Route info: Day 2

Cumbria Way between Coniston and Great Langdale

Distance: 11.5 miles / 18.5 km (approx)
500 metres / 1,650 ft (approx)
Terrain: This section of the Cumbria Way between Coniston and Great Langdale is over field paths, farm tracks and short road sections up to Tarn Hows followed by walled tracks and some walking on quiet roads to High Park. The next section to Elterwater is on woodland paths and a level riverside bridleway. From Elterwater the route follows a woodland path before the stony valley paths of Great Langdale deposit you at the Old Dungeon Ghyll.
Food and drink: There are quite a few cafes and inns along this section of the Cumbria Way between Coniston and Great Langdale but nothing for the first 5 miles. For more details on shops/eating places please see the information at the foot of this page
Route grading: A relatively gentle day with easy walking and gradual ascents & descents although a couple of these are short but steep.
Route map:
To view an online map of the route visit the Route Stages Summary page.
My verdict:
With 2 tarns visited, delightful riverside walking complete with waterfalls, the majestic Langdale Pikes pulling you onwards and plenty of refreshment choices – a thoroughly delightful days walking.

About Coniston
Synonymous with Coniston Old Man, Coniston is located in the most wonderful of settings. The village grew from, not only, agriculture but the mining industry. Nowadays Coniston caters for the many outdoor enthusiasts who visit to enjoy the many fell walks and fantastic landscapes.

Coniston Water is famous for being the venue of Donald Campbells ill fated water speed record attempt in 1967. The local area boasts many of Arthur Ransomes locations featured in Swallows and Amazons. The poet, artist and social reformer John Ruskin made his home on the shores of Coniston Water.

Coniston has repeatedly been highly placed in the Village of the Year award and was the first winner of it in 1997.
Discover more about Coniston

Tarn Howes © Dave Brown

Day 2: Cumbria Way between Coniston and Great Langdale

The Cumbria Way bids farewell to Coniston via a footbridge over Yewdale Beck opposite the primary school on the outskirts of the village, passing a gothic folly on the top left corner of the field. The route now climbs through sketchy woodland and fields before dropping down towards Yewdale. From Yewdale you begin the climb up to Tarn Howes via Tarn Howes Wood. A short section of road follows leading you to Tarn Hows – this can get busy with cars so take care.

Tarn Howes nestles in a hollow just down from the car park – and occasional Ice Cream van in Summer. Considering that Tarn Hows is a man made tarn it is remarkably stunning. Follow the path on the western side of the tarn eventually joining up with a walled track. This track will lead you down to the main Coniston/Skelwith Bridge road. Cross over here and follow a path parallel to the main road before a left turn down a narrow road to High Park. From here a right turn takes you through a gate and although the official Cumbria Way route heads straight it is always recommended to take the short detour to Colwith Falls (best after heavy rain but hopefully not with you walking in it!) before re-joining the route proper a little further on.

Follow the route, which avoids Skelwith Bridge, passing through fields, over stiles, through gates and wooded areas before crossing over the River Brathay. The path then heads onto Elterwater, probably one of the least visited of the lakes. The obvious path now leads unerringly to the village of Elterwater and one of the prettiest villages in the Lake District with an excellent inn to cater for most of your refreshment needs.

Cross the bridge and head uphill overlooking the timeshare estate below you on the right. A path through woods leads you down to the riverbank and a short stroll to a bridge which takes you into Chapel Stile close to The Wainwright’s Inn. Follow the road for a couple of hundred yards before taking a walled track on your left. This eventually brings you to a bridge over the Great Langdale Beck, through a campsite, and then follows a flat walk alongside the heavily reinforced riverbank on a farm track leading to Oak Howe.

Immediately after Oak Howe a sharp right turn takes you on a path which climbs gently, along the flanks of Lingmoor Fell with magnificent views of the Langdale Pikes laid out in front of you – stunning! After a mile the path starts to descend to Side House and a short walk to Dungeon Ghyll sees the end of day two of your walk on the Cumbria Way between Coniston and Great Langdale.

Eating places & shops between Coniston & Langdale

Grocery Shops

Coniston – a selection of well stocked grocery shops
Chapel Stile – small cooperative store


Cafes/Bars/Tea Rooms

a selection of cafes, tea rooms and bars
High Park

High Park Tea Garden – Tea Garden right on the route at High Park Coppice
Skelwith Bridge
Chesters by the RiverCafe in Skelwith Bridge serving drinks and homemade food
Skelwith Hotel – Talbots Bar in Skelwith Bridge serves food and drink thoughout the day
Slates Kitchen – Food and drink served throughout the day in Elterwater
Britannia Inn – Perfectly situated in Elterwater for a refreshing drink or food
Chapel Stile
Brambles Cafe – Cafe in Chapel Stile
Wainwrights Inn – Located in Chapel Stile offering food and drink
Great Langdale
Sticklebarn Tavern – Food and drink very close to the end of day 2
Old Dungeon Ghyll – Hikers bar located right at the end of the stage