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Windermere Gateway

Five people in coats and scarves walking beside placid lake with bare trees dotted around
Visitors walking along Lake Windermere's western shore | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

The Windermere Gateway programme is a unique opportunity for the National Trust to make a difference in Windermere and support the Lake District National Park Local Plan ambitions.

Windermere Gateway is very much a partnership involving different landowners and stakeholders including Lake District National Park Authority, Westmorland and Furness Council, Urban Splash, Lakeland, Booths and the National Trust.

Together, we are confident that developing land at Orrest Head next to Windermere station in a sensitive way, will provide housing for local people, bring National Trust job opportunities into Windermere, and provide a world-class entry point and transport hub to the Lakes.

Orrest Head, Windermere is allocated within the Lake District National Park Local Plan for mixed use including housing, employment and tourism uses. The development of the site to provide much-needed homes and employment is key to delivering the local plan and the 2030 vision for the English Lake District.

The partners are in the early stages of establishing what sort of development is viable on the site. The proposals will be progressive, yet sensitive to its world class landscape and natural beauty. Considering transport infrastructure and access improvements around the Gateway area is a key step towards progressing plans, and we are working through each step of the process as proposals are developed and shared with the community.

Read more about the Windermere Gateway programme.

A concept illustration of how the office and surrounding area may look. Shows a pathway with 'people' walking and cycling and a building in the background, surrounded by foliage.
A concept illustration of how the new National Trust office could look, subject to final design. | © National Trust

Why is the National Trust involved in these plans?

Together with our tenant farmers, the National Trust looks after 20% of the Lake District National Park, working to restore habitats for nature and to conserve the cultural heritage of buildings in our care.

The land at Orrest Head was part of a gift left to the National Trust by sisters Annie and Winifred Frank in 1987. Accepting the gift at the time, the Trust’s executive committee reviewed the significance and suitability of the land, with the majority being declared inalienable and approximately 121 acres to the south of the A591 declared alienable. The alienable status of the land, which includes Orrest Head Farm, means that any future sale proceeds will be reinvested by the National Trust to continue its ongoing conservation work in the Lakes.

A new National Trust office in the Lakes

As part of the plans, the National Trust will move from its current Grasmere office to a new, purpose-built office at the Orrest Head site. This new office will create a sustainable working space that is fit for the future and meets the changing needs of the charity’s staff and partners.

The opportunity for a new office will provide a central point for our staff to deliver our work, creating collaborative working space next to transport links for sustainable travel and supporting accessible working for our teams.

What does ‘employment’ on the Local Plan refer to for Windermere Gateway?

For planning purposes, the terms ‘housing’ and ‘employment’ have been used to zone areas of the site for the development. No other office space will be created on the site. There will be no retail outlets on the site. Where plans refer to ‘employment’ this simply means the area at Orrest Head that will be used to create the new office for the National Trust in the Lake District.

Adjacent to the new-build office, there is a listed farmhouse and listed stone-barn that is currently being assessed for repair. The purpose for both will be reviewed as part of the plans alongside the new-build office for Trust staff.