The second day of my mini break in Coniston I’d decided on a lower level walk. I checked out of the hostel at about 9 and walked the short distance to Shepherd’s Bridge to set off down Yewdale. It was a gey start to the day, with low cloud up on the high fells, but the weather forecast looked promising for later in the day.
The walk down this very scenic valley is one of my favourite low level walks taking me through pleasant fields and woodland with good views over to the fells to the north.
I turned down towards Yew Tree Farm. Owned by the national Trust the farm featured in the film Miss Potter about Beatrix Potter starring Renée Zellweger. In the film it stood in for Hill Cottage where the author lived, but, although she owned the farm, she never actually lived there. The current tennants sell their Herdwick Hogget (young sheep between 1-2 years old) and Belted Galloway beef. They’ve been on TV a few times recently (including Countryfile on the BBC) – a good advert for their business I bet! We’ve bought their meat several times via the internet and I have to saya that we all think that their “Beltie Burgers” are the best burgers we’ve ever eaten.
Here’s some of their Herdies!
I took the path behind the farm and began the climb up Holme Fell
It’s not one of the bigger fells – just over 1000 feet – but it was a sharp, steep ascent.
but there are great views from the top. It was still grey and overcast but there were still 360 degree views
There was some peeking out over Wetherlam
Holme Fell is probably one of the best viewpoints for looking over Coniston Water
I stopped for a while, taking in the view and trating myself to a snack and then I started to make my way down the other side of the fell. This is the second time I’ve been up here but I still haven’t worked out the best way down. The path I took metered out and whichever way down I’ve taken inevitably results in some bog hopping.
This used to be slate quarrying country and there was plenty of evidence of the industry between the fell and Little Langdale.
My route followed a track that eventually headed east, over High Oxen fell (which isn’t very high!) back towards the Ambleside to Coniston road. The views over to the fells from this road was outstanding, especially as the cloud was clearing and the sun beginning to appear.
Reaching the main road I crossed over and took the track following the Cumbria Way towards Tarn Hows
I had considered walking over to Black Fell – another small fell that’s a great viewpoint – but decided against it for two reasons. My knee was starting to give me a bit of trouble and I was also keeping my eye on time as I had to catch the bus from Coniston back to Windermere at 4:30 to make sure I connected with my train back home. So I carried on following the Cumbria Way to Tarn Hows where I stopped for a bite to eat.
I deviated from the Cumbria Way following the western side of the tarn with the extensive views over to the Coniston Fells
At the end of the Tarn I followed the metaled track back towards Yewdale. The weather had really changed now with plenty of sunshine, and it was getting warm.
Making my way back down Yewdale I passed through a field on unusual Dutch spotted sheep
Carrying on down Yewdale Coniston Water came into view
Reaching Shepherd’s Bridge on the edge of Coniston, I had a couple of hours before my bus was due so I decided to walk over to the lake
On a sunny afternoon there were a lot of people enjoying themselves out on the lake
Time for a brew and a slice of cake in the lakeside cafe!
After enjoying people watching for a while by the lake, I headed back towards the village
had a mooch around and then joined the group of people waiting for the bus back to Windermere. It was running late but I had a chat with a couple of liverpudlians who were heading back to Bowness via Ambleside.
I arrived back in Windermere an hour before my train was due (I’d bought an advance ticket for the last direct train) so bought a few supplies from Booth’s supermarket and then sat and ate my purchases on the platform. The direct train ended up not being so direct. It was due to terminate at Manchester Airport but signalling problems (had somebody been nicking the copper cable again?) meant it would now terminate at Preston. Luckily it was only a short wait there before I was able to find a connection which got me back to Wigan only 15 minutes later than originally scheduled.
I’d had a good couple of days in Coniston and despite the slight delay on my way home using public transport was a welcome change from sitting in traffic. I’d have liked to stay another night given the fine weather, but I had a meeting the next day. September’s going to be busy, but I have a family holiday to look forward to at the end of the month