by Joanna Bailey
Orrest Head appears on many peoples ‘to-do’ list when they arrive in Windermere, not least because its claim to fame is that this is where a certain AW Wainwright stood atop and fell in love with the Lake District, and Windermere glistening in the valley below.
AW Wainwrights first view of Windermere from Orrest Head
If a place can suffer from being ‘over loved’ then Orrest Head is one of them. For years the footpath teams have toiled away, repairing and replacing the paths, clearing gullies and drains, and ensuring a safe enjoyable visit to this special viewpoint. Over 60,000 people visit each year, and if not managed, the erosion on and around the summit would get worse with the ground being washed away by heavy rain.
The pathway to this stunning panoramic viewpoint is just across the road from Windermere station, but the nature of the walk-up means that not everyone can get to see it.
The view from Orrest Head (credit Mark Gilligan)
The Lake District National Park’s ‘Miles without Stiles’ team took on the task in 2021 of repairing and improving this pathway, and it has recently reopened, aiming to help more people enjoy the fine views from Orrest Head summit, and improving the access for people and families who can’t climb stiles or steps. Perhaps wheelchairs, buggies or simply using a walking stick or assistance tool.
We took a lunchtime walk up both path options to the summit where we discovered:
Orrest Head Compass by Chris Bramhall/ CB Arts. (credit of Lake District National Park)
Slate topograph on the top of Orrest Head
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