One of my favourite walks in the Lake District is Easedale Tarn near Grasmere. Like many walks in the Lakes it has a bit of everything; country lanes, babbling streams, fields, waterfalls, old bridges, steep paths, picnic spots, cows, tarns and stunning views. I first discovered it about 8 years ago in one of my many walking guidebooks, and its has become a firm favourite. Before having my son, I charged up to the tarn at full pelt, but since he was born its been a more leisurely exploration and a walk that I’ve been able to do since he was a baby as its not too tough!
Situated in the upper valley of Easedale this spot was even more popular in Victorian times than it is today – there once was a refreshment hut by the tarn although all that remains are a few scattered stones now. Its about 280m above sea level and the tarn is supposed to be about 21m deep – although I’ve not tested that and I have no intention of doing so!
Parking can be difficult in Grasmere, especially in high season so its worth getting there early to get your spot. I always park in the little car park by the recreation ground called Broadgate Meadow Car Park. From here its about 2 minutes to the lane you need for Easedale. As you leave the car park turn left and head towards the village. You will see a brick wall on your right and after about 50 metres there is a little lane to your right, and a stone slab on the wall marks Easedale Tarn.
Follow this lane up the hill, past cottages, past the fields on your right where you can see the National Trust Allan Bank, continue along the road over the river and past YMCA until you get to the wooden bridge over the stream, which is called the Easdeale Beck footbridge.
Head over this bridge, through the wooded path and cobbles, and through the wooden gate. It then opens up into the field and the cobbled path leads you towards the mountains and the tarn. Keep the river on your right.
This view is one of my favourites on the walk – the cobbled path is usually filled with water and on a bright sunny day, this is a good photo opportunity as the reflections in the water of the mountains and the blue sky are just beautiful. You follow the path until you reach another wooden gate and a stone bridge.
Go through this gate and keep going straight on. Sometimes William and I stop on the bridge for a drink and snack and we imagine all the horses, carts and wagons that have travelled over that bridge through the centuries. You can almost hear the clatter of hooves. But sometimes there are cows and sheep in this field, so take care especially if you have a dog.
Follow the path with the stream on your right and continue up the hill, through another little wooden gate to your left and you will see the path becomes steeper up the hill and you will also hear the waterfall as well! This path can be very slippery in wet weather so take the usual care when walking in the lakes. there is a stone wall on your right after the kissing gate and keep the stream on your right as well. this takes you up Sourmilk Ghyll.
The waterfall is one of my favourite spots, try not to look behind you until you get here as when you turn around you will have one of those wonderful wow moments as you see the view that’s been following you all that time. It has become tradition for us to stop and have picnic part 1 by the waterfall and sit and look at this view. Beautiful no matter what the weather.
After a pit stop, continue up the ghyll, the path does eventually level out and there’s quite a lock of bracken on either side. The stream remains on your right and there are lovely views across to Helm Crag and Far Easedale. The stream also turns into a beautiful rocky mountain stream, with crystal clear waters tumbling over the rocks.
When you get to the top of the ghyll the tarn is revealed with Tarn Crag as the backdrop and this is another one of my wow moments. On a sunny day, its a wonderful little warm, sun trap and a great spot for a rest and a picnic, and a play along the shore line. But although it can seem like a sheltered spot the wind can whip across here!
You can return back to the village the same way. There are plenty of other walks if you want to spend a whole day exploring and Walk Lakes have loads of fab ideas and maps on their website.