The West Windermere Way is a mainly off-road route along the western shore of Windermere between Newby Bridge and the Ferry line, linking to the existing Windermere West Shore Way between Ferry House and Wray Castle.
The new route will follow the lakeshore in some areas, but will also head away from the lake to key visitor attractions. Some of the route already exists as public footpaths. This project will include building new sections as well as upgrading some existing paths.
The first section of the West Windermere Way between Newby Bridge and Lakeside is now open and can be used by walkers, horse riders or cyclists. This section of the route provides a safe off-road link between Newby Bridge and Lakeside, as it goes along a section of fenced off railway, through parkland and offers views of Windermere.
We're leading the project, working closely with landowners, stakeholders and local parish councils. The work is being funded from the European Structural and Investment Funds and the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership.
We will be building the path using locally sourced stone to create a hard crushed stone surface, to make it as accessible as possible. It will be between 2 and 3 m wide with grass verges on each side where possible. It will have fencing on one or both sides as needed.
We are planning to build a new bridge over the railway, a raised boardwalk over areas that get very wet, and new embankments. We'll be putting in waymarkers and information signs to help people follow the route and learn about the local areas they are passing.
We plan to make the whole route a public right of way, with a few sections having permitted agreements.
An interpretation brief has been written for potential Design Consultants. The route will be promoted on the ground with fingerposts, and a specific waymarker. The interpretation brief has been written to design a specific waymarker that will be used to promote the route, in addition to onsite interpretation panels that will be installed at five locations along the route.
The deadline for this work will be the end of June 2023 to link with the whole route being open and useable for the summer.
We're working on the route in sections. Each section needs to be looked at carefully to see if we need to make any changes to the planned route to help look after wildlife, like roosting bats, or to be considerate to neighbouring houses. We do this by putting each