Orrest Head Walk

The Orrest Head walk is easily one of the most accessible and popular for children in the Lake District. Here’s how to do it.

Where is Orrest Head?

Orrest Head is in Windermere, and you can find it just off the A591, which is the main road that runs through the top of Windermere. You’ll need to either park in one of the lay-bys along here, or park in Windermere and walk up.

The start of the walk is clearly signposted close to the traffic lights at the turn-off for Windermere and Bowness. The sign says 30 minutes to the top but that depends on how long your legs are! These days its 30 minutes, but when my children were smaller it could definitely take us longer than that.

Orrest Head Walk: The Details

  • Type of walk: This is an ‘out and back’ walk, that follows the same path up and down the hill.
  • Pram Friendly? Yes. Where there are steps on the original path, there is always a Miles without Stiles pram friendly alternative.
  • Length of Walk: 1 mile up and 1 mile back down
  • Terrain: The path is a well looked after track, with some optional stone stepped sections.
  • Anything else?: We found a coffee truck halfway up! The lovely lady told us she was there every weekend, so you may well be lucky enough to get your caffeine fix along with your view. We found her on the Miles without Stiles route, if we’d taken the steps up we would have missed her.

Orrest Head Walk: The Route

1. From the sign on the roadside, follow the drive up to the first signpost. Be aware there can be cars accessing homes here.

2. At the signpost, you can choose your path. There is a wheelchair/pushchair accessible route from the start heading off to the right. To the left is the original path, but even this path offers alternative routes for pushchairs to avoid the steps, it’s just a little steeper and more uneven in some places. On this walk we chose left.

3. On this route, you will come to a signpost directing you to the start of the incline up to the Orrest Head viewpoint.

4. Follow this sign, the paths are clear and well marked and start to head up the hill.

5. There are plenty of places for little legs to explore. Here we were trying to decide if we had found some original steps or a stream that had run dry!

6. Continue on the path. You will come to a clear sign, giving options for the original stepped route to the left, or the pushchair friendly Miles without Stiles route to the right. At this point you can see the steps so you can make a decision about which route to take if you’re considering your options.

7. We’ve tried both! We can tackle the steps these days….

although on our previous visits we have enjoyed the accessible route too.

8. On the Miles without Stiles route make sure you look out for the Gruffalo! This is very well placed near the coffee trailer so it makes a great spot for a pit stop.

9. The final climb to the Orrest Head summit has a stepped route and an accessible route. These are clearly marked so finding your way to the top is easy.

10. And then you’ve made it! You can enjoy the view as your well earned reward after the climb. From the top there are 360 degree views including the length of Lake Windermere. It can be breezy up here so be prepared for a temperature change!

11. An information slate tells you the names of all the fells in the distance, which is great for the older kids as they can see any they might have climbed…or that you might be planning to climb.

12. Finally, everyone deserves a well-earned snack on one of the benches, looking at just how high you’ve come. Then it’s back down exactly the way you came up!

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy 12 Things to do in Bowness on Windermere.

About the author

I'm Michelle, Lake District resident and founder of this site. You can mostly find me up a hill, on a lake, or enjoying a hot chocolate by the fire. Feel free to get in touch, I'd love to hear from you!

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