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This stage features the many becks, stiles, farmyards and field paths between Ulverston and Gawthwaite on the southern boundary of Britain’s largest National Park. There are patches of craggy moorland around Beacon Tarn and the rough, but distinct paths along the lovely wooded shoreline of Coniston Water. Rolling terrain overall with the Cumbria Way marker sculpture in The Gill at Ulverston to mark the start/finish of the trail in this pretty part of the town
Ulverston - Coniston
6 - 7 hours
Leaving Ulverston follow a clear path beside a stream then a left turn up a walled path before navigating your way through fields to pass Old Hall Farm and on through fields and over stiles eventually arriving a road at Higher Lath Farm. Walk downhill for a short stretch on road before a left turn takes you through fields to reach Hollowmire. Follow the access road for Hollowmire to a minor road and turn left before taking a right hand path leading to St John's church from where a road leads towards the hamlet of Broughton Beck.
Your route now follows Broughton Beck for some of the way, crossing over a series of stiles before joining an unclassified road leading to Knapperhowe. Well worn tracks and paths now lead you onwards to enter the Lake District National Park near Gawthwaite. The ground now starts to rear up around you as you follow the route leading eventually past a series of farms and leading to Tottlebank where you start your ascent to Beacon Tarn. The official route follows the western shore of the tarn but why not go on the opposite side and climb Beacon Fell to visit the summit.
The views across to the Coniston Fells are superb from here and once you have enjoyed them enough a steep descent from Beacon Tarn leads down to Stable Harvey Moss where the path is very thin on the ground - keep to the southern side to meet a minor road at a hairpin bend. A short climb on the road before a left turn which leads to Torver Tarn from where you follow the beck down to Sunny Bank. Cross over the main road (opt out here for refreshments at Torver 1 mile away if needed) and head down to the shoreline at Coniston over a small rise
The lakeshore path alongside Coniston is pretty rugged in places so whilst admiring the views don't forget to watch where you are putting your feet! The path is clear throughout this stretch as it passes through patchy woodland, as the trees start to clear you approach Coniston Hall Campsite and the chunky chimneys of Coniston Hall. All that is left for you to do today is follow the field path and short road walk into Coniston for some much deserved refreshments at one of the excellent inns or cafes to complete your first day on the Cumbria Way.