I have seldom been so awestruck by scenery as I was by Tarn Hows, an absolutely gorgeous lake, small but perfectly formed. Tarn Hows is located in the hills between Coniston and Hawkshead, a few miles from Blenheim Lodge, our Bowness-on-Windermere bed and breakfast guest house. It is hidden away from the main roads and one has to drive or walk uphill through narrow lanes or footpaths in order to access the tarn. But boy, was it worth it!
Tarn Hows is not huge or grand in the way that one might think of the many larger natural wonders of the world. Its setting is intimate, being enclosed between purple hills and tall leafy trees. Sheep crop peacefully around the fells surrounding the lake and as I watched, a parade of Herdwick sheep walked in single file up a slight incline rather as if they were on military display.
The calls of wild birds filled the air as I stood on a hillock overlooking the tarn. One possible reason why the landscape at Tarn Hows is so stunning is likely the ‘artistic’ setting of the lake itself as well as the almost deliberate placement of topographical features that give this piece of water its unique beauty and character. Here you can see a spit of land jutting out just past a pool-like indentation from the lakeshore. There, you can see a stand of mature trees of varying hues almost forming an islet on the lake. Look a little further across the water and more leafy conifers adorn the lakeside with gratifyingly spectacular effect.
Tarn Hows is owned by the National Trust, and comprises three tarns joined together in the 19th Century.
The attraction is its sheer beauty, surrounded by thick woodland, and views towards Wetherlam, the Helvellyn range and the Langdale Pikes.
There is a 1.5 mile path round the tarn that is level and well maintained and thus suitable for wheelchairs.
When the Tarns and its setting came up for sale in 1929, they were bought by Beatrix Potter who sold the half containing Tarn Hows to the National Trust, and bequeathed the rest of the estate to the Trust in her will.
(Quote taken from www.visitcumbria.com/amb/tarn-hows.htm.)
As I looked out over Tarn Hows, listening to sheep baaing loudly and birds joining together in a rousing evening chorus, I saw a duck preen itself and then take quick flight across the still waters of the tarn in a smooth ballet of movement. Visit Cumbria tells us that hordes of people descend on the lake in the summer months to visit this beauty spot. I am therefore very glad that when I visited it last night, I could count only 5 individuals in total taking in the loveliness and tranquillity of this Lake District treasure.