To get started, turn left from the Three Shires Inn (with the pub behind you) and walk down the road until you see a footpath sign pointing through a kissing gate on the right. Follow the path downhill through a field and then over a footbridge across a beck.
From the footbridge the path heads up through a gate and then between dry stone walls to reach Stang End. At the little collection of buildings at Stang End tarmac lanes head in three different directions. Follow the wooden signpost pointing in the direction of Elterwater and Ambleside.
The route continues on a good quality tarmac lane, passing beneath the wooded flank of Little Fell. Stay on the tarmac, ignoring paths and signs off to the left, until you reach the main road of the A593. Cross with care and head immediately onto a wide, muddy lane opposite which passes through trees below the hillside of Hollin Bank.
Hollin Bank to Iron Keld
Follow the track through the trees until it emerges to follow a wall on the left. The track then drops down to cross a beck before branching off quite steeply uphill with another wall on the left and the beck on the right. Climb upwards until the path goes through a gate. In good weather you should have quite pleasant views back towards Eltermere and Little Langdale.
From the gate the path is actually quite indistinct for a short distance but you soon intersect with a much more clear track which bends and rolls through the lumpy ground overlooking High Arnside farm. Keep following this obvious track until you reach a gate through a wall on the edge of a plantation. The trees in front of you are Iron Keld plantation. Go through the gate and follow a well-maintained track through the woods all the way to a junction with another gravel path.
From Iron Keld back to the Three Shires Inn
Turn right onto the gravel path, which leads towards the ever popular tourist spot of Tarn Hows.
Originally three natural tarns, Tarn Hows was purchased by James Marshall, owner of the Monk Coniston Estate, who planned to create a new body of water surrounded by carefully landscaped clumps of trees. The National Trust and Beatrix Potter purchased large parts of the Monk Coniston estate following James Marshall’s death and Beatrix Potter bequeathed more of the estate to the trust in her will. It is now a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a beautiful spot for a lakeside wander.
After leaving the Iron Keld plantation it is an easy detour to turn left onto one of the paths leading to Tarn Hows. However, our main route continues on the track which eventually comes to the A593. Cross straight over the road (signposted to Oxen Fell) and then follow the tarmac lane which leads through the farm. The track surface then turns to gravel, heading through woods to Hodge Close and Parrock quarries.
Near the quarries you will come to an obvious junction with another gravel track. Turn right and follow this track through pleasant woodland and a series of gates until it eventually leads back to Stang End. From here it is simply a matter of retracing your steps back down the path flanked by dry stone walls, across the footbridge and back up towards the road leading to the Three Shires Inn.
Check out our live webcam displaying the extraordinary views and beautiful surroundings outside the Three Shires.