Walking The Coppermines Valley

January 15, 2021

The Coppermines valley is a good walk from the village of Coniston. If you’ve already tackled the old man, or you’re looking for something a little easier, this is a great option. You ascend around 350m in total (vs the 800 metre climb up the old man). The whole thing is around 8km, and should be achievable by most people in under 2 ½ hours. The terrain is mainly gravel paths. There are a few steep drops and open shafts so you’ll need to keep dogs under control. There are also plenty of friendly sheep who take a keen interest in walkers, be sure to give them plenty of space and don’t make any sudden movements towards them. Sheep generally retreat in a straight line from any perceived danger so can easily fall down shafts or over cliff edges if scared.

Starting off

The walk starts in the village of Coniston, in the shadow of the ‘Old Man’ and the banks of Coniston Water, There are plenty of places to eat and drink in the village, as well as hotels and holiday cottages if you are interested in an overnight stay. As well as the Coppermines Valley, there are a lot of other easy (and not so easy) walks directly from the village making Coniston a great base for a walking holiday in the lakes. Parking is available in the village at pay and display parking close to the Tourist Information Centre, or further down next to the lake.

Step By Step

  1. To start the walk, take the road between the Black Bull and the village shop. This will take you past the Bluebird Brewery on the left and the Ruskin Museum on the right. Continue on this road over the cattle grids. The road soon becomes a gravel track. Carry on up and you will see the white Youth Hostel building ahead, this is the start of the Coppermines Valley.
  2. On the right you’ll see ‘Irish Row’, cottages built in the 1800’s for miners, who mostly travelled here from Ireland. Just before you reach the Youth Hostel building, you will find Bonsor Mills, once one of the largest copper processing factories in the area. Stop a while to read the information panels.
  3. From here look back down the valley to see the huge mound of waste stone, the by product of the process of separating the stone from the ore. Continue up the access track, passing a waterfall on the left and climbing more steeply up the valley.
  4. Continue on the track until you reach Levers Water an impressive place to stop for lunch.
  5. From here, head southwest through ‘Boulder Valley’, you’ll see the ‘Pudding Stone’ by the footbridge over the beck. And follow the terrace path back down to Miners Bridge and down to Coniston.
  6. After the walk, head to one of the many pubs in Coniston for a warm welcome and a well earned rest!

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