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This short, circular, rather delicious walk from Windermere to Orrest Head, was Wainwright’s introduction to the Lake District. If you choose a clear day, the ratio of views to effort is unbeatable. It is also lovely on a damp day if you’re looking for mystery and magic.

View from Orrest Head


Get yourself to the A591 at the junction where the tourist information centre is, and Windermere railway station/Booths/Lakeland.

Head across the road and next to the Windermere Hotel – and the Orrest Head bar, great for coffee or a beer at the end, and you’ll see the sign ‘Orrest Head’.

Follow the path up to the summit. It’s a steady climb with benches for pausing and enjoying the view along the route. Halfway along you’ll pass Steve Hicks, Blacksmith workshop. It’s always interesting to look at some examples of his fantastic work.

At the summit, you’ll find the toposcope from which you can see many of the Lakeland fells highlighted. There are a few benches to sit and enjoy your flask of tea and take your photos too.

Simply return back down the lane, or alternatively you can explore some of the paths heading north, down to Causeway farm, through St Catherine’s Wood and along the paths back to the start.

Wainwright said, “Orrest Head, for many of us is ‘where we came in’- our first ascent in Lakeland, our first sight of mountains in tumultuous array across glittering waters, our awakening to beauty.

It is a popular walk, and often busy when the weather is being kind. It is a rewarding hike, and for a little effort, you get to see the full length of Windermere in all its glory; and out to the coast in the south and up to the high fells in the north.

Once back in Windermere there’s a great selection of bars and cafes to choose from.

We like the Orrest Head bar; The Smith; Brown Sugar; and of course, the Crafty Baa.


Walk distance?: ?2.7 miles (4.3 Km) 

Wainwrights?: ?One outlying Fell – Orrest Head

Walk features?: ?Birds, Flowers, Geographic features

Height climbed?: ?210 metre


Click here to download our Orrest Head guide