Walking With Wainwright – Easedale Tarn

20 February 2019

We are back with a return to our series of Wainwright walks, all of which you can easily access from our luxury holiday cottages in the Lake District. Alfred Wainwright was a man on a mission in the 20th century – he published no less than seven guides on 214 walks in the Lake District, many of which walkers today are keen to try for themselves. In this series, we are giving you our personal spin on some of our favourite ‘Wainwrights’, so that you can consider trying them, too.

We ascended to Easedale Tarn this month to bring you our thoughts on this Grasmere walk, and we’re glad to say that it’s certainly picturesque, if not a little dangerous in the winter months. Remember to always be prepared whenever you adventure out to remote places; we’re hoping this blog can make the experience a little safer for you.


This walk begins in Grasmere, a quaint British village with the life of Wordsworth at its heart. It is here that Wordsworth struggled with the deaths of two children, wrote many of his wonderful poems and later died himself. If you are a fan of Wordsworth and the romantic era of British Literature, you will have much to gain from stopping in Grasmere for a short wander before beginning your hike to Easedale Tarn.

From our properties in the Lake District, Grasmere is typically a little less than an hour’s drive to reach, but well worth the petrol to visit this notable little village with its world-famous gingerbread, never mind the breathtaking walk that also awaits you just a little further out.

Starting the Walk

From Grasmere, you will need to head towards the Easedale road, along which you will find a curious little bridge with only a handrail on one side. This bridge is quite quaint during most of the year’s weather, but in ice and snow it is certainly very precarious. There is the worry that wrong footing could send you plummeting into the small, slow-flowing river at any moment and serve a rather abrupt end to your nice day out.

This brings us to our first point – wear high top walking boots and cramp-ons to combat the ice if you are walking during freezing weather. High top walking boots will lend extra protection to your ankles, should you slip, lessening the risk of a sprained ankle; meanwhile cramp-ons will reduce the likelihood of you slipping on the ice in the first place. The walk to Easedale tarn will take you quite high up – approximately 1,720 ft – so if you’re walking in winter you need to be prepared for hills topped with snow and bridges covered in ice.

The Walk Itself

Once you have crossed the treacherous bridge into Easedale, your walk has truly begun. From this point onwards, you will find yourself treated to sublime views of Helm Crag, Tarn Crag and Blea Crag. The first third of the distance is a gentle amble across fairly flat fields positioned at a barely noticeable incline for the most part. The river is usually present during this part of the walk, and if you find yourself straying from it along the path, you can be sure that you will be soon be reunited with it again on your journey.

Once the incline starts to get quite steep, it continues at this rate for the next third of the distance. You will likely find yourself slowing down during this part of the walk due to its intensity, but this is also one of the most gratifying sections of the hike. The views on the way up are spectacular; not only is there an attractive little waterfall approaching the top of this steep incline, but there is another precarious stone bridge for crossing a rivulet on the hill side, as well as an interesting looking tree very close to the top of the hill, where the path starts to even out again.

Once you have passed this point, stick to the left of the path, and you will soon come to the perfect place for a picnic, atop a ridge overlooking Grasmere and the surrounding hills, as the image below illustrates.

The Last Hurdle

Once you have reached this point, you may wish to take in the splendid views during a lunch break, or you may wish to save your meal for when you reach the tarn which is not much further. In order to find the tarn, you will have to leave the ridge and follow a path which turns you back towards the ascending hills and away from views of Grasmere. There is some incline to be endured during this final section of the walk, but the knowledge that the finish line is in sight should spur you on.

Upon reaching the tarn, you may wish to take a dip if it’s a hot sunny day, in which case you will need to prepare some paddling or swimming gear beforehand. Alternatively, photographers may enjoy taking some scenic shots of this, especially in the winter.

If you have been inspired to take on this challenging but thoroughly satisfying walk up to Easedale tarn, you should consider using one of our luxury holiday cottages in the Lake District as your kicking-off point. All of our properties are warm, clean and in demand, so place a booking at the earliest opportunity to avoid disappointment.

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