Orrest Head was first made most famous because of the impact it had on renowned Lake District chronicler and walker Alfred Wainwright.
In his early 20’s, Wainwright visited the Lake District and it was the viewpoint of Orrest Head which captured his interest. This route follows in his footsteps and covers just 2.7 miles, for a short yet satisfying exploration of the stunning local scenery.
There are some stiles to be navigates, but most hikers and dogs should have no trouble accessing this trail.
The walk to Orrest Head begins just opposite Windermere railway station. From here you can see the prominent sign which points upwards along a private road. Take the lane and keep to the tarmac throughout, following twists and turns until you reach the upper heights. Expect hairpins all the way up through Elleray Woods and once you reach the smithy, the route will end. The buildings then bear right and you should follow the roughened path taking you up through the trees. Where you’ll reach a wall barring the way – your sign to turn right and follow a leveller, more complete path. Turn left through the gateway featuring Heywood memorial stones and climb the steps up to the viewpoint.
At the top, you will see a slate Wainwright diorama which outlines all of the fells you can spot and on the way back, you can return along an extended route. Continuing vaguely northwards through the bracken. Bear slightly right and descend to a signpost set alongside a stone stile. Here, the path splits and you should cross the stile and descend gently through some of the most striking scenery the area has to offer. There is a gentle trail through the fields until you come to a minor road, near Causeway Farm.
Turn left and then bear left at 0.75km, which leads you towards the A592 and through an iron gateway into pretty parkland. There is a track to follow here, footbridge to cross and wonderful sights and smells to take in. Before climbing up the steps to a narrow lane which sits above a collection of houses. As you follow the lane, you will reach the original tarmac trail, which, if you bear right, takes you back to Windermere station.
Recommended For …
This is a truly classic route which anybody who loves the work of Wainwright will want to experience – exactly the way he experienced the trail. It isn’t made up of too many steep slopes, so should be enjoyable for all and can be easily accessed from our collection of Lake District holiday cottages.