Windermere to Orrest Head walk - Walks Around Britain

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Walks from Season Five - Windermere to Orrest Head

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Walk Info
2 miles (3.2 km)
Minimum time
1½ hours
Total ascent
2001ft (610 m)
Level of difficulty
Public footpaths
and open acess land
8 gates

OS Explorer OL7
Grid SD 41373 98674
Keep on leads
Pay & Display Car Park
Public Transport
In Windermere town centre
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Route Directions

  • From Windermere Railway Station, walk past Booths and cross to the other side of the station road over the blocked crossing.

  • Turn right around the hairpin-like bend and walk up along the A591 Church Street.  Cross the road using the island crossing just after the wooden gate on the right.

  • Go through the gate on the left, which has a sign saying “Permitted Footpath – Common Wood & Orrest Head”.  Remember to close the gate after you, and head up the path.  After a climb, the way seems to be blocked by a gate – but the path continues to the left through the kissing gate.

  • Continue to climb up, following the obvious path to the right of the dry stone wall.  Walk towards the gate across the open field – which is the entrance to Common Wood – and remember to close this gate after you.

  • Common Wood provides some welcome cover, but even in warm days, it can be fairly damp and slippery on the woodland paths.

  • After a while, a signpost points the way to Orrest Head, through the gap in the wall.  Continue to climb up this rocky path, with another stone wall on the right.

  • Be careful, as these rocks can be very slippery.  At the end of this path is a kissing gate which you go through.

  • Immediately turn left, and head through the gap stile in the wall.  Follow the signpost for Orrest Head, and keep the moss-covered wall on your left.

  • Watch out for low-hanging trees here.  Soon, the path turns sharply to the right and then at the next signpost, turn right and climb to the top of Orrest Head.

  • The view from the summit of Orrest Head is very special – giving a stunning vista all around this part of the Lake District.

  • The stone sign on the left shows all the mountains in the far distance, and the plenty of benches allow for a sit down to soak in the views.

  • When you’re done, head down using any of the paths straight opposite the way you walked up, and make your way to the right of the stone wall below.  After a kissing gate, turn left through another gate signposted “Crosses Farm ½ mile”.

  • Follow the signposts over the hill, through the missing gate on the far side all the way down to a post with multiple signs.

  • Turn left to follow the path marked “Windermere ¾ mile”, keeping the stone wall on your right.  Go through the kissing gate, and always head towards gaps in the walls.

  • After the second gap, follow the wall round to the right and go through the gate into High Hay Wood. Follow the path through the wood down to the bottom.

  • Go through the gate, and turn left, following the sign for Windermere.  Stay on this path, and ignore all turnings off to the left and right until the path emerges from the trees, with some buildings in front of you.

  • Turn right now, down the tarmac road and then after a left it drops down to the A591, where you cross over the road to head back to Windermere station.

Relevant Links

Get to Windermere by train with our friends at Northern.

Details about Windermere Railway Station from National Rail Enquiries.

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