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Orrest Head walk from Windermere

Video run time: 20 minutes 20 seconds


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A short circular from Windermere to Orrest Head, which was Wainwright's introduction to the Lake District. On a clear day, the ratio of views to effort put in probably cannot be beaten. The walk starts on the A591 by the large 'Orrest Head' sign and follows a lane most of the way on its 20 minute journey to the summit. From the summit, you could just return back down to the start, but the walk as described heads north to join a lane briefly near Causeway Farm. It then heads to enter a delightful woodland section through St Catherine's Wood and then via High Hay Wood back to the start. Wainwright said of Orrest "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, deservedly, for here the promised land is seen in all its glory. It is a fitting finale, too, to a life made happy be fellwandering. Dare we hope there will be another Orrest Head over the threshold of the next heaven?"

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What to wear and take on your walk:

If you are new to walking and want to know what to wear and take on your walk, or just want to know what to consider when buying your walking clothes and equipment then these articles are for you. We'll also take you through our favourite walking boots, walking jackets, walking trousers, rucksacks, backpacks, water bottles, mapping and safety equipment etc. of 2024. Read our articles:

What to wear on a walk and What to take on a walk


Parking: Small amount of roadside parking in laybys near to the start (grid reference SD 412 987). The added bonus - time limit in laybys applies. There is a lot of parking nearby in Windermere, then just walk back up the road to the start of the walk at the junction of the A591 and A5074, just opposite the entrance to the station.
Directions: Google Maps: get directions here / What3words: smelter.drape.hoops
Walk distance: 2.7 miles (4.3 Km)
Estimated walk time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Height climbed: 210 metres
Grade: 1-B: A short walk that requires modest uphill walking
Peaks / summits: Orrest Head
Wainwrights: Outlying Fell - Orrest Head: 781ft / 238m
Map: Ordnance Survey - Explorer OL7 (The English Lakes - South-eastern Area)
Buy this map from Ordnance Survey
Walk features: Birds, Flowers, Geographic feature, Stream or River, Views, Waterfall, Wildlife, Woodland
Facilities / refreshments: Toilets and numerous Pubs and Cafes nearby in Windermere
Nearest town: Windermere
Local self-catering accommodation: View self-catering accommodation close to the start of this walk from Sykes Holiday Cottages or from
Local hotels, inns and B&Bs: View hotels and inns close to the start of this walk from The Inn Collection Group
Walk Tags: Video walk, Lake District, Cumbria, Orrest Head, Windermere, Wainwright, Windermere railway station, A591, A5074, Causeway Farm, St Catherine's Wood, High Hay Wood, Ellery Bank
Video run time: 20 minutes 20 seconds


Hill profile:

Hill profile

Video preview:

Downloads are available in different resolutions for your PC, SmartPhone and other mobile devices and are provided in mp4 format for maximum compapability with a wmv version also available. You also receive a PDF document with the walk details and an Ordnance Survey map extract that you can print out or view on your mobile device. Watch the video on your PC or burn to a CD or DVD to watch on your TV to see in detail the walk before you set off.

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Once saved to you device, you can then play them an unlimited number of times whenever you want!


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