14th February 2015

Visiting the Lake District Tarns - Walk No 13

Arnsbarrow Tarn and Wood Moss Tarn


Walk Overview
Time 9:40am to 3:05pm
Duration 5 hr 25 min
Distance 9.2 mile
Ascent 2300 ft
Walking with Rod Hepplewhite
Grass Paddocks car park - Grass Holme - High Nibthwaite - Brock Barrow - Low Light Haw - High Light Haw - Arnsbarrow Hill - Top O'Selside - Arnbarrow Tarn - Wood Moss Tarn - Arnsbarrow Tarn - Top O'Selside - Grass Holme - Grass Paddocks car park
Fells visited
Directory places visited

Starting Point Information Centre
Car Park, East side of Coniston Water, Grass Paddocks

This is a quite a small car park found on the narrow road running along the east side of Coniston Water. There aren't any signs for the car park and it's an easy one to drive past without realising it. It's free and I'd find it hard to believe it ever fills up completely.

Route Map


I've always tried to be a law abiding citizen and despite picking up two speeding offences on a motorbike, I've managed to get this far without gaining a criminal record. Now, I find out I've committed a rural crime by having poached eggs on toast for breakfast.
If you were thinking about coming here on 7th March, you may want to revise your plans.

It doesn't take much time to get above the trees on this sode of Coniston and when you do, the views are fantastic. Here we look across to Beacon Fell.

Coniston Old Man falls victim to a band of cloud. It looks like the day isn't going to stay cloudless after all.

Downhill we walk towards High Nibthwaite which is found at the southern end of Coniston.

Looking down to High Nibthwaite from the path up to Brock Barrow. Power lines and all.

We had a couple of different options to get up Brock Barrow but decided on going around to the left hand side of the fell before heading to the top.

Here's the southern end of Coniston Water with Beacon Fell behind.

Brock Barrow summit. If the cairn wasn't there or if I'd stood elsewhere, you'd be able to see Coniston Old Man. I mean the fell not the old bloke that lives in the village.


Looking across to High Light Haw from Low Light Haw.

To reach High Light Haw we cut across 'no mans land'. We could feel ourselves sinking so you'd need to be braver than us two to stand still on here for more than a minute or two. Not a route I'd like to take with snow on the ground.

And now we reach the top of the Top O'Selside, , , confusing isn't it. In the distance are the Coniston fells looking quite dark under the clouds.

Arnsbarrow Tarn, probably the roundest (is that a real word) tarn in the Lake District.

And a closer view of the tarn, but not too close, the area around the edge looked very boggy indeed.

Before we'd even set off walking today I'd worked out that it was about 1.7 mile from Arnsbarrow Tarn to Wood Moss Tarn. As far as (short) out and back detours go this one was quite long, and, given that most of the route was on this type of pathless terrain it was hard going. Well worth the effort though because Wood Moss Tarn was a lovely spot.

Ah, this makes the walking a bit easier. Almost like walking across a living room carpet. Most noticeable was just how warm it was in the shelter of the woods. I think we both commented on it feeling like a proper spring day, albeit a month or so early.


Lunch with a view of Wood Moss Tarn.



We take a slight detour from our detour to get a more complete view of the tarn.


Back to the Top O'Selside we go, this time taking a slightly different route from our outward journey.

Dead bracken everywhere, this is why we did this walk in the middle February and not in the middle of August.

The Coniston fells (again) seen from Top O'Selside.



I'm sure it must have a name but I've no idea what this track is called. We assumed it must have been an important route at one time. For today, all we saw were some motorcyclists and some mountain bikers.

Okay, it may seem wrong that a walk which included tarns, woodland, open moorland and country tracks should end with a picture of an upturned tree, but it couldn't help but catch our attention by the way it stood up like this. The roots at the bottom of it seem to be keeping the tree alive.

David Hall -
Lake District Walks