Castlerigg Stone Circle and Tewet Tarn Walking Route, Keswick

St Johns in the Vale

Distance - 3.5 miles
Time - 2.5 hours
Starting point - Castlerigg Stone Circle, Keswick
Parking - Free roadside parking at Castlerigg Stone Circle
Notes - some road walking, wear suitable footwear as the ground can be boggy in wet weather
Feedback - Contact Keswick Tourism Association email

This Lake District walk starts and finishes at Castlerigg Stone Circle just outside Keswick passing the tiny isolated church at St John's in the Vale and then over to Tewet Tarn, a lovely spot with fine views over to Blencathra, Latrigg and Skiddaw. 

1. From the roadside parking area walk down the road in the opposite direction to Keswick (East). Just after Keswick Climbing Wall turn right on a path signposted High Nest A591. Follow the grassy path alongside a wire fence. Go through a gate in a wall and head to another gate to walk alongside a small plantation. Go through another gate and along the farm drive. Just before a cattle grid go through a gate signposted A591. Continue along a grassy path and then through a gate. Turn right up the drive of Low Nest Farm to the road.

2. Turn left and walk along the grass verge for 50 metres. Turn left through a gate onto a public footpath leaving the noise of the busy main road behind. You are heading towards a gap in the fells ahead. Low Rigg is to the left and High Rigg to the right. Head down the path across the field. Continue down the next field. Go through a gate and follow the path. Immediately after crossing a concrete slab over a stream bear left to cross a narrow gated wooden bridge over a stream. Go forward and through a gate and head just to the right of the farm buildings ahead. Go through a kissing gate and over a rocky outcrop to reach the lane above.

3. Turn left and follow the lane is it winds its way up the hill. Continue past the Youth Centre and just after pause to take a look at the church. Opposite the church turn left over stone steps over a wall signposted Tewet Tarn and follow the path ahead. Go over a stone wall stile and keep ahead on the path. The path rises slightly then drops towards Tewet Tarn with the mighty bulk of Blencathra towering behind it. Go through a gate just before the tarn and then follow the path keeping to the right hand side of the tarn.

4. Go through a gate and keep ahead to a rocky outcrop. Follow the footpath sign and then head right alongside the wall. The path drops down through another field to a gate onto a metalled road. Turn left into the road and continue to a T-junction. Turn left and shortly left again signposted Castlerigg Stone Circle. Follow the road as it curves down. The road goes over a stream. just after turn left through a gate indicated by a public footpath sign. Follow the markers through gates up through successive fields heading towards white farm buildings. The path re-joins the road via a gate. Turn left and walk back up the lane to the start.

Download pdf Castlerigg and Tewet Tarn walking route

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Tewet Tarn

St John's in the Vale Church

Castlerigg Stone Circle

The stone circle stands on a superb natural plateau commanding a superb 360 degree view over the surrounding fells. It is composed of 38 free standing stones, some up to 3 metres (10 feet) high. It is one of Britain's earliest stone circles dating back to the Neolithic period 4000 to 5000 years ago.

The original purpose of the site is unknown. It could have been used as a trading post. Three stone axes have been discovered inside the circle. In the Neolithic period axes were made from volcanic stone quarried in the fells. Other possible uses include a meeting place for social gatherings, a site for religious ceremonies and rituals or even an astronomical observatory with the stones being aligned to the sun, moon and stars.

Take time before or after this walk to visit the Stone Circle and admire the views.