Orrest Head Circular Walk

Difficulty
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Moderate
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
1-1.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
4.5 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
160 m
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Directions to Trailhead
Orrest Head Circular Walk

The Orrest Head Circular Walk is a fairly quick adventure in the Lake District that will take you uphill through the forest to the lookout point atop Orrest Head. While out on the trail, you will experience a relaxing woodland atmosphere before arriving at the summit for breathtaking views overlooking Windermere and the surrounding forests. This walk is made up of well-maintained and easy to navigate paths that are suitable for walkers or all ages.

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Route Description for Orrest Head Circular Walk

The Orrest Head Circular is a pretty easy trail that features a small amount of elevation gain on the climb uphill to the lookout. While the gradual climb should be manageable for most walkers, there are areas that might prove difficult for those that are less mobile. Remember to arrive early to secure parking at the trailhead, as the town of Windermere can become fairly busy during peak hours.

Although a good stretch of this walk passes through the heavy cover of the forest, there are still plenty of wonderfully scenic views to be experienced. The trail gradually climbs uphill through the forest to arrive at the lookout point, where you will have some amazing views overlooking the vast stretches of lush green forest and the blue waters of Windermere below. From there, the trail descends the hillside and passes through several charming woodland areas on the return leg of the walk. The shady tree cover and picturesque scenery along this walk make it the perfect activity for a hot summer day.

Setting out from the roadside parking area, make your way west along the road and turn right just after the Windermere Hotel. From here, you will make your way along the lane for 0.4 mi, as it climbs uphill through the serene landscape of Elleray Wood.

After passing by Steve Hicks Blacksmith on your right, you will soon come to a series of junctions in the trail. Go right at the first and an immediate left on the second to continue through the charming wood in a northwestern direction. Head right at the next junction to keep climbing uphill for 0.2 mi to exit the tree cover on the approach to the summit of Orrest Head.
After passing through a kissing gate and arriving at the vantage point, you will have a stunning view overlooking the woodlands and the town directly below, as well as the blue waters of Windermere stretching out before you. You will also be able to spot a number of other fells in the area, including Old Man of Coniston, Scafell Pike, Great Gable, Fairfield, and Langdale Pikes.

After taking in the sights, continue north along the path to descend the hillside for 0.4 mi, eventually arriving at a small crossing over Wynlass Beck. Make your way to the opposite side and cross over the stile, before turning left to follow along the road to the west. Keep on for 0.3 mi, as you enjoy the picturesque countryside scenery before turning left to enter the cover of the forest and pass through a kissing gate.

Shortly after crossing back over Wynlass Beck, you will keep right at a junction to cut across Low hag Wood and eventually break out of the tree cover. After 0.2 mi, keep right onto the wide track and you will eventually come to a junction just before Patterdale Road. Head left here and make your way to the southeast for 0.7 mi to cut across the beautiful woodland terrain before arriving back at the Windermere Hotel. From here, retrace your steps east along the road to return to your vehicle, having completed the Orrest Head Circular.

Trail Highlights

Windermere

At over 11 miles long and nearly 1 mile wide, Windermere has the distinction of being the largest natural lake in England. This beautiful ribbon lake was formed by glacial activity that occurred in the area roughly 17,000 to 14,700 years ago. Currently, the area offers access to countless outdoor recreation activities and has served as one of the UK’s most popular holiday destinations since the mid-1800s.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to walk to the summit of Orrest Head?

The walk to the summit lookout atop Orrest head is roughly 20 minutes, offering great value for the minimal effort required.

Insider Hints for Orrest Head Circular Walk

  • Roadside parking in town can be limited, so make sure to arrive early.
  • The initial portion of the walk is fairly steep, but after the summit it is mostly a leisurely downhill stroll. Bring water for the way up!
  • Dogs are able to use the trail but remember to keep them on a lead, as there will likely be many walkers in the area.

Getting to the Orrest Head Circular Walk Trailhead

To reach the Orrest Head Circular Walk trailhead from Kendal, drive north on Stricklandgate/A5284 for 1.5 mi and make a slight right onto Windermere Road/A591. Follow this for 6.5 mi to arrive at the trailhead where you will find roadside parking.

Route Information

  • When to do

    Year-Round

  • Backcountry Campsites

    No

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Lollipop

Orrest Head Circular Walk Elevation Graph

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