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Kelly Hall Tarn

evening sunlight with dramatic view of Kelly Hall Tarn and The Old Man of Coniston in the Lake District National Park.

Late Light Reflections

Some late evening light illuminating the scene at Kelly Hall Tarn.

Kelly Hall Tarn is a small body of water which can be located just outside a small village called Torver which is to the West of Coniston. It's a fairly easy location to get to with the tarn being located within very close proximity to the car park!

For a location that is so easy to get to, it's surprisingly quiet and doesn't really get a lot of attention from the broader general public/tourist. There's usually the odd fellow togger but in my experience, I've never found this location to feel too busy with regards to other photographers.


It's a really nice spot with a few different options for composition and I highly recommend this place to anyone who just fancies a nice calm peaceful stroll without having to put in too much effort! 

A slight word of warning; the car park is a little uneven in places so just take a bit of extra care especially at the entrance into the car park where there is a slight hump to your right which could maybe cause a problem if approached without caution.

It's a location that can pretty much be shot any time of the year both at sunrise and sunset but depending on the type of image you want, you may want to consider your options. In the Autumn months the sun begins to set further towards the South-West which basically means if you're shooting towards the group of trees in the direction of The Old Man of Coniston, then the sun will set far out of frame towards your left. From September onwards with each day, the sun will set further towards the direction on your left shoulder which makes this the ideal time to capture some fantastic golden side light, toppled with the Autumn foliage in the trees. Sunrise at this time of year can also work particularly well but keep in mind that with the sun rising South-East you may find that the light might not be as pleasing especially in the foreground as the kind of light you get at sunset. If I was going to shoot sunrise here I would typically choose a calm misty morning which there are plenty of during Autumn and would focus my attention on trying to capture something a little more ethereal rather than the impactful kind of scene.

Winter months can also suit this location with the obvious addition of the possibility of snow, The Old Man particularly looks interesting with a covering of snow! During the first part of Winter (December) the sun will rise/set at its most SE/SW direction meaning the light will be coming from behind you so may not work particularly well if you're looking for side light so mid-Winter would typically be more ideal for that kind of image. With all that being said, Winter can produce photographic opportunities that don't rely fully on the inclusion of 'strong light'; Think of frosty mornings where the tarn could possibly turn into ice, if you're lucky enough you may have a bit of mist lingering around to give your image a more softer look and feel with a more toned down pastel colour pallet! 

beautiful blue sky Winter scene at Kelly Hall Tarn in the Lake District.

Snowcapped Old Man.

A Winter afternoon at Kelly Hall Tarn with a dusting of snow on The Old Man of Coniston.

fiery sunset with reflections in water at Kelly Hall Tarn in the Lake District.

Fire In The Sky.

A dramatic sunset at Kelly Hall Tarn.

In terms of composition there are a few options to go with! The most obvious would be the view looking towards the group of trees with The Old Man of Coniston to the right of frame. It's a good idea to take the area in and pay attention to where you position yourself; keeping to the left part of the tarn (closest to the trees) in my opinion gives a very symmetric look with the shape of the trees leading the eye towards The Old Man but there are some interesting areas around the middle/right part of the tarn, in particular a bit of an island that leads out to a rock which can work well for foreground interest.

As you walk around the tarn, you'll notice the tree furthest to the left will start to stand out in a more isolated way the further right along to tarn you go. There are a few possible compositions with this tree just on its own with a couple of examples below.

The last thing I would add would be to try and view the tarn from higher ground, especially if there's a touch of mist lying around the Torver valley!

sunny evening at Kelly Hall Tarn in the Lake District with lone tree.

Sunstar Tree.

Early evening sun shining through a tree at Kelly Hall Tarn.

beautiful vibrant colours in sky at sunset at Kelly Hall Tarn in the Lake District.

Dusk Hues.

Kelly Hall Tarn looking out towards the West at sunset.

Lone tree sunset at Kelly Hall Tarn in t

Lone Tree.

A lone tree reflecting in a calm Kelly Hall Tarn at sunset.

Getting Here

Nearest Post Code - LA21 8BJ

As mentioned earlier, Kelly hall tarn is quite an easy location to get to. Once in Coniston, stay on the A593 for about 10 minutes until you reach the small village of Torver. Here you will want to turn left onto the A5084 and continue on this road until you see a Land Rover garage on your right. At this point, the car park for Kelly Hall Tarn will be on the opposite side.

Once on the car park, you can't really go wrong. Just follow the path until you go through a gate and from there you want to walk up the hill which is straight ahead of you, bearing slightly to the left.

How to get to Kelly Hall Tarn in the Lake District.
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