5.6km West Windermere Way officially opens

Windermere Way
A young woman looks at one of the interpretation panels on the route. Photo: Lake District National Park

The Rt Hon Trudy Harrison MP has officially opened the new £1.5 million West Windermere Way route.

The West Windermere Way is a 5.6km multi-user trail connecting Newby Bridge and the Ferry line along the western shore of Lake Windermere in the Lake District. The new trail follows the lakeshore in some areas, and heads away from the lake to link key visitor attractions on the western shore of Windermere.

The new trail features newly-installed educational interpretation panels and access to heritage sites such as Stott Park Bobbin Mill.

The route is suitable for walkers, horse riders and cyclists and can be completed in its entirety or split up into three distinct sections.

Part of the route is designated as the 51st Miles without Stiles route in the Lake District. This means it is suitable for people with mobility issues and families with prams or little legs.

The West Windermere Way connects various sustainable travel options like boat via Windermere Lake Cruises, rail via Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway and bus routes at Newby Bridge.

Harrison, who is the MP for Copeland and is now Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs officially opened the route.

She said: “We are enabling more people to connect with nature – as outlined in the Government’s Environmental Improvement Plan and also to be more active.  The West Windermere Way achieves both, whilst helping local people to access other forms of transport and enabling visitors to experience the wonders of this beautiful place I also call home.

Lake District National Park Authority chief executive, Richard Leafe, the Rt Hon Trudy Harrison MP, and local resident Alan Towart at the official opening of the West Windermere Way route. Photo: Lake District National Park

“The Lake District has a dynamic and historic landscape, this path will support sustainable tourism, providing an economic boost to many businesses too. I’m grateful to all those who made this new route possible and encourage everyone to visit the West Windermere Way.”

Richard Leafe, chief executive of the Lake District National Park Authority, added: “We are pleased to be able to officially open the new West Windermere Way today as we know what a huge asset it will be to locals, visitors, and businesses.

“We look forward to seeing people enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits of the West Windermere Way and seeing the trail’s impact on making car free travel part of the visitor experience in this area of the Lake District.”

Alan Towart, a local resident, said: “As a local wheelchair user this new path has given me great opportunities to leave the house and explore the nature around the Lakeside area. It also allows me to safely link with the bus route at Newby Bridge.”

The Lake District National Park Authority worked with landowners, stakeholders, and local parish councils. The work was funded from the European Structural and Investment Funds and the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership. The West Windermere Way is part of Low-carbon Lake District, a partnership approach to reduce carbon in the National Park and mitigate against the effects of climate change on the landscape. The project also benefitted from Defra Access for All funding.