Walking with Wainwright: Blelham Tarn

28 April 2020

During the lockdown, it is important that everyone does their bit to protect the NHS by avoiding non-essential trips. We hope you enjoy planning new activities and holidays for after the lockdown ends with us.

The route to Blelham tarn is perfect for a family looking for a fantastic day out. This route starts at the illustrious Wray Castle, which is a fabulous day out by itself, and twists around the local landscape until you arrive at your destination.

This our latest addition to our blog series about the Wainwright walks, which are a number of well-travelled and much-loved walks which were completed and documented by a man called Alfred Wainwright. He fell in love with the Lakes at an early age in Windermere as he ascended Orrest Head and dedicated the rest of his life to exploring Cumbria and sharing his findings with others.

The route to Blelham Tarn is quite close to Orrest Head and could even be completed in the same day if you wanted more of a challenge.

Blelham Tarn

Blelham Tarn is situated close to Low and High Wray and is also close to the settlement of Outgate. The tarn is linked to the majestic Lake Windermere, into which it drains via a tributary called Blelham Beck.


Parking near Wray Castle

If you are thinking about visiting Wray Castle before or after your walk, you might choose to pay for parking at the castle. Alternatively, you might be able to find a spot on the roadside parking near the castle, but please bear in mind that these spaces are limited. If you are hoping to park on the roadside, make sure you bring some cash with you just in case there are no spaces left and you need to change your plan and park at the castle instead.

Remember to bring some walking shoes! Part of the path on this route is typically quite marshy, so it is sensible to bring some shoes to change into if you want to keep your car clean.

Reaching the Tarn

You will begin your walk outside Wray Castle. This walk is circular, so you’ll return to this place at the end, too. You need to leave the castle and head towards Low Wray Campsite. Once you’ve passed the campsite, head towards the Blelham Beck bridge and the kissing gate.

map around blelham tarn

Next, you will need to follow the hedge by the road until you come to a metal field gate which leads towards Outgate. When the path forks take the left, marked by a blue arrow.

Soon, you should come to be able to see a tarn. You can take a small detour when the path splits to the left if you want to get closer to the tarn, but your walking route should keep the tarn 100 yards to your left as you continue onwards. You know you’re on the right path if your travels bring you to a gate that leads into some woods.

The track breaks into some marshy ground here, you’ll also need to take the stepping-stones across the stream. Keep the wall on your right and continue towards a nearby stile. You should be approaching the far end of the tarn now.

From this point onwards, you’ll be completing the second half of the walk around the tarn, back to Wray castle.

Keep your eye out for a fingerpost that shows the way to High Tock How at a fork in the path. You need to follow this path. You know you are on the right path when you pass through a gate with a small stream. The tarn should still be to your left.

Eventually, you’ll come to Tock How farm, it should be on your left. You should be about to turn right at a T-junction and continue the finger post signage towards Wray Castle. Head through the gate and ignore the stony track. Continue until you reach a stone step-stile, cross it, and keep going.

In this section of the walk, you’ll cover pasture and woodland. Go through the wicket gate and cross a stone-clapper bridge. Go up the hill and follow the path onto the road. You should be walking past Wray vicarage at this point.

Turn right onto the public bridleway, look out for the gate to the lakeshore and go through it. You should now be on Wray Castle parkland. Continue past Watbarrow Point, through the wood, and eventually you’ll reach Wray Castle – the end of your walk.

Where to Dine

If you’re thinking about travelling to Bowness to find a bite to eat to celebrate your achievement, we recommend setting your satnav or GPS to direct you to Rayrigg lane for comparatively cheap parking. You can park here for 2 hours for £3, 3 hours for £4, or 6 hours for £6.

We have previously discussed places to eat in Windermere on our Orrest Head blog which is linked at the top of this post, but you might also choose to dine in at Wray Castle if you fancy one of their afternoon teas. The Wray Castle café offers the perfect pit stop, and we recommend trying it out before you head back to your luxury holiday cottage in the Lake District for a perfect cottages for two in the Lake District.


We look forward to hearing from you after the lockdown!

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