Moss Eccles Tarn, in the Lake District, is one of those special hidden gems. No matter the season it is a beautiful place to be. Up and away from the roads it sits on the tops of Claife Heights, above Near Sawrey.
It has a huge bond and connection with Beatrix Potter which I shall discuss here as well as the circular route I took which is a grand walk of just 2.5 miles.
The Cumbrian Lake District is blessed with peaks, mountains and waterways and this is yet another example of showing that you do not need to climb all day on the highest peaks to see its beauty and views.
My starting point was again right out of the door of where I was staying. Ees Wyke Country House in Near Sawrey. A guesthouse that has lots of walks straight out of the door like my previous post on a walk to Windermere’s shores.
I have added GPX etc to the end of this post as a guide if you wish.
From the accommodation I literally just had to turn right towards the village proper and after a couple hundred or so metres you will see a phone box on the left. Take the lane and follow it upwards to the end.
The most common path up to the tarn is more direct from the village but this way you make a lovely circular and enjoy the usual route on the way down.
The local Herdwick sheep cheering me on with Esthwaite Water in the background.
Walk Up Claife Heights
The lane is not a road and is literally just heading to 1 house up here so do not worry about traffic. When the lane ends just pass through the gate and carry on up towards the top of Claife Heights. The path is clear and more like a stoney track from now on.
The views change all along as you wander upwards. It isn’t a massive slog so take the time to enjoy looking around.
As you near the top you can look over your left shoulder to The Old Man of Coniston and the full range.
Once up and it starts to level take the path right and along to Moss Eccles Tarn itself.
Moss Eccles Tarn
There is a gate that leads you into the trees beside Moss Eccles Tarn and it soon becomes apparent why this is an enchanting place to be.
As you walk along the edges of it you can easily imagine how it enchanted famous names of the past. Alfred Wainwright found it beautiful. He was adamant it was a reservoir himself because he could never find it on any 19th century maps. But he agreed that when you see it today as he did, there is no sign at all of it being man made but natural.
Some of the nature you see is the product of a famous owner prior to that, a certain Beatrix Potter.
Beatrix Potter and Moss Eccles Tarn
Of course a lot of people know the story of Beatrix Potter and her connection to this area. We even started this walk near Hill Top in Near Sawrey, her first home she bought in Cumbria.
She married William Heelis in 1913 and they moved to Far Sawrey, the next village along. She went from writing children’s books to raising Herdwick sheep and helping to conserve the land with her money. Buying it up to stop development and preserving it.
She thus bought Moss Eccles Tarn. It was a favourite spot for them to spend evenings together. Beatrix (now Mrs Heelis) and her husband used to row a boat together here. She used to sit, drawing and sketching whilst her husband fished. It was Beatrix that stocked the waters with trout and planted the water lilies.
Path Back Down
Take plenty of time to explore the tarn and surrounding area. It is great for families too with some mini scrambles to be had for all on the rocks beside it.
To complete the circuit take the path/track downwards to the right that is after the tarn. You will come to a fork in the path and take the right hand option. Pass through a farm on the track and you will soon start to see the village of Near Sawrey ahead and below.
Route Details and GPX
Distance: 2.5 miles
Download the GPX – Moss Eccles Tarn from Near Sawrey Walk