A short steep walk to a high mountain tarn. Perched above the A591 on the other side from Grasmere is a small crag quite high up called Grey Crag. Behind it lies Alcock Tarn. Getting there is not easy, but the views make the effort worthwhile. Take a bit of lunch up there to nibble, and just sit absorbing the atmosphere of the place.
The tarn is quite shallow, just 2m (2 yards) or so deep.
If you need accommodation we have details of 34 properties offering rooms near the start of this walk. Here are some examples:
Walk height profile
note that gradients are usually grossly exaggerated
Starting in Grasmere somewhere near the church, head out of the village on Stock Lane towards Ambleside - if you came out of the church you would turn left. Past the shops, and Stock Lane car park to the roundabout at the junction with the A591.
Cross over and take the minor road with the 6'6" width restriction. It directly passes Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth shop. Continue on as the road climbs gently. A small pond is found at the top of the rise, and just before the road turns sharply right behind a barn bear left to take the minor road signposted "Public Footpath to Alcock Tarn and Coffin Route to Rydal".
Continue for approx 100m (110 yards) where there is a viewpoint bench. Turn left here onto the gravel track signposted "Alcock Tarn".
The track traverses above the houses to your left. Continue, and reaching the gate into the National Trust area go through, and climb some more to the exit gate. Again go through, closing the gates after you. Shortly reaching a junction, left is signed as a permissive path, but turn right onto the path with the small Public Footpath marker. This passes a small unused reservoir and zigzags, hither and thither, climbing steeply over sometimes rough ground.
There are some more gates to go though, and as you gain height leaving the trees behind the views open out. Cross the small stone arch bridge - blink and you may miss it!
Resist the temptation to continue ahead along the tarn outfall, but bear left skirting the crag. Above the crag the gradient finally eases and the tarn comes into view.
Bear left at the tarn to follow its shore to the far end. Here there is a gate, go through, and bear left around the wet boggy pond ahead. Bear left again following the path, across the stepping stones over another small boggy bit.
The path now starts to drop increasingly steeply down zigzags towards the gill. Reaching a wall corner bear right to continue on the path. More steep zigzags follow, and a flat bit where you keep left.
Eventually you drop down to the river. You can either cross here and turn left to follow it down, or remain on this side and turn left to follow the wall under the tree crossing over the river by the footbridge.
Turn left through the gate into the tarmacked lane. Continue down, past the houses, the river is below on your left for a while. At the tee-junction turn left and follow the road down to the A591 just by the Swan Hotel. Cross over and head back into Grasmere along Swan Lane reaching the centre of the village in just over 600m (660 yards).
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|A circuit of Grasmere||same start point|
|Stone Arthur, Great Rigg, Heron Pike and Nab Scar||same start point|
|Helm Crag||64m (70 yards) away|
|Steel Fell, Calf Crag, Gibson Knott and Helm Crag||114m (125 yards) away|
|Grasmere and Rydal Water||141m (155 yards) away|
|Easedale Tarn||200m (220 yards) away|
|Silver How||223m (245 yards) away|
|Easedale Tarn, Codale Tarn, and Tarn Crag||316m (348 yards) away|
|Allan Bank Woodland Walk||473m (520 yards) away|
|Loughrigg Fell from White Moss||1.5km (0.9 miles) away|
|Red Bank from White Moss near Ambleside||1.6km (1.0 miles) away|
|Seat Sandal||1.8km (1.1 miles) away|
|An Elterwater Stroll||2.8km (1.7 miles) away|
|Waterfalls and the Cathedral Cavern, from Elterwater||2.8km (1.7 miles) away|
|Nab Scar and Alcock Tarn||3.0km (1.9 miles) away|
|Loughrigg Fell from Rydal||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|Grisedale Tarn||4.3km (2.7 miles) away|
|A Journey from Dungeon Ghyll over the Fells to Ambleside||4.4km (2.7 miles) away|
|Cumbria Way - Dungeon Ghyll to Keswick||4.4km (2.7 miles) away|
|High Raise, Sergeant Man, and Blea Rigg from Langdale||4.4km (2.7 miles) away|
|The Langdale Pikes: Pavey Ark, Thunacar Knott, Pike of Stickle, Harrison Stickle||4.4km (2.7 miles) away|
|The Fairfield Horseshoe||4.8km (2.9 miles) away|
|An Ambleside Waterfalls Wander - Stockghyll Force and Blue Hill Wood||4.8km (3.0 miles) away|
|Loughrigg Tarn||4.9km (3.0 miles) away|
|Loughrigg Fell from Ambleside||4.9km (3.0 miles) away|
|Wansfell, and Wansfell Pike||4.9km (3.0 miles) away|
|High Sweden Bridge Circular||4.9km (3.0 miles) away|
|Stockghyll Force - Ambleside||4.9km (3.0 miles) away|
|Red Screes and Middle Dodd from Ambleside||4.9km (3.0 miles) away|
|Wansfell Pike, Troutbeck, and Skelghyll Wood||4.9km (3.1 miles) away|
|Lily Tarn above Ambleside||4.9km (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