This is a great place for a family family picnic with added bonus of being the perfect opportunity to paddle and catch minnows. The walk to the Tarn is approximately 3.5 kilometres from the centre of Grasmere village, and usually takes my family about an hour. We cross the stepping stones where Sour Milk Ghyll leaves the tarn then follow the edge of the tarn round to a little bay with a large rock positioned just on the edge of the water. We make this our base for the day as it a wonderful picnic spot. It’s also a great place to catch minnows with a net or you can catch small perch with a rod and worm.
The tarn is a great place to paddle or swim (although some parts are a little reedy); my children don their wetsuits and swim across the bay! I love to sit on the rocks nearer the river and just dabble my feet.
How to get here:
From the National Trust Grasmere Shop, pass the Grasmere Gingerbread shop and the Red Lion Hotel on your left. Follow the little road by the side of the Miller How Cafe. At the Allan Bank gates, cross the cattle grid, then follow the path diagonally across the field. Follow this path to the end and then continue up Easedale Road until you see a footbridge across the river. Cross the bridge, then follow the path through two gates alongside the river, until you come to a field. Follow the path acoss field, heading for the Sour Milk Ghyll waterfall, which you will eventually walk alongside. Use the path to follow the river up to the Tarn. Return route retrace your steps.
Alternative return route:
Keep to same side of the river and follow the path down using the stepping stones across the wet areas. Continue along the path until you come to the bridge at Far Easedale, known as Stythwaite Steps. Follow the river, between a rocky enclosed section, once past this section the path widens out and will lead you back to the base of Helm Crag, carry on until you reach a five bar gate. Once through the gate, you have two options ; Turn left and through the small green gate and follow the path through Lancrigg Woods, until you come back onto the drive which will lead you back to the footbridge crossed at the start; Or, you can continue down the path to the road, through the next 5 bar gate down the lonnin (narrow, walled track) and into the fields, across the packhorse bridge and back on the to the path from the village.
Planning your visit:
In Grasmere, there are cafes, pubs and shops if you would like to eat before your walk or need to stock up on provisions for the day. Toilets are located at Stock Lane car park (only open in season) or College Street (open all year). Remember to take towels, swimming things or spare clothes for children, as they are guaranteed to get wet. If you are fishing with a rod, you will need Rod licence, these are available from all Post Offices – there is one in the Grasmere (open Mon to Fri 9 to 5.30 & Thurs & Sat 9 until lunchtime). For minnow fishing you will need a net and something to put the minnows in – we use a bit of bread to attract the minnows! Car Parking: can be found in Grasmere – all pay and display (non NT) Nearest petrol station: Ambleside.