Elterwater & Loughrigg Tarn Walk

Difficulty
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Moderate
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
3.5-5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
11.3 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
529 m
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Directions to Trailhead
Elterwater & Loughrigg Tarn Walk

Walking the Elterwater & Loughrigg Tarn Trail is an 11.3km journey through the Lake District that will lead you around the edge of scenic lakes and uphill for some nice views of the surrounding fells. While out on the trail, you will visit the village of Little Langdale and travel around the edge of Elterwater before walking a loop around Loughrigg Tarn. With easy-to-navigate scenery and a trail that begins and ends at the pub, this trail should definitely make it onto your walking to-do list.

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Route Description for Elterwater & Loughrigg Tarn Walk

The Elterwater & Loughrigg Tarn Walk is fairly simple; however, there are a few steep sections with uneven terrain, as well as a few boggy/wet areas along the trail. Make sure to wear proper walking footwear to stay comfortable on the adventure. Additionally, this walk passes through some areas that might have a number of other walkers on the trail. If you are travelling with a dog, it is best to keep them on a leash.

This route is a fun and easy way to get outside and enjoy some of the beautiful scenery that the Lake District has to offer. Along the trail, you will pass by a number of small fells and will be able to take in some beautiful views across Elterwater and Loughrigg Tarn. With fairly laid back terrain and easy access to several pubs and restaurants in the area, this walk is perfectly suited for a leisurely weekend stroll.

From the starting point of the walk at the Skelwith Bridge Hotel, head south along the road and cross over the River Brathay, turning right after 0.15mi onto a lane. Make an immediate left and pass through a series of gates, keeping left along the trail for the next 0.3 mi to pass through Bridge How Coppice and a kissing gate that can be found in the wood. Once you have arrived at the edge of another lane, keep right along the trail to pass by Park House on your right.

Make your way through the kissing gate and keep straight along the trail for the next 0.6 mi, utilizing a series of gates, kissing gates, and stiles to cross the grounds of the Elterwater Park Farm and arrive at the edge of the road. From here, turn right and follow the road for 0.1 mi until you reach a fork. Head left and continue along the road for another 0.1 mi, before following the lane on the right. After 0.1 mi, turn left onto the path and continue through the forest to the northwest.

When you arrive at the edge of a lane, turn left, followed by an immediate left to pick up another trail leading toward the west. After crossing two stiles and reaching a junction, follow the path to the right and take a left at the next fork, following the trail for 0.4 mi to come to a junction on the edge of Little Langdale. If you want to stop for some refreshments, you can find the Three Shires Inn close by.

From the junction, turn right to make your way north on a course for Elterwater. Over the next 0.5 mi, you will pass through two gates and two kissing gates before arriving at a junction with a track. Turn right here and keep right for 0.6 mi to pass between Sawrey’s Wood and Birch Hill Wood, eventually arriving at the edge of the road next to the Eltermere Inn. Turn left along the road and follow it for 0.2 mi to cross over Great Langdale Beck and enter the village of Elterwater.

After crossing Great Langdale Beck, take the first lane on the right and follow the path on the right that runs to the southeast parallel to the water. Keep right along this trail for the next 1.4 mi, enjoying the intermittent views across the calm expanse of Elterwater as you make your way between several forested areas.

Arriving at an intersection with a bridge on your right, keep straight to arrive at a viewpoint overlooking the rushing waters of Skelwith Force. After taking in the views, continue straight for another 45 ft and take the path on the left that will bring you to the edge of the road. Head to the right and make your way to the other side of the road to pick up the trail that is opposite to The Talbot. Pass through the lift gate and follow the trail north as it climbs uphill through a series of gates to arrive at the edge of a lane.

Keep straight for the next 0.2 mi, passing between the cottages and through the car park to pick up the trail. From here, keep straight for the next 0.3 mi, passing by the small hills of Neaum Crag and Crag Head to eventually arrive at the edge of a road near Loughrigg Tarn. Turn left and follow the road for 440 ft, picking up the trail on the right and crossing a stile to make your way around the tarn.

Keep left along the trail and enjoy the views across the calm waters of the tarn until you arrive at the edge of a lane. Continue straight onto this and follow it for 0.5 mi, skirting around the edge of the lake in a southerly direction. After passing by the Tarn Foot Farm Campsite, you will meet back up with the road. Turn right here, followed by a left at the fork in the road to complete the final 0.4 mi of the journey back to the Skelwith Hotel. Upon completing the Elterwater & Loughrigg Tarn Walk, feel free to pop into The Talbot to celebrate with some post-walk drinks before heading home.

Insider Hints for Elterwater & Loughrigg Tarn Walk

  • There are only a few steep sections along this route; however, they could impede travel for some less-mobile walkers.
  • This walk features a variety of terrain, including boggy areas and rocky stretches of trail. Be sure to wear proper walking footwear for this adventure.
  • The trail begins and ends next to The Talbot and Skelwith Bridge Hotel, offering the chance to stop for pre/post-walk refreshments.

Getting to the Elterwater & Loughrigg Tarn Walk Trailhead

To reach the car park for the Elterwater & Loughrigg Tarn Walk from Ambleside, head west on Wansfell Road/A591 for 0.1mi and turn left onto Rothay Road/A593, following it for 0.2mi. Make a right to stay on A593 and continue on for another 2.1mi, where you will find the car park on the right.

Route Information

  • When to do

    Year-Round

  • Backcountry Campsites

    Tarn Foot farm Campsite

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Circuit

Elterwater & Loughrigg Tarn Walk Elevation Graph

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Elterwater & Loughrigg Tarn Walk Reviews

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