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Tarn walk highlights Grasmere's other qualities

Posted 17 July 2012
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Tarn walk highlights Grasmere's other qualities
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For many visitors, Grasmere is simply a tourist mecca, a place to discover the home of William Wordsworth and the literature with which he is associated, pay respects at his grave in the village churchyard and grab some famous Grasmere Ginger Cake before leaving.

But while Dove Cottage may be a honeypot for visitors keen on the literary heritage of the village, those who do no more than this are missing the point.

After all, if there was one thing Wordsworth liked to do it was go walking, without which poems like The Excursion (featuring Blea Tarn in the Langdales) and Daffodils (by the banks of Ullswater in what is now Gowbarrow Park) would not have been penned.

Nor is it just the LakeDistrict in general that provides a myriad of good reasons to put on some walking boots, for the Grasmere and Rydal area itself is a fine base to walk from.

On July 23rd, Lake District National Park Auithority rangers are leading a walk up the fells immediately east of Grasmere village, climbing up via Alcock Tarn to Nab Scar and then descending to Rydal.

Starting at 10:30 BST and covering 6.8 miles, it is a walk for which good footwear and outdoor clothig is required, so waterproofs will be needed (as ever in the summer of 2012) as well as walking boots.

Alcock Tarn is itself a semi-artifical tarn, enlarged by a dam, but there are many more attractive tarns in the Grasmere area.

Walking west out of the village, for example, provides a trek up Easedale, with the tarn of that name being hemmed in by an amphitheatre of steep, grassy slopes. This valley leads up to the 2,500 ft summit of High Raise and below this is another attractive stretch of water, Codale Tarn.

Other fells overlooking Grasmere include Loughrigg, which is only 1,099 ft high, but provides views across Windermere, Esthwaite Water and Coniston Water to the south.

For those looking for something higher, Grasmere can provide a starting point for an ascent of Helvellyn, starting via the Grisedale Pass and then up and over Dollywaggon Pike. Rydal is a potential staring point for the Fairfield horseshoe and other prominent peaks include St Sunday Crag and Seat Sandal.