Skip to content
Mother and child walk in Common Wood, Ambleside
Ambleside Common Wood walk | © National Trust
Lake District

Ambleside Common Wood walk

This short walk takes you through Common Wood, a tranquil place overlooking Windermere where a variety of wildlife can be spotted. A view over the lake will be your reward as you descend to the town for a well-earned tea and cake.

Total steps: 9

Total steps: 9

Start point

Windermere railway station, grid ref: SD414986

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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 and walk up the dirt and stone path.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.

Step 5

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.

Step 6

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. These piles of branches are for creating wildlife habitats.

Step 7

Cross over two wooden bridges as you follow the path around. The path will lead you to a kissing gate. Don't go through the gate; instead, follow this trail route back 21 yards (20m) and up the hill to the right of the farm gate. Look closely, as the path is not very obvious at first glance.

Step 8

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.

Step 9

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 homemade cake at one of the many cafés.

End point

Windermere railway station, grid ref: SD414986

Trail map

Map showing route and steps of Ambleside Common Wood trail
Ambleside Common Wood trail | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

You made it

Share your experience

More near here

View from the ground up to the towering canopy of several tall fir trees, some with square labels on their trunks

Ambleside Champion Tree Trail 

Wander among some of England's tallest trees on this easy waymarked trail through Skelghyll Woods. With benches along the way, it's the perfect route for a picnic.

DistanceMiles: 0.8 (km: 1.28)
The view of Wray Castle across lake Windermere

Post Knott, Windermere views walk 

Enjoy a relaxing walk that meanders through the central fells of the Lake District and offers impressive views of Windermere, along with a choice of picnic sites and resting places

DistanceMiles: 1.5 (km: 2.4)

Get in touch

Our partners

Cotswold Outdoor

We’ve partnered with Cotswold Outdoor to help everyone make the most of their time outdoors in the places we care for.

Visit website 

You might also be interested in

A hiker wearing an insulated jacket and a backpack watches the sunset over snowy mountain peaks


Explore some of the finest landscapes in our care on coastal paths, accessible trails, woodland walks and everything in between. Find the best places to walk near you.

Four people in winter clothing walk along a snow covered path through the village of Watendlath in the Lake District

Walking in the Lake District 

From gentle ambles to more challenging hikes, these are some of the best walks to explore the heart of the Lake District.

An aerial view of an adult and baby walking a dog along a path at Baggy Point, Devon

Staying safe at National Trust places 

The special places in National Trust care sometimes come with a few risks for visitors, be it coastline or countryside. Find out how to keep safe throughout your visits.

Close up of a walker's boots with a group of walkers in the background as they climb up Pen yr Ole Wen, Carneddau and Glyderau, Gwynedd, Wales

Cotswold Outdoor: our exclusive walking partner 

Find out more about the National Trust’s ongoing partnership with Cotswold Outdoor as our exclusive walking partner.