Carron Crag & Grizedale Forest Walk

Grizedale Forest

A moderate circular walk around the enchanting Grizedale Forest. This walk also visits the summit of the 314m high Carron Crag one of Alfred Wainwright's Outlying Fells of Lakeland. Carron Crag gives awesome panoramic view across the roof of Grizedale Forest to South Lakeland including the nearby Coniston Fells. This route starts at the popular Grizedale Visitor Centre and ascends enchanting woodland and forestry littered with fascinating wooden sculptures. The route then passes the beautiful Grizedale Tarn before following forestry tracks south along the eastern side of the valley to the quaint village of Satterthwaite. From Satterthwaite the walk crosses Moor Lane to the western side of the valley and heads north through woodland and forestry to eventually climb Carron Crag. After taking in the awesome panoramic views from Carron Crag the route descends back to the Grizedale Visitor Centre. At the half way point in Satterthwaite there is the Eagles Head pub where you can get a refreshing pint of real ale or tasty food. It is a great pub but it does have irregular opening times. There are dozens of walks and mountain biking routes that can be started from the Grizedale Visitor Centre, for info on these look online or grab a map and follow the colour coded way markers.

Route Directions

  1. This walk starts from the Grizedale Visitor Centre at grid reference SD 336 942. This is the lively hub of the forests outdoor activities. Here you will find a car park, shop, toilets, cafe, Go Ape, mountain bike shop, education centre and the start of dozens of walks and mountain bike routes for all abilities. Sadly the parking, as with most places in the Lakes these days, is unfortunately extortionate pay and display.
  2. To reach the Grizedale Visitor Centre from the north. Turn off the A593 at Clappersgate between Ambleside and Skelwith Bridge and head south on the B5286 to Hawkshead. After Hawkshead turn right at the T junction following the brown signs for Grizedale. After a sharp bend to the left and quarter of a mile turn right up a steep narrow lane, again following the brown signs for Grizedale. After two and a half miles you will reach the Grizedale Visitor Centre.
  3. To reach the Grizedale Visitor Centre from the south. Turn north off the A590 at the sharp bend at Newby Bridge, following the signs for Lakeside and Hawkshead. The road crosses the Newby Bridge over the River Leven. Follow the road as it bends left then right, following the brown signs for Lakeside. Follow the road through Lakeside then north for eight miles. Just after Esthwaite Water turn up a steep narrow lane on the left signposted to Grizedale. After two and a half miles you will reach the Grizedale Visitor Centre.
  4. From the Grizedale Visitor Centre follow the green way markers for the Silurian Way. The path heads north east away from the area above the car park. This pretty walled area above the car park is the remains of the once impressive Grizedale Hall.
  5. Follow the path in a north easterly direction for a hundred metres. The path will bend to the right and ascend south through Priest Wood. You will pass many sculptures including keys in trees. Turn the keys and you may be surprised to find they actually play a musical tune.
  6. The path reaches a bend to the left where a wooden shelter hugs the side of the path. Follow the bend round to the left then turn right and cross an impressive high bridge over a deep ravine with a stream running through it. Lookout for Roe Deer around Priest Wood especially around early morning and late evening.
  7. On the other side of the bridge turn right and follow the path until it reaches a junction with a another path that switches back to the left. Turn left here and ascend this path following the green Silurian Way way markers. There are numerous wooden sculptures on the floor here by the side of the path that looked to me like travel pillows.
  8. Continue on this path as it ascends through the forest towards the Braithwaite Plantation. The path eventually crosses the stream that runs into the ravine you crossed below. There are many more wooden sculptures around if you look out for them, hundreds all over the forest and I reckon you could visit Grizedale Forest a hundred times and still not have spotted them all.
  9. The path turns right after crossing the stream then heads north east through huge trees with the stream now on your right hand side. After a while the path reaches a forestry track which passes wild boggy ponds on the left and then reaches a junction of tracks where there is a huge wooden Pine Martin sculpture.
  10. At this junction turn right, again following the green Silurian Way way markers. After two hundred metres the track turns right and then snakes its way through the higher parts of the forest. After a sharp turn to the left round a crag and a sharp turn to the right, head left on a path into the forest to reach a bench and boardwalk on the side of Grizedale Tarn.
  11. Head back to the main track and turn left. After heading east for half a kilometre you will reach a T junction of tracks. Here turn right and head south, again following the green Silurian Way way markers.
  12. Follow this track for a kilometre and a half. You will pass a path on the right with a lilac way marker which is the Bogle Crag Trail coming up from Bogle Crag. Do not turn right here. Instead continue along the track for another two hundred metres and you will find a bridleway on the right with the same lilac coloured way marker.
