The walk to Orrest Head is one of the most popular in the Lake District. It’s also one of the easiest to access.
We came by car and parked in the layby on the A591, just east of the Windermere Hotel (postcode LA23 1AL). Parking was free for two hours at the time of our visit (September 2016).
From here it was just a short walk to the starting point. It’s right across the road from Windermere Tourist Information Centre and Windermere Train Station and is prominently marked.
From the starting point, we followed the signs up the tarmac road. It winds its way through Elleray Wood, eventually becoming a stone path.
To reach the summit we passed through the gateway marked with the Heywood memorial stones. The one on the left-hand side of the gate reads:
This stone was placed here in the year 1902 by the inhabitants of Windermere in remembrance of the wide and beneficent liberality of the late Arthur Henry Heywood of Elleray and as a mark of gratitude to his widow and daughter, who as a memorial of him, dedicated Orrest Head to the use of the public for ever.
From here it was just a short walk to the summit. It was a sunny day so it was reasonably busy, with about 20 or so people relaxing and taking in the views. There are a few benches but most people were just sitting on the rocks.
From here we could have just walked straight back down to our starting point. Instead we decided to walk north, following the route taken by Alfred Wainwright. After descending from Orrest Head, we climbed over a stile and follow the stone wall, eventually coming to a minor road.
We turned left and headed west along a minor road towards the A592, passing Causeway Farm. Shortly after the farm we left the road and went through a gateway into Low Hag Wood.
A footbridge in the woods took us over Wynlass Beck and we were soon in open fields again. Our route then took us back into Elleray Wood and the starting point.
The complete walk took around two hours, including 30 minutes resting on Orrest Head. The walk was pretty easy though it does involve several stiles, rocky paths, and open fields. It would not be suitable for pushchairs.