Moss Eccles Tarn and Claife Heights

The sprawling high ground north of Far Sawrey on the western side of Windermere is the playground for this meandering walk. First time visitors to Moss Eccles Tarn will find this small body of water an enchanting place. In early spring the honking of Canada and greylag geese echo around the tarn's shallow bowl, seemingly amplified by the terrain and in summer the western edge of the tarn is fringed by water lilies. After meandering along forestry tracks and dark plantations, the highest point of Claife Heights is reached. It used to have a fine outlook however the surrounding trees have grown up obscuring the view although sitting on a rock in the clearing is still very pleasant.

Visitors to this area will undoubtedly be familiar with the name of Beatrix Potter. Known to the locals as Mrs Heelis, as well as writing the famous children's stories of Peter Rabbit, she was a land-owner and notable breeder of Herdwick sheep. At Near Sawrey is Hilltop, her home for many years, which she left to the National Trust.

The walk is mainly a wander along forest tracks, roads and rough paths amongst woodland. Some areas have been harvested though which leaves quite a devastated landscape. It's worth mentioning that given this high ground is modest in height, paradoxically it needs a close eye kept on navigation. One stand of trees looks much like another, as do clearings, as do forestry roads or paths which over time get changed or re-routed. It's surprisingly easy to get lost.

Note: a large number of trees have been damaged in the area of Claife Heights summit, High Blind How, during a storm which has meant some paths have been closed for the clear-up. As of October 2022 this work is nearly finished, we'll have a look when next in the area.

Parking in Far Sawrey is severely limited. The village's Braithwaite Hall car park is usually open for walkers to use for a donation to the hall's restoration fund.