  13. Here turn right down the descent of the Bogle Crag Trail. After just over half a kilometre it reaches a forestry track. Cross the track and continue descending the Bogle Crag Trail with lilac markers.
  14. The bridleway passes through Breasty Haw, probably the most enchanting natural woodland on the walk. When the sun is shining through the trees here you really do feel like you are somewhere magical.
  15. The bridleway will eventually reach the end of a tarmac road coming up from Satterthwaite. Turn left now leaving the Bogle Crag Trail and descend the road into the village.
  16. Satterthwaite is a quiet picturesque hamlet with impressive old stone buildings everywhere including the All Saints Parish Church, The Parish Rooms and The Eagles Head pub. There is also a nature artists studio and cafe.
  17. When you reach the village turn left along the main road and head south. You will pass between the Parish Church and the Parish Rooms then bend right and downhill towards the Eagles Head pub. The Eagles Head has refreshing local ales and tasty food and is an ideal place to stop as it is the half way point. The opening times are somewhat irregular though.
  18. From Satterthwaite head south along the main road crossing over Grizedale Beck on the Satterthwaite Bridge. A hundred metres down the road turn right onto the Moor Lane bridleway.
  19. Follow this bridleway north east for a kilometre with fields on your right and the woodlands of Great Knott then Little Knott on your left. There is often a strong pungent smell of Wild Garlic here, the white flowers of which blanket the woodland floor during the summer months.
  20. The path will eventually pass through a gate and into the forest. You are now on the western side of the Grizedale valley. Just after the gate the path crosses a small stream. Continue along the main path here to the right until it rises to a forestry track.
  21. Turn right and head along the forestry track. After rounding a bend to the left the track bends to the right crossing the Farra Grains Gill. The original bridge and the ravine the gill follows after the bridge are quite stunning.
  22. Continue along the track which crosses a second bridge over Farra Grains. The track reaches another track coming down from the left. Here cross to the other side of the track and you will find a path with a green Silurian Way way marker that ascends north into the Scales Green woodland.
  23. The path is quite steep in places and crosses the scary looking The North Face Trail mountain bike trail. You will pass under a wooden archway sculpture before eventually topping out at an old parking or turning area at the end of a forestry track.
  24. Here head north along the track until you reach a crossroads. At the crossroads head straight on but then after around twenty metres turn left onto a footpath with the green Silurian Way and red Carron Crag Trail way markers.
  25. This path ascends a fairly rough and steep route through the Carron Plantation before reaching an opening where you get your first sight of the striking wooden Panopticon sculpture.
  26. Scramble up a short rocky section on the path to reach the Panopticon sculpture. On a clear day looking south through the Panopticon you will be gifted views as far as the sands of Morecambe Bay. Looking north through the Panopticon it perfectly frames the rocky knoll of Carron Crag topped by an OS trig point pillar.
  27. From the Panopticon head over to the rocky knoll of Carron Crag. Despite its modest height of 314m above sea level the summit of Carron Crag is surprisingly exposed and the OS trig point pillar sits right on top of its exposed summit.
  28. The views from Carron Crag are awesome. To the west is the Coniston Fells, from left to right Dow Crag, Coniston Old Man, Brim Fell, Swirl How and Wetherlam. To the north and north east the higher Central Fells and Eastern fells. And all around in close proximity the roof of Grizedale Forest. Be sure to keep an eye out for Buzzards and Red Kites circling and flying around the roof of the forest.
  29. From Carron Crag descend the path heading north then north east. Follow this rough path past an open deforested area and it will eventually reach a forest track. When you reach this track turn left and head north along it.
  30. After seven hundred and fifty metres of walking north along the track above the forest turn right onto a footpath with the green Silurian Way and red Carron Crag Trail way markers.
  31. Descend this path in a south to south east direction for a kilometre until you reach a forestry track. At the forestry track turn right and descend it in a southerly direction for under half a kilometre.
  32. After just under half a kilometre turn left down a track that switches back and heads north then north east. Again lookout for the green Silurian Way and red Carron Crag Trail way markers.
  33. The track turns into a path as it descends through the woods. This path leads to end of a tarmac road. Follow this tarmac road and it will take you over the Grizedale Beck to Grizedale and the Grizedale Visitor Centre.
  34. For refreshments after the walk there is the Eagles Head pub in Satterthwaite just two miles down the road. If the Eagles Head is closed you could always head north to Hawkshead where there is an abundance of places to eat and drink in beautiful surroundings.

