Route info: Day 1

Cumbria Way between Ulverston and Coniston

Distance: 15.5 miles / 25 km (approx)
640 metres / 2,100 ft (approx)
Terrain: field paths, short road sections and country lanes up until Beacon Tarn followed by occasionally damp stretches of paths on the descent to Coniston Water. From Sunny Bank you have 3 miles of wooded, lake side paths and the final stretch into Coniston is on flat, well graded footpaths and roads.
Food and drink:
Stock up in Ulverston before you set off as apart from Lowick (0.75 miles off route) and Torver (1 mile off route) there is nothing until you reach Coniston – see more detailed information at the foot of this page
Route grading: For the most part this is a gentle day but with a couple of short, sharp uphill stretches. However, everytime I have walked this section it always seems to be longer than it really is.
Route map:
To view an online map of the route visit the Route Stages Summary page
My verdict:
The Cumbria Way between Ulverston and Coniston is a brilliant introduction to the route but be warned! Everytime I have walked this stage it always seems to last longer than you think.

About Ulverston
Ulverston is ideally placed between the shores of Morecambe Bay and the Lake District National Park. Originally granted a market charter by Edward I in 1280, Ulverston is still a vibrant market town which retains an aura of grandeur reflecting its importance in days gone by.

Cobbled streets, alleyways and hidden places all waiting to be discovered makes this friendly town a place you will want to linger. Having a reputation as a ‘Festival Town’ with plenty of street entertainment throughout the year you may well be tempted to pay a return visit after your walk!
Discover more about Ulverston

The artwork at the start of the Cumbria Way © David Harrison

Day 1: Cumbria Way between Ulverston and Coniston

First things first, if your going to do this properly then you need to find The Gill, the official start point of the walk. The Cumbria Way artwork confirms that you have found the right place so all you need is your map and a sense of direction!

Leaving Ulverston follow a clear path beside a stream then a left turn up a walled path before navigating your way through fields to pass Old Hall Farm and on through fields and over stiles eventually arriving on a road at Higher Lath Farm. Walk downhill for a short stretch on the road before a signed left turn through a gate takes you through fields to reach eventually Hollowmire – this is a new section and replaces the old left turn at the foot of the hill. Follow the access road for Hollowmire to a minor road and turn left before taking a right hand path leading to St John’s church from where a road leads towards the hamlet of Broughton Beck.

Your route now follows Broughton Beck for some of the way, crossing over a series of stiles before joining an unclassified road leading to Knapperthaw. Well worn tracks and paths now lead you onwards to enter the Lake District National Park near Gawthwaite. The ground now starts to rear up around you as you follow the route leading eventually past a series of farms and onto Tottlebank where you start your ascent proper to Beacon Tarn. The official route follows the western shore of the tarn but why not go on the opposite side and climb Beacon Fell to visit the summit?

The views across to the Coniston Fells are superb from here and once you have enjoyed them enough a steep descent from Beacon Tarn leads down to Stable Harvey Moss where the path is very thin on the ground – keep to the eastern side to meet a minor road at a hairpin bend. A short climb on the road before a left turn which leads to Torver Tarn from where you follow the beck down to Sunny Bank. Cross over the main road (opt out here for refreshments at Torver 1 mile away if needed) and head down to the shoreline at Coniston over a small rise

The lakeshore path alongside Coniston is pretty rugged in places so whilst admiring the views don’t forget to watch where you are putting your feet! The path is clear throughout this stretch as it passes through patchy woodland and as the trees start to clear you approach Coniston Hall Campsite and the chunky chimneys of Coniston Hall. All that is left for you to do today is follow the field path and short road walk into Coniston for some much deserved refreshments at one of the excellent inns or cafes to complete your first day on the Cumbria Way.

Eating places & shops between Ulverston & Coniston

Grocery Shops

You had better stock up in Ulverston with enough food and drink to see you through as there are no shops or cafes on the route until you reach Coniston

Ulverston – a selection of well stocked grocery shops and supermarket
Coniston Hall Campsite – small shop servicing the campsite

Cafes/Bars/Tea Rooms

You had better stock up in Ulverston with enough food and drink to see you through as there are no shops or cafes on the route until you reach Coniston

– a selection of cafes, tea rooms and bars
– a mile off the route in Torver are 2 public houses
There are no cafes or eating places on the route until you reach Coniston.