Coniston is a busy little village sandwiched between the eastern crags of The Old Man of Coniston, one of the best known hills of the Lake District, and the shore of Coniston Water. There are a good number of shops in the centre where daily supplies, or forgotten kit, can be obtained.
Coniston is closely associated with two people. John Ruskin lived at Brantwood on the eastern bank of Coniston Water which is now owned by the National Trust and Donald Campbell who died on Coniston Water whilst trying to set a new water speed record on 4th January 1967. The Ruskin Museum in Coniston has a dedicated wing built specially to house the remains of Bluebird K7, called of course the Bluebird Wing, which was opened in 2008. So while you're in the area there's at least two places to visit alongside our walks.
We have lots of walks near Coniston so here's a few which actually start in the village.
Our first walk is a fairly gentle option at 6.2 miles with 205m of ascent. Tarn Hows from Coniston is a pleasant wander from Coniston to the very well known Lake District visitor attraction.
Tarn Hows used to be three smaller ones called High, Middle and Low Tarn. In 1862 James Marshall gained the land and set about building a dam to raise the level, and with other landscaping largely created the Tarn Hows we see today. Later he sold it to Beatrix Heelis, better known as Beatrix Potter, who eventually passed it to the National Trust for safe keeping.
Our second walk explores Coppermines Valley and the Old Man.
The Old Man of Coniston and its surrounding fells are well known for their ancient and modern mining and quarrying scars that dot the landscape. Coppermines valley is this, concentrated into one small area. The valley floor is covered by tell tale spoil heaps, and foundations of long gone buildings. If you look carefully even remains of old leats can still be found which were used to transport water from becks and reservoirs high in the fells to where it was needed in the valley to generate power, or used in processing. Now only occasionally does the crump of blasting explosives confirm that at least one quarry in the valley lives on and is still worked.
It may not seem to be an obvious valley to walk, but a middle-level walk around the valley sides is a fascinating and perhaps eye opening wander into the past. Our walk The Old Man of Coniston, from Coniston village takes you up one side of Coppermines Valley on the way to and from the summit of The Old Man so you get the chance to see some of what it has to offer.
If you want an slightly easier option then you might also consider our walk Coppermines Valley above Coniston which just takes you around Coppermines Valley but avoids the climb to the Old Man.
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