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Explore from Waterhead


Do you like exploring? If so, a short walk from Waterhead will bring you to Skelghyll Woods and Jenkins Field where you can explore ancient woodlands, walk amongst some of the tallest trees in Cumbria, visit a fantastic early summer garden, take in the views from Jenkins Crag, or paddle in Windermere.

Stagshaw Garden
Pause for a rest with a view of Windermere at Stagshaw Gardens National Trust / Jenny Sutton


Map route for Explore from Waterhead walk
© Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey


Waterhead pier, grid ref: SY376031


Head off from Waterhead along the main A591 road in the direction of Windermere for about 200yd (180m) until you reach Waterhead Marine (looks like a garage) and take care crossing the road.

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Walk up this wooded lane for 300yd (270m) until you reach a tarmac lane and turn left up the hill towards a small car parking area at Stagshaw Gardens. During spring this is a great time to take a short detour around the gardens before heading on with the rest of the trail.

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Walk through a wooden gate and follow the steep track up through the wood which borders the fence of Stagshaw Gardens until you reach a triangle of very large Douglas fir trees. This is a good place for a breather.


Take the right-hand track up by the river until you reach the bridge over Stencher beck. Take either of the two paths that lead uphill and continue until it flattens out and you reach a sign identifying Jenkins Crag. This is all the hard climbing work completed and you can now stop and take in the views.

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Retrace your steps back down to the conifers at the triangle and take a level track on the left through the woodland. Stop and admire the large conifers below the path.


Carry on along this path and pass by some broken down walls where you leave the conifers behind and move into an area of oak woodland. Follow this path downhill and watch out for a couple of slippery outcrops. This is one of the best places for bluebells.

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At the foot of this footpath, turn right and walk back alongside a high drystone wall back to the car park at Stagshaw Gardens. Look out for the large conifers on the top side of the path, it is well worth a short detour to stand underneath them.

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Follow the road back down the hill and turn right to go down the wooded lane.


Recross the road to Waterhead Marine and look for a stile in the low wall to the left which marks the entrance onto Jenkins Field.


There is about 500yd (450m) of lakeshore access with the best beach at the far end.


Retrace your steps back to Waterhead Marine and follow the road back to Waterhead.


Waterhead pier, grid ref: SY376031

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Explore from Waterhead


This walk comes with lots of options and therefore the distance can vary between 1 and 3 miles (1.6 - 4.8km). The initial stretch of the route is on a narrow footpath near a busy road which has to be crossed. After that it is on quiet paths. The walk up to Jenkins Crag is steep and bumpy in places and the path can be slippery.

Dogs are welcome; due to animals grazing please keep your dog on a lead and take any mess home with you.

Explore from Waterhead

Contact us

Explore from Waterhead

How to get here

Waterhead pier, Cumbria, LA22 0EU
By train

Trains terminate at Windermere station and Waterhead is 4 miles (6.4km) further along the main A591 to Ambleside.

By road

Waterhead is on the main A591 road which crosses the Lake District and there are two car parks.

By ferry

The Windermere Steamers ferry from Bowness berths at Waterhead and is a really good way to visit this site.

By bus

Regular bus services from Windermere, Kendal, Keswick and Grasmere.

By bicycle

Sustrans have a proposed route from Windermere along the A591 to Ambleside and there are a few cycle lanes although much is still on the busy road itself.

Explore from Waterhead

Facilities and access

  • Dogs are welcome on a lead
  • Pubs in the nearby villages of Ambleside, Bowness and Windermere
  • Various refreshment outlets and cafés in Ambleside, Bowness and Windermere