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Merlewood

Cumbria, England

Near Sawrey and Moss Eccles Tarn walking and hiking route

5km/3mi
Total distance
100m
Total ascent

Small car park at the Braithwaite Hall, almost opposite the Sawrey Hotel, grid reference 379954. Fee of £2.00 is required. Parking probably not available when there is a function at the Institute.

The village of Near Sawrey is the heartland of Mrs Heelis, perhaps better known as Beatrix Potter, author of twenty three immortal little books. Following marriage in 1913 Mrs Heelis farmed extensively in the area; at her death in 1943 she owned no fewer than fifteen farms, all bequeathed to the National Trust with clear instructions concerning farming methods.

She was an avid conservationist and it is true to say that the present day landscape of southern Lakeland owes a great deal to her vision and determination.

Most of the animal characters in her books have their still recognisable homes in Near Sawrey and her earliest house in the village, Hill Top, has long been one of the best loved visitor attractions owned by the National Trust. 'Meadowcroft' was the shop in 'Ginger and Pickles', illustrations in 'The Tale of Tom Kitten' and in 'the Pie and the Patty-Pan' are based on Hill Top, Stoney Lane and Buckle Yeat. The Tower Bank Arms, owned by the National Trust features in 'The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck', Beatrix owned a boat which was kept at Moss Eccles Tarn and used by her husband William for fishing.

This walk encompasses most of these features and is an attractive and very easy circuit.

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Walk Instructions

From the car park turn right, uphill along the roadside for a little more than 100m.

Walk down the road, past the Cuckoo Brow Hotel, forking right in 100m to follow 'public bridleway towards The Glen (a house on the bridleway). The surfaced roadway rises, passing the Old Vicarage, with views to the left over Near Sawrey village to the Coniston group of fells. Fork left to leave the drive at a 'FP' sign. The excellent track crosses Wilfin Beck on a footbridge, rising again to join a similar track from Near Sawrey.

1) Go straight on past a 'Bridleway, Claiffe Heights' sign, rising again. After a gate there is an area of great rocky slabs before the delightful Moss Eccles Tarn is reached, with tempting picnic spots by the shore.

2) Return down the track for approximately 100m. Before the gate, fork right up a grass slope, passing close to the rocks on the right. In a short distance go through a gate, reaching a permissive path, which soon becomes a boardwalk over muddy ground. The path winds attractively along the southern shore of the tarn before reaching a gate and stile. Go straight ahead across a rising meadow, passing two posts with waymarks. After the second post, continue along a distinct broad track, soon descending, with fine views over Esthwaite Water. Pass the entrance to Broad Howe before joining a surfaced little road descending to a small car park and children's play area.

3) Turn left along the main road, passing through the centre of Near Sawrey village, with the Tower Bank Arms, Buckle Yeat, Meadowcroft and the entrance to Hill Top. A short distance after the Hill Top entrance take the roadside footpath on the right. At a junction of paths do not cross the stream; go through a kissing gate on the right to follow a path beside the stream (Wilfin Beck). Cross the stream on a farm bridge and continue across a meadow, heading for Sawrey Church.

4) Go through a gate to join a surfaced road at Town End hamlet, turning left to walk past a farm to Far Sawrey. Fork right, uphill, to rejoin the main road opposite the Cuckoo Brow Hotel. Turn right to return to the car park.

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Disclaimer: This route was correct at time of writing. However, alterations can happen if development or boundary changes occur, and there is no guarantee of permanent access. These walks have been published for use by site visitors on the understanding that neither HPB Management Limited nor any other person connected with Holiday Property Bond is responsible for the safety or wellbeing of those following the routes as described. It is walkers' own responsibility to be adequately prepared and equipped for the ‎level of walk and the weather conditions and to assess the safety and accessibility of the walk.

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