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Walk up Old Man of Coniston from Coniston via Church Beck

By Dave Chick   

on November 22, 2018    4.67/5 (3)

Walk up Old Man of Coniston from Coniston via Church Beck

Further Details

Route Summary:

Explore some of Coniston’s industrial past with this walk from Coniston to the Old Man

This walk includes the Wainwright of The Old Man of Coniston (Coniston Old Man)

This walk includes the Hewitt of The Old Man of Coniston (Coniston Old Man)

This walk includes the Nuttall of The Old Man of Coniston (Coniston Old Man)

Route Start Location: Coniston tourist information centre

4.14 km 702 m 2 hours one way

Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.

Activivity Type: Hard Walk

Summits and Places on this Route


Toilets can be found in the tourist information centre car park while Coniston village has plenty of pubs to keep the thirst at bay.


Treat the old mine workings with respect and do not enter any of the mine entrances. Unmarked shafts and adits (horizontal entrances) may exist.

Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Mountain Safety , Navigation and what equipment you’ll need.

Parking : LA21 8EH

National Park tourist information centre – Ruskin Avenue

Payable everyday 9am to 6pm including Sunday and Bank Holidays

  • up to 2 hours: £3.00
  • 3 hours: £4.20
  • 4 hours: £5.40
  • 5 hours: £6.60
  • 9 hours: £8.00

Public Transport:

505 (Coniston Rambler) bus from Kendal, Windermere, Ambleside and Hawkshead

X12 bus from Ulverston

Traveline for UK Public Transport

Recommended Maps


Walk up Old Man of Coniston from Coniston via Church Beck Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

Download file for GPS

Walk up Old Man of Coniston from Coniston via Church Beck

A visit to Coniston is almost unimaginable without climbing its most famed peak; the Old Man of Coniston. It dominates the village with the summit being barely 3km from the centre (although some 600m higher!).

It is popular with walkers and tourist alike as several, well-marked paths snake up to the summit. This route from Coniston village is the most popular and, while short, offers a great deal of interest thanks to the industrial past of this area of the Lake District. It also helps that the Coniston fells are some of the most scenic in the National Park with the Old Man being the daddy of them all (so to speak).

For more information on the Old Man of Coniston – read our article detailing All the Walks up Coniston Old Man which has a few further walking options from Coniston including the ‘tourist route’ from Walna Scar Road.

Walk up Old Man of Coniston from Coniston via Church Beck Full Route Description

1 – We’ve chosen Coniston as the official starting point for this walk though it can also be accessed from the Walna Scar car park to the south of the fell. Assuming you have parked in the car park at the tourist information centre, take a left at the car park entrance to follow the B5258 through the village to the junction with the A593. Turn left to cross a bridge over Church Beck before an immediate right at the Lakes Cottages (across the road).

2 – This narrow road leads to the grand Sun Hotel. Take the first right immediately after the hotel where you’ll see a sign on the building opposite pointing the direction to the Old Man and Levers Water. Follow this track through the buildings until you reach the Miners Bridge over Church Beck (SD 29423 98022).

3 – Don’t cross the bridge. Instead, remain on the narrow path on the south side of the stream where it turns west, continuing to climb. Pass through a few drystone enclosure walls as the path climbs to Crowberry Haws. At a junction (SD 28454 98095), take a right and then keep left to stay on the main path for the Old Man of Coniston.

3 – The path begins to climb more steeply up a set of zigzags until you reach the first of many of the industrial ‘levels’, surrounded by large piles of spoil. The remains of the mine workings are everywhere with ruined buildings, winding engines, old aerial tramways and steel cables scattered all around. It’s a fascinating place and a worthwhile place to explore. The path, utilising the old ramps, goes right through the middle.

4 –  After more climbing, you will emerge at Low Water, a fine glacial tarn nestled in the clutches of the mountains above it. At the tarn, the path continues up the hillside to the left, zigzagging up the steeper sections. The upper part of this path has had some much-needed attention with pitched stones helping to reduce erosion. Once at the top of the zigzags the path bears right to reach the summit platform and trig point. On a clear day, the view down to Low Water is superb.

5 – If time and energy permit, the best continuations of this walk are either the Brim Fell – Swirl How ridge to the north or a circuit of Goat’s Water to Dow Crag to the west. Otherwise, the route of ascent offers the quickest and most direct route back to Coniston.

Dave is our Lake District local expert, often found in the depths of Cumbria he's the author of his own part on the web, All the Gear but no Idea.
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