Codale Tarn set remote and high in the mountains, with enough effort required to keep most people from visiting it, deserves greater attention. A more beautiful mountain tarn really cannot be imagined. To get there is a good challenge and getting back safely quite another. But visit you must, if you can handle a 'little bit scrambly', and keep an eye on the map and compass a fair weather excursion is comfortably achievable by most walkers.
This walk should be done the way round as described as to descend beside the waterfalls of Codale Tarn's outfall would not be pleasant. It is doable, but it would be very easy to slip on the wet slimy rock above some quite steep ground.
If you need accommodation we have details of 29 properties offering rooms near the start of this walk. Here are some examples:
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
From the centre of Grasmere take the lane towards Allan Bank, just after the cattle grid bear right onto the new permissive path, go through the kissing gate to come out on Easedale Road. This bypasses the narrow and twisty section of Easedale Road.
Continue over Goody Bridge and the gentle rise past houses to where the road sweeps right. Cross the footbridge on your left signposted Easedale Tarn. A slate bridge crosses another small stream, and join the rough cobble like track beyond.
The river on your right often overflows in heavy rain and any less engineering would simply be washed away - the water flow from that huge catchment area is very impressive!
Go through the gate and continue on the track. The river remains on your right. Through the next gate and into the field. Beware if there are cows here, especially with calves.
Bear right, and then left away from the track onto the path signposted "Public Bridleway". The field gradually narrows with the river back alongside. Go through the kissing gate and onto the fell.
The track starts climbing with a wall on the right hand side. After a while it bears left to climb alongside Sourmilk Gill. At the top of the gill the aspect opens and the tarn is revealed!
Continue round the tarn on the left hand shore line. The path is narrow, rough at times and rather boggy. Stepping stones cross some areas but not all. Past the far end of the tarn the path bears right and climbs alongside the gill. Approx half-way up the path has a few scrambly sections where hands-on-rock would be a good idea as much of it seems to be permanently wet and slimy.
A few scattered cairns seem much more useful in descent. Above the waterfall, the path reaches a junction, left for the Langdale ridge, or for you: turn right. Cross the small stream and follow the narrow clear path around the back of Belles Knot.
Rounding a bump the tarn is comes into view.
Continue round the right hand side of the tarn, the path is fairly clear here. Now you need to strike up hill, a path of sorts easier to see at a distance of course zigzags onto the castellated plateau like area of Tarn Crag. The best views of both Codale and Easedale tarns is from the small beehive cairned rocky outcrop to the right.
From the beehive cairn, walk away from the edge about 100m (110 yards), over a small ridge, to a grassy ramp heading down to the right. Drop down here but keep to the left, a zigzag on the faint path aids the descent. Don't stray right and find yourself descending a gill. Aim directly for the crest of the ridge below you. Having dropped down from the summit area follow the path as it descends along the ridge.
At the col with the unnamed knoll above Greathead Crag, a clear though narrow path turns off right. As Easedale tarn comes into view the path descends bearing right slightly and enters bracken. Continue downwards to a faint junction. Left takes a long zig' taking a descending traverse of the fellside. In summer this can be hard to follow as bracken covers much of the path from view.
Alternatively you can simply drop down the obvious steep and slightly eroded fellside to the middle of the shoreline.
At the tarn turn left to the outflow.
Do not cross the outflow but turn left onto the path on this side of the outflow. Follow the easy path as it drops down and then bears left skirting many boggy areas via stepping stones. Eventually the path crosses the crest of the ridge and bears left slightly. Meeting the wall turn left, as directed by the inscription on the large rock!
Cross the footbridge, this is Stythwaite steps as there used to stepping stones here, and turn right.
Continue with the river on your right, and then between stone walls.
Climb slightly to the junction with the Helm Crag path, go straight ahead. Go through the gate at the top of the lane and at the bottom, by the houses, bear left. This is Easedale Road.
Back at Goody Bridge you can take the permissive path back into the village or remain on Easedale road.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|Easedale Tarn||141m (155 yards) away|
|Steel Fell, Calf Crag, Gibson Knott and Helm Crag||202m (222 yards) away|
|Silver How||223m (245 yards) away|
|Helm Crag||257m (283 yards) away|
|A circuit of Grasmere||316m (348 yards) away|
|Alcock Tarn||316m (348 yards) away|
|Stone Arthur, Great Rigg, Heron Pike and Nab Scar||316m (348 yards) away|
|Grasmere and Rydal Water||400m (440 yards) away|
|Allan Bank Woodland Walk||441m (485 yards) away|
|Seat Sandal||1.5km (0.9 miles) away|
|Loughrigg Fell from White Moss||1.6km (1.0 miles) away|
|Red Bank from White Moss near Ambleside||1.7km (1.1 miles) away|
|Nab Scar and Alcock Tarn||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|An Elterwater Stroll||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|Waterfalls and the Cathedral Cavern, from Elterwater||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|Loughrigg Fell from Rydal||3.2km (2.0 miles) away|
|Grisedale Tarn||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|A Journey from Dungeon Ghyll over the Fells to Ambleside||4.6km (2.8 miles) away|
|Cumbria Way - Dungeon Ghyll to Keswick||4.6km (2.8 miles) away|
|High Raise, Sergeant Man, and Blea Rigg from Langdale||4.6km (2.8 miles) away|
|The Langdale Pikes: Pavey Ark, Thunacar Knott, Pike of Stickle, Harrison Stickle||4.6km (2.8 miles) away|
|The Fairfield Horseshoe||4.8km (3.0 miles) away|
|An Ambleside Waterfalls Wander - Stockghyll Force and Blue Hill Wood||4.9km (3.1 miles) away|
|Loughrigg Tarn||5.0km (3.1 miles) away|
|Loughrigg Fell from Ambleside||5.0km (3.1 miles) away|
Unless otherwise stated the text in this walk is the copyright of Hug Solutions Ltd trading as The Hug and the photographs are the copyright of Elizabeth Oldham. Hill data is derived from Database of British and Irish hills which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Maps contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011 and paths © OpenStreetMap Contributors,CC-BY-SA, 2011