Thursday 9 July 2020

Grizedale Forest Tarn Trail

Grizedale Forest is somewhere we have visited a few times since we moved up to Kendal. My parents took us in 2011 to check out the brand new clockwork trees. We were then invited to the opening day of the new Go Ape Junior in April 2014 which we combined with checking out the Gruffalo trail. I then won tickets for the full Go Ape course. Our next visit was in 2015 for the AND festival outdoor movie in September followed by the Petzl Night run 10km in December. We kept up the night visits by going on a stargazing evening in 2016 but haven't been back since!

My son is looking for more trail runs on easy to follow routes so I suggested that we went to Grizedale as it has many such trails. I printed off the leaflet from the web site which tells you the distance of each trail and whether it is easy, moderate or strenuous. He selected the 5.5 km moderate Tarn Trail which meant we needed to park in car park. 

We had slightly meandering drive there as my son wasn't paying attention to the phone instructions plus a road closure! However, we arrived just as the sun came back out after a grey day. The signage on site was very clear so you could find out where you needed to go:

Grizedale Forest

We had to follow the white trail signs which would lead us to Grizedale Tarn. This took us past some of the art work that the forest is famous for. Unfortunately after 9 years the clockwork trees no longer make music:

Grizedale Forest sculptures and clockwork forest

The paths curve round so that you get lovely surprises around corners. Bridges and stepping stones make it easy to follow, although I wouldn't recommend the giant stile as an easy route:

Grizedale Forest paths

Deeper into the forest there is evidence of men having harnessed the power of water in the past. This beck had been channelled to create a waterfall:

Grizedale Forest water

After a root strewn path to the higher points of the forest it was lovely to encounter more sculptures such as the sandstone fox and the pregnant fox totem:

Grizedale Forest sculptures

Up here we were mostly following logging roads as the forest is harvested. We did then find a more magical looking track through the trees:

Grizedale Forest tracks

This led us to the tarn which was so peaceful and still:

Grizedale Forest Tarn

Heading back down it was a more magical adventure and I'm not sure if the dry stone walls were sculpture or left overs from the past. The waterfall was pretty stunning though:

Grizedale Forest waterfall and walls

We then came back to the bottom edge of the forest where there were more art works to spot and a twist back under the bridge we had gone over on our way out:

Grizedale Forest sculptures

As we still had energy left we headed over the road and passed through the visitor centre (which was closed). This took us to the Millwood trail and the location of Go Ape Junior (it looks scarily high!):

Grizedale Forest Millwood trail and Go Ape Junior

The plan is to go back and run the trail on a weekday and then have a picnic and make use of the cafe. It is definitely a lovely place to spend a day and I am glad we have rediscovered it.

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