Ambleside to Windermere


Stagecoach’s 555 service from Lancaster to Keswick offers walkers a route that passes through some of the loveliest scenery this country has to offer. Along its length all sorts of options open up for linear or circular walks. Here is one of my favourites. 


Start: Waterhead Ambleside

Finish: Windermere bus and rail station.  

Fact file: 

Distance 6 miles (10k)

Time: 2½ - 3½   hours

Grade: Moderate

Map OS OL7 The English Lakes: South eastern area


Map by kind permission of Johnston Press



1. From Waterhead join the A591 Windermere Road and walk along it in the direction of Windermere. After passing the Youth Hostel on the right cross to a footpath opposite.


This slants up to join the drive leading up to Stagshaw Gardens. Turn left. As you approach Stagshaw Gardens take a footpath to the left in the direction of Jenkin Crag.


This climbs steeply through Skelghyll Wood to reach a broad bridleway. Turn right. The track continues to climb and then after 250yds levels off. Divert here to visit Jenkin Crag on the right which offers a fine view of the lake and surrounding fells - one of the Lake Districts most celebrated viewpoints.


Resuming the walk continue on the bridleway which soon breaks clear of the woods


to cross pastureland and arrive at High Skelghyll Farm. Follow the track through the yard


and then join a tarmac drive leading downhill to cross a ghyll.


Immediately after the stream turn left through a pair of wooden gates onto a bridleway leading uphill alongside a wall. Keep on this track which levels off as it contours around a spur of Wansfell.


Stay left when the track divides which it does twice and continue onto Troutbeck an attractive village strung out above the road to Kirkstone.


As you reach the main street turn immediately off it onto a lane which leads steeply downhill to arrive on the aforementioned Kirkstone Road (A592) 

2. Turn right.


Walk along the road for a little under200yds and turn left onto a bridleway leading uphill.


After passing between properties the track swings sharply left. Continuing to climb look for a footpath through a wooden gate on the right.


Follow this across fields to reach a farm.


As you begin to edge round it turn sharp left onto a path leading up to a small gate. Through this turn right onto a broad track.


Keep ahead for half a mile until you reach a lane. Turn right. In a little less than 100yds turn left onto a footpath through a metal gate.


After 500yds this comes to Far Orrest Farm. Here turn right onto a path taking you through a muddy field


in the direction of Crosses Farm.


Another signpost keeps you on track as the way passes between buildings and out into fields. Follow a grassy track as it passes through three wooden gates to finally arrive at a metal one. This leads onto a drive close to Crosses Farm. 

3. Turn left pass interesting dwellings on the left and then turn right onto a footpath entering woodland. After a wooden footbridge the path reaches open fields. Turn left in the direction of Orrest Head


and keep on the path as it climbs 500yds to one of the Lake District's most celebrated viewpoints - yes even more celebrated that Jenkin Crag.


From the summit a clear path leads south-westwards dropping through trees to a gate. Through this follow a path overlooking meadows and then after entering woods turn left to descend to a drive. When you reach it follow it left for Windermere village. The bus and rail station are opposite the Windermere Hotel to the left.  

POI Orrest Head is where Alfred Wainwright first beheld the Lake District. For him it was almost a mystical experience. "I gazed in disbelief at the loveliness around me. I had never thought there could be beauty like this, never imagined such enchantment, never known there could be so much colour and charm in a landscape." His experience on that walking holiday in 1930 made him determined to live and work in the area. Eleven years later the opportunity presented itself when he took a job in the Borough Treasurer's office. From this point onwards he spent just about every moment of his free time to explore the fells and this intimate knowledge became the bedrock of his monumental "Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells" which details routes up 214 fells in seven volumes. 

Printer friendly version