Maps for this walk

Paper maps for this walk

Click to buy OS Explorer OL7 Map Click to buy OS Landranger 96 Map Click to buy Harvey Super Walker Lakeland South East Map Click to buy Pathfinders Lake District Short Walks

GPS files for this walk

Route map of this walk

Photos & Trip Reports

Carron Crag & Grizedale Forest

Planning for a walk

Check the weather

The weather is a very important part of hill walking. Weather conditions and daylight hours will dictate where you walk, what gear you will need to carry, how far you walk, and may even decide if you go at all. The following links will help you gather information on weather conditions for areas of Britain...

Plan your journey

Planning your journey before you set off for your walk can save you vital hours on the day. You need to make sure you know the area surrounding your starting point as many factors can influence or change the place you park. Don't forget change for parking meters and fees.

Maintenance of your vehicle and being ready for breakdown situations when driving to remote areas is also vital. Pack a full spare petrol can in your boot, and take de-icing tools in winter, including a shovel. The Transport Direct website below is a great resource for anyone wanting to get to the start of their walk using public transport...

Pack the right gear

Carrying and wearing the right gear is essential for walkers to remain comfortable and safe while hill walking in Britain. However, the best gear in the world is of no use to anyone who doesn't know how to use and care for it. Knowing how to use your gear will give you a much more enjoyable experience. The following items are, in my opinion, the essential items to wear and carry for a hill walk in Britain. It would be foolish to head into the hills and mountains of Britain without these essential items and the knowledge of how to use them. Check out the gear section of this site for techniques and gear lists...

  • Footwear
  • Clothing
  • Rucksack
  • Warm Clothes
  • Waterproofs
  • Map & Compass
  • Emergency Kit
  • First Aid Kit
  • Food & Drink
  • Seasonal Gear

Know what to do in emergencies

It is good practise to tell someone where you are going, and when you expect to return. If you don't get in contact when you said you would on your return, and those you told can't get hold of you, at least they will be able to provide the search party with your general location.

Emergency equipment in the check list above means items such as a survival bag, whistle, and emergency food rations. This isn't anything special; any whistle will do, the orange emergency bags only costs a few pounds, and basic food rations can consist of a couple of chocolate bars. Carrying a head lamp is also an important component and a vital piece of kit used for signalling when you require rescuing.

You should always try and get out of a difficult or emergency situation using your own gear, knowledge and energy. If you cannot do this, then you should dial 999 and ask for the police. Use all the gear you have to keep any unwell or injured members of your party or yourself safe and warm, and use your signalling devices to let the rescuers know your whereabouts. To do this blow six good long blasts on your whistle, or flash six flashes of your torch. Stop for one minute. Repeat. Carry on with the whistle blasts until someone reaches you, and don't stop because you've heard a reply.

Never contact mountain rescue unless absolutely necessary, but on the other hand don't ever feel guilty for having to do so, especially if you are a prepared walker. The Mountain Rescue teams are full of fantastic like-minded souls who love nothing more than people who are prepared for being safe in the mountains.