We think this walk is better starting at Rydal, rather than Grasmere, simply because we like to get up high quickly and don't mind a stroll at the end. Some people prefer a more gentle start to the walk, in which case start in Grasmere and once at the coffin road follow from step 7 and then loop back to step 1.
A little above the long left hand 'zag on the way up Nab Scar watch out for a large square stone set into the ground just off the left hand side of the path. It's the aqueduct stone marking the course of the Thirlmere to Manchester water supply which lays below.
There are lots of parking options in Grasmere, or a small amount of on-street parking by the church in Rydal with an honesty box for the fee. Another option is to take the bus as there are frequent services on the A591, in summer at least.
If you need accommodation we have details of 77 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 Church in Rydal, walk uphill past the entrances to Rydal Hall on your right following the road which above Rydal Mount becomes a concrete driveway to a farm. Bear left towards the farm, signposted "Public footpath" until just before the farm gate is a path on your right leading away from the drive to a kissing gate partially hiding under a tree. Go through and continue on the path beyond.
After about 400m (440 yards) climb over the stile, with dog tunnel beside and climb the zigzags. The path here has obviously had a lot of work in the past. The aqueduct stone mentioned in Wainwright's book is just below a crag on the left hand side of the path as you climb up.
The gradient eventually eases as a dry stone wall appears on your left, the path crosses the wall a little further on at a reasonably dog friendly 'stone steps' stile. Nab Scar summit is the large cairn sat a little to the left of the path.
Continue towards the next peak on the ridge for approx 2-300m where as the path drops down a pile of stones just off the path to your left marks the start of the faint path to Alcock Tarn. If, since you've come this far you wish to visit Lord Crag, do so and return to this spot.
Taking the narrow path, it drops gently traversing the fell side without any difficulties. Alcock Tarn can be seen some way ahead and below you. The path drops to the nearest corner of the tarn to a gap in the wall.
A non-standard stile here may cause a little trouble. Jessie managed to squeeze through between the upper bars, large dogs than a collie might have more trouble, but then may be able to go over the top.
Bear left and cross the tarn outfall. Joing the wide path bear left, go through the gap in the wall. The path then drops down a couple of zigzags, go though the gate and continue descending on the obvious path. Look out for the small stone arch bridge.
There's a couple more gates on the descent, and eventually the path joins a gravel lane above the houses at How Top. About 100m (110 yards) before the tarmac road bear left onto a narrow path rising slightly across the knoll, and then bear left again onto the road. This avoids dropping down to the road turning left and then climbing back up again.
Past the tarn, called variously Skater's Tarn, Wordsworth's Tarn, or White Moss Tarn, the lane becomes a gravel track, which gradually deteriorates to a rough path in places. At Brockstones bear right.
As the path meets a wall, bear left and keep high to avoid having to climb back up to the gate.
Eventually, after 1.5km (0.9 miles), the path goes through a gate into a lane which drops into Rydal beside Rydal Mount. Turn right to head towards the church.
If you like this walk then why not try one of our other nearby walks:
|Loughrigg Fell from Rydal||200m (220 yards) away|
|Red Bank from White Moss near Ambleside||1.5km (0.9 miles) away|
|Loughrigg Fell from White Moss||1.7km (1.1 miles) away|
|The Fairfield Horseshoe||1.9km (1.2 miles) away|
|An Ambleside Waterfalls Wander - Stockghyll Force and Blue Hill Wood||2.0km (1.2 miles) away|
|Loughrigg Fell from Ambleside||2.0km (1.3 miles) away|
|Loughrigg Tarn||2.0km (1.3 miles) away|
|Stockghyll Force - Ambleside||2.0km (1.3 miles) away|
|High Sweden Bridge Circular||2.0km (1.3 miles) away|
|Wansfell, and Wansfell Pike||2.0km (1.3 miles) away|
|Red Screes and Middle Dodd from Ambleside||2.0km (1.3 miles) away|
|Wansfell Pike, Troutbeck, and Skelghyll Wood||2.1km (1.3 miles) away|
|Lily Tarn above Ambleside||2.1km (1.3 miles) away|
|Grasmere and Rydal Water||2.9km (1.8 miles) away|
|Helm Crag||3.0km (1.9 miles) away|
|Stone Arthur, Great Rigg, Heron Pike and Nab Scar||3.0km (1.9 miles) away|
|Alcock Tarn||3.0km (1.9 miles) away|
|A circuit of Grasmere||3.0km (1.9 miles) away|
|Steel Fell, Calf Crag, Gibson Knott and Helm Crag||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|Easedale Tarn, Codale Tarn, and Tarn Crag||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|Easedale Tarn||3.1km (1.9 miles) away|
|Silver How||3.2km (2.0 miles) away|
|Allan Bank Woodland Walk||3.5km (2.2 miles) away|
|An Elterwater Stroll||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|Waterfalls and the Cathedral Cavern, from Elterwater||4.0km (2.5 miles) away|
|Red Screes from Kirkstone Pass||4.1km (2.5 miles) away|
|Seat Sandal||4.2km (2.6 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