The Saddle of Coniston

A Coniston walk posted on 06/01/18 by Sarita J. Update : 09/01/18

A lovely, gentle walk, climbing up alongside the waterfalls of Church Beck to the quarry at the end of the Coppermines valley, returning via the saddle with beautiful views of Coniston village and the lake. You can end the walk with a well-deserved pint in one of the cosy village pubs. A great walk to start your holiday or to do with children.

Technical sheet
Calculated time Calculated time: 1h45[?]
Distance Distance : 2.64mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 682ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 673ft
Highest point Highest point : 807ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 197ft
Average Difficulty : Average
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Lake District
Location Location : Coniston
Starting point Starting point : N 54.368979° / W 3.0758°
Download :
Industry Views over the lake from the Saddle The old copper mines Coppermines Valley


(D) Starting out at the Yewdale Inn in Coniston, with your back to the pub, cross the bridge over the beck and take the lane immediately to your right, leading uphill to the Sun Inn.

(1) Immediately after the Sun Inn, turn right up the small lane, which leads past some farm buildings and turns into a wide dirt track, taking you out into the hillside. Continue along the track over a small bridge at Mealy Gill and past the hydroelectric plant on your right. The track continues steeply uphill alongside the river, with beautiful views of the rock pools and waterfalls. After a kissing gate, the track becomes more stony and then comes out at a bridge over the beck.

(2) Turn right and cross over the bridge, then turn immediately left to continue along the track on the other side of the river up into the Coppermines valley. Continue up the track for about a kilometre, and when you reach the youth hostel at the end of the valley, bear left past the front of the youth hostel (which is based in the old copper mines manager's building) and continue on about 300 metres to reach the quarry on the right.

(3) Here you will be able to see all the old tracks, wagons, and machinery once used in the copper mines, whose history goes back over 400 years.

(4) Retrace your steps back past the youth hostel, then after another 300 metres, when you reach a row of old houses on your left, turn left over the stream toward the houses, and then turn immediately right in front of the houses to take the footpath running past. At the next fork, turn left and begin winding uphill, then at the following three forks bear right until you reach the top of saddle, where you will have beautiful views over Coniston village, the lake, and beyond.

(5) From here, you can continue down over the front of the saddle to head back towards the village. There isn't a marked footpath down the front of the saddle, but the route is well-worn, so you should be able to follow a grassy path down. Keep bearing slightly right as you head down, and any trail you take will end up joining the road back into Coniston.

(6)Turn left along the road back down into the village, ignoring any lanes off to either side, and you will end up back in the village centre for a well-deserved drink in the pub.(A)

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. mi 0 - Yewdale Inn, Coniston
1 : mi 0.12 - alt. mi 0.12 - Turn right just after the Sun Inn
2 : mi 0.61 - alt. mi 0.61 - Turn left after the bridge
3 : mi 1.19 - alt. mi 1.19 - The copper mines
4 : mi 1.52 - alt. mi 1.52 - Cross stream and turn right in front of houses
5 : mi 1.95 - alt. mi 1.95 - The Saddle
6 : mi 2.16 - alt. mi 2.16 - Left down the lane
D/A : mi 2.64 - alt. mi 2.64 - Yewdale Inn, Coniston

Useful Information

A lovely gentle walk to start your holiday. This is also a good low-level walk when the weather is cloudy, as the Saddle often still offers good views, while the higher mountains are in the cloud.

In very wet weather, the path down the front of the Saddle can become sodden, so once you have enjoyed the views from the top of the Saddle, you may prefer to retrace your steps as far as (2) and then continue along the track to (6)

There are public toilets on your left, just after the bridge over the Church Beck in Coniston village.

There are several lovely pubs and cafés in Coniston Village.

Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

The old copper mines, whose history goes back over 400 years.

More information about the copper mines can be found here or at the Ruskin Museum in Coniston.

Opinions and comments


Global average : 4.36/5
Number of opinions : 6
Description quality : 4.17/5
Routemap quality : 4.4/5
Walk interest : 4.5/5

on Mon 05 Aug 2019 10:42:50 CEST

Global average : 4.67 / 5

Date of walk : 25/07/19
Description quality : Very good
Routemap quality : Good
Walk interest : Very good

Moderator hiker
on Sun 14 Oct 2018 14:52:08 CEST

Sorry to hear you found this walk too steep. Personally, it was one of my favourite walks as a child!

on Fri 05 Oct 2018 23:01:22 CEST

Global average : 2.5 / 5

Date of walk : 27/09/18
Description quality : Disappointing
Routemap quality : N/A
Walk interest : Average

I agree with the previous poster than the unofficial path down the saddle is incredibly steep and dangerous, even on a dry sunny day. Definitely not suitable for children. I turned back.
The area is rather bleak and industrial with slag heaps. The view from the saddle is fantastic.

on Tue 02 Oct 2018 15:27:22 CEST

Global average : 4 / 5

Date of walk : 29/09/18
Description quality : Average
Routemap quality : Good
Walk interest : Very good

I found this walk started off really well, it was easy to find the beginning of it, and led up the side of a few waterfalls. However the ascent was quite steep, and then once reaching the saddle, the descent down the front of it was incredibly steep and quite precarious in places. I did enjoy the walk, but would probably have rated it somewhere more on the moderate scale rather than suggesting it was an average walk.

on Mon 10 Sep 2018 15:55:50 CEST

Global average : 5 / 5

Date of walk : 10/09/18
Description quality : Very good
Routemap quality : Very good
Walk interest : Very good

An excellent walk with beautiful views - well recommended

on Mon 20 Aug 2018 10:28:06 CEST

Global average : 4.33 / 5

Date of walk : 20/08/18
Description quality : Very good
Routemap quality : Good
Walk interest : Good

Nice views and gentle walk

on Mon 14 May 2018 15:56:28 CEST

Global average : 5 / 5

Date of walk : 11/05/18
Description quality : Very good
Routemap quality : Very good
Walk interest : Very good

Arrived in the lakes in time for an evening stroll and this was perfect to get a little taster for our bigger walk the next day. Really enjoyed it.

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