Tarn Hows

(See also Hawkshead , Coniston)

Tarn Hows by Tony RichardsA tarn is a mountain lake, and how is the Cumbrian name for hill. Thus the name Tarn Hows means ‘lake in the hills’, but the name doesn't give a hint that this popular spot is a little Lakeland gem. The fact that a million people visit it annually is the biggest clue to its beauty. Located in the hills between Hawkshead and Coniston, the tarn is framed by views of the Langdale Pikes and the Helvellyn range.

Tarn Hows by Tony RichardsTarn Hows is man-made. It was originally two separate bog lakes called the Monk Coniston Tarns. In 1865, they were made into one by landowner, James Marshall, who then planted larch and conifers on the lake's shore and on the two islands in the lake. In winter, if it's very cold, the tarn can freeze over. The grassy slopes of the southern shore are a favourite picnic area.

Tarn Hows by Tony RichardsA popular walking path circles the lake. From Coniston a walk leads across fields, through woods and past a waterfall to the lake. Another walk leads to the tarn from Hawkshead. The Cumbrian Way footpath passes nearby. From Tarn Hows itself, a track leads to the top of Black Crag where panoramic views of Windermere, Esthwaite, and Coniston are on offer.

Tarn Hows by Don BurlurauxBeatrix Potter purchased Tarn Hows as part of an estate sale and gave it to the National Trust, thus preserving this delightful part of the countryside for future generations.

Tarn Hows is 2 miles northeast of Coniston, just off the B5285 Hawkshead to Coniston road. Car park and picnic tables, no other facilities. Car Park: Fee but free to National Trust members.

Tarn Hows by Don BurlurauxThe National Trust operates a free minibus service on Sundays from April to October, between Hawkshead, Tarn Hows and Coniston.

Photos courtesy of Tony Richards and Don Burluraux

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