Central and South East Distinctive Area

About the area

The central and south east area is the most highly developed, populated and visited part of the National Park. It has a diverse landscape ranging from the Kent Estuary through well wooded lowlands to valleys, lakes and into the mountainous heart of the National Park, offering a variety of experiences. It contains the towns of Windermere, Bowness, Ambleside, Grasmere and Staveley and the villages of Elterwater / Chapel Stile, Troutbeck, Troutbeck Bridge, Crosthwaite, Witherslack and Lindale.

Windermere, lies at the heart of this area. There are hotels and attractions along the length of the lake, and the upland valleys house living communities and are popular, especially with outdoor enthusiasts. Langdale and Grasmere attract the majority of attention; Kentmere and Longsleddale are less developed and offer greater tranquillity. The southern part of the area includes the villages of Crosthwaite, Witherslack and Lindale. This part of the area is lower lying, with a generally quiet character.

Contact details for your local team

Your Area Rangers

Please get in touch with either David or Marian if you have any project ideas, queries or enquires about our work or community fund applications. We each cover different parishes in the area so please use the map below to see which of us to contact.

Marian Jones

Tel: 01539 792 698 ext 2734 | Mobile: 07990 523265

E-mail: marian.jones@lakedistrict.gov.uk

David Switzer

Tel: 01539 792711 | Mobile: 07788 991610

E-mail: david.switzer@lakedistrict.gov.uk

Map showing contact details for Central and South East area.

Key information 

Community fund information

A fund has been created for projects which are led by, or of benefit to, the resident communities of the Lake District National Park. There is a total of £12,500 available each financial year. Grants of up to £2,500 for each of the five Distinctive Areas within the National Park will be awarded on a competitive basis, so please talk to us as early as possible.

If you have a possible project, or for further information on the fund, its purposes and eligibility please follow this link:

Lake District Communities Fund

Updates and News

Take a look at what's going in and around the Central and South East Distinctive area.

Troutbeck Ford Bridge Replacements

December 2018


We are in the process of replacing the two bridges at Troutbeck Ford.  The work will re-establish a popular bridleway which has been closed since December 2015 when one bridge was washed away and the other badly damaged by Storm Desmond.  The path down from Troutbeck has been resurfaced and drainage improved and we will also reinstate the original ford, also damaged by the storm.

This work is part of the Government funded £3 million Routes to Resilience Programme and will improve accessibility and strengthen resilience to the impacts of flooding in the future.  Horse riders and cyclists will be able to use the new bridges when they open early in the new year.

Winder Intake Stone Stile

November 2018

We recently replaced the dilapidated ladder stile on access land above Clappergate.  This site, near Todd Crag, affords stunning views over Lake Windermere.  At the landowner's request we built a traditional stone step stile, which is much more durable than a wooden stile.


Greenhead Gill Bridge

December 2018

Locals and visitors to Grasmere will be able to walk the circular walk to Alcock Tarn from the village for the first time, without boulder-hopping across the Greenhead Gill since 2015.

The popular loop has been reconnected thanks to the rebuilding of Greenhead Gill Bridge, which was washed away during Storm Desmond in December 2015.  

The damage caused by the storm meant it was impractical to rebuild in that location so the new bridge is located 90m from the original site.

The construction project was challenging due to its location and all building materials had to be helicoptered in, including the 14m steel bridge beams.

Vivienne Rees who is the Chair of Grasmere Village Society, Councillor for Ambleside and Grasmere and Board Member of Lake District National Park Authority said: “It’s wonderful that the bridge has been reinstated and once again opens up this popular walking route for locals and visitors alike. I know many local families have been watching the progress keenly and are very grateful to all concerned in the planning and building of Greenhead Gill Bridge.”

Bruce Wilkinson, project ranger for the Central and South East area of the National Park said: “We’re proud that the bridge has been designed and built by Cumbrian based businesses and are grateful for the support and assistance of local land owners and residents in the project. We’re very pleased that the bridge has been rebuilt as we know how important it is to the local community and are thrilled it’s opened in time for Christmas.” This work was carried out as part of the Government funded £3 million Routes to Resilience Programme to repair the damage caused by Storm Desmond, improve accessibility and strengthen resilience to the impacts of flooding in the future.

Since January 2017, 91 bridges have been reinstated or repaired, 65 paths have been restored and 43 gates, stiles and signs fixed in the National Park.

Elleray Wood and Orrest Head Access Improvement Project

February 2017

We have recently completed the first phase of a project to improve access to Orrest Head, one of the Lake District’s most iconic viewpoints.  This spot was much loved by the famous writer Alfred Wainwright, as it gave him his first-ever view over the Lake District mountains.

Work was carried out on an old carriageway that winds its way up through Elleray Wood and was originally used by horse and cart to take Victorian tourists to near the summit. This carriageway was completely buried by soil and leaf litter so we have cleared it off and have now re-surfaced around 700 metres of the route, and designated it as a footpath. The route has a low gradient – horse and carriages don’t like steep hills - so re-instating it will enable less-able walkers to access Orrest Head by missing out the existing steep and rocky footpath.

The work has been carried out in partnership with Windermere Town Council, South Lakeland District Council, and thanks to the kindness of an agricultural tenant who gave up a piece of his land  for the route. Ultimately, we hope to be able to continue the route all the way to the summit which would provide a rare opportunity for less-able users to get to the top of a Lakeland fell. We will continue to work to secure the necessary landowner agreement and funding.  

If you wish to donate to help us complete this route you can do so via this link: Donate to Orrest Head and Elleray Wood access improvements project (opens in a new window)

See previous updates