Dock Tarn (approx 5 miles)


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Maps: Sheet OL4: The English Lakes: North Western Area.
View Rosthwaite in a larger map
Start: NY258148. National Trust car park at Rosthwaite just off the B5289.
Route: Click here to view the route superimposed on GoogleEarth (GoogleEarth must be installed on your computer in order to view - click here to download GoogleEarth).

After a gentle start, this walk has a very, very steep climb. The middle section is fairly easy, but it ends with a steep descent. The route takes in woodland and open fell, passing two tarns and the isolated hamlet of Watendlath.
More info: Wikipedia entries for Borrowdale and Watendlath.
Refreshments: The Flock In tea room in Rosthwaite;
The Scafell Hotel, Rosthwaite;
Caffle House Tearoom at Watendlath.
Route profile: route profile
Entrance to National Trust Car Park, Rosthwaite Leave the car park and turn right onto the narrow road.



Rosthwaite Bear left when you reach the Flock In tearoom. Follow the road as it winds between cottages until
Rosthwaite you arrive at the dormer bungalow pictured (Stone Croft). Turn right down the lane before the bungalow - there is a waymark arrow on a small wooden post.
leaving Rosthwaite As soon as you have passed the side of the bungalow, go through the gate on the left (out of shot in the picture) signposted for Peat Howe and Longthwaite Youth Hostel.
Peat Howe Go through a kissing gate and then follow the path across a field to what appears to be a gap in the stone wall (it's actually a gateway - when we passed through the gate was propped open and the gatepost was on the ground). Once through the gateway the path follows the wall on the left. Pass through 2 gates and turn left to follow a surfaced track.
crossing the  B5289 The track emerges onto the B5289. Cross the road and follow the minor road ahead in the direction of Stonethwaite.
near Stonethwaite Where the road bends round to the right, pass through the metal gate ahead (as pictured) to follow the path alongside the stone wall and pass a small sewage works.
near Stonethwaite Cross a wooden stile into the next field then head towards the gate which leads out onto the road.
near Stonethwaite Turn left to follow the road to the hamlet of Stonethwaite.
Stonethwaite Where you see a telephone box and post box in front, turn left down a stony lane. Walk over the bridge which crosses Stonethwaite Beck
near Stonethwaite ... and pass through the gateway ahead. Turn right to go through another gateway - the path is signed for Grasmere and Greenup Edge).
Cumbria Way near Stonethwaite The level path runs to the left of a stone wall. After about 100 yards look out for
the path leading up Stonethwaite Fell the marker post shown in the photograph (there is a small sheep enclosure nearby). Bear left to follow the narrow footpath.
the path leading up Stonethwaite Fell The path climbs gradually through bracken
the path leading up Stonethwaite Fell and leads to a stone stile in the wall ahead. Climb the stile to enter the wood.
the path leading up Stonethwaite Fell The path gradually becomes steeper and it leads to a wooden stile. Climb this and continue up the steep path.
the path leading up Stonethwaite Fell I'm assuming that it is the National Trust that is responsible for constructing and maintaining the path in such splendid condition. The route continues to zig-zag between the trees before emerging
view looking south towards Greenup Gill onto the open fell. This photograph was taken as an excuse for a pause to catch my breath - as well as to admire the stunning views looking back.
the path leading up Stonethwaite Fell Leaving the woodland doesn't mean that you've reached the top of the climb - but it does become more gentle!
the path leading up Stonethwaite Fell When you reach this stile, the climb is nearly over!
Dock Tarn The path leads to Dock Tarn and then follows the western shore.
between Dock Tarn and Watendlath After leaving the tarn, follow the path north (still climbing gently)
between Dock Tarn and Watendlath until you gain the first glimpse of Watendlath and its tarn. There's a short length of steep descent and then
between Dock Tarn and Watendlath a well-maintained path continues to descend more gently ...
between Dock Tarn and Watendlath to a gate on the right. Go through the kissing gate and continue to follow the track.
between Dock Tarn and Watendlath The route crosses and re-crosses a stream, before levelling out close to the tarn.
between Dock Tarn and Watendlath As you walk past the tarn there is a path signposted for Rosthwaite leading off to the left. This will be our route after visiting Caffle House Tearoom at Watendlath. We continued ahead through the gateway ...
packhorse bridge, Watendlath and over the packhorse bridge.
between Watendlath and Rosthwaite After a brief stop for refreshment we left Watendlath by the same path over the bridge, through the gateway pictured. We then took the right fork, leading uphill.
between Watendlath and Rosthwaite The path continues uphill for about half a mile
between Watendlath and Rosthwaite before descending, quite steeply in places. Keep to the main track, passing a path on the right (signposted for the Bowder Stone).
between Watendlath and Rosthwaite The track is clear and passes through a couple of gates.
between Watendlath and Rosthwaite The route is also a bridleway - we didn't meet anyone on horseback, but two cyclists did pass us on the way down.
between Watendlath and Rosthwaite Turn right to go through the gateway pictured (following the sign for Rosthwaite).
near Rosthwaite The elevated footpath crosses small streams and runs alongside the bridleway.
near Rosthwaite Where the bridleway crosses the hotel access road, turn right and cross the bridge.
Rosthwaite Turn left onto the road and then turn right to return to the car park.

Other walks near here:


All text and images ©Graham Dean, August 2013.

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