Windermere Train Station, Windermere, LA23 1AHRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Common Wood overlooks busy Windermere yet is a tranquil place where a variety of wildlife can be spotted by a casual stroll through the moss-covered oak trees.
A view over the lake will be your reward as you descend to the town for a well-earned tea and cake.
- Bus stop
Start: Windermere railway station, grid ref: SD414986
Walk out of the car park at Windermere railway station. On your left you will see the Tourist Information Centre. To your right (and on the opposite side of the road) is the Windermere Hotel. You need to cross over to that side of the road.
Immediately to the right of the Windermere Hotel is a walled field. Walk along to the end of this field, where you will see a large gate and a permitted footpath sign labelled Common Wood and Orrest Head. Pass through this gate (taking care to close it afterwards) and walk up the dirt and stone path.
Keep the dry stone wall to your left, and pass through another gate. After a short but steep climb you will be able to see Common Wood ahead of you.
The entrance to the wood is marked by a gate with a green circular permitted path sign on it. Pass through this and through an 'archway' made from holly trees.
Continue straight along this path, until you get to a stone wall and another 'Permitted Footpath' sign. At this point turn right, towards Common Lane.
Shortly after this you will have to descend through a gap in another stone wall. Further down the hill you will start to see piles of branches to the sides of the path. This isn't us being lazy - these are for creating wildlife habitats.
Littered across the eastern side of the wood, these unassuming piles of brash are an ideal home for bugs and creepy-crawlies of all sizes. Leaving these, and larger logs, to break down in the woods increases the breadth and diversity of wildlife here.
Cross over two wooden bridges as you follow the path around. The path will lead you to a farm gate / kissing gate. The long wooden fence that you can see to the left of the field is part of a conservation project to protect native crayfish living in the beck. The beck was fenced off and water pumps installed, so that cattle would not trample in the beck whilst drinking water. Don't go through the gate... our route takes us back 21 yards (20m) and up the hill to the right of the farm gate. Look closely - the path is not very obvious at first glance.
Stand on the wooden footbridge over the beck and gaze at the gentle ripples as it passes over rounded rocks. If you're super lucky, a native crayfish might scuttle between the rocks beneath you, looking for shelter.
Continue up the hill keeping to the left when the path forks. Eventually you will come out on the path where you entered the wood. Turn left to exit.
As you stroll uphill from the beck towards the oaks, you will come across an opening in the tree canopy where hazel has been flourishing in the sunny woodland edge. Here volunteers have been helping to sustain these by cutting them down to let them re-grow again, this is called coppicing.
As you walk back towards Windermere, you will be rewarded with a view that overlooks most of the lake and the village itself. To your right you will see the hills of the Ambleside Horseshoe and Wansfell. Save those for another day and head down to Windermere for a well-earned cup of tea and some home-made cake at one of the many cafés.
No photo could do justice to the panoramic view that awaits you here. Consider this a taster of things to come.
End: Windermere railway station, grid ref: SD414986
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Easy
- Distance: 1.37 miles (2.2 km)
- Time: 1 hour
- OS Map: Explorer Map OL7 The English Lakes South-eastern area
This is a short walk but involves an uphill climb from the railway station. The reward of course is an excellent view over the lake on your return at the end of the walk. The ground may be uneven in places so watch out for moss-covered tree roots hidden within the long grass. Footpaths cab be muddy when wet.
- How to get here:
By foot: Windermere rail station is at the top end of Windermere village. It is a reasonable walking distance from Bowness or Troutbeck Bridge
By bike: See 'How to get here by car'
By bus: Several buses go from the east, west and south to Windermere rail station, most notably the 555 (Kendal to Keswick via Staveley, Ambleside and Grasmere) and 618 (Newby Bridge and Ulverston). See transportdirect for more details
By train: Windermere railway station is well serviced by trains from Oxenholme station which is on the West Coast Mainline
By car: Windermere railway station is just off the A591 which goes from Keswick and Ambleside in the west through to Kendal and the M6 in the east. If you are approaching from the south, take the A590 to Newby Bridge and then take the A592 at the roundabout
By boat/ferry: Windermere Lake Cruises operate services that stop at Bowness. You can then walk one and a half miles up Lake Road or catch a bus from where the boat dropped you off.
If you arrived by the ferry from the west shore of the lake, you simply drive, cycle or walk up Lake Road to Windermere. If you wish to get the bus, walk through Cockshott Point and along Glebe Road until you get to the bus stop opposite Windermere Lake Cruises.
- Telephone: 01539 446027
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ambleside-and-windermere/