarn Hows. The circular walk is 1.6 miles and takes approximately 1 hour. This special place is perfect for children, prams, dogs and has excellent access for wheelchairs. Walk in the footsteps of Beatrix Potter and experience the Lakeland charm. Keep your eyes peeled for red squirrels and some rare Belted Galloway cattle grazing in the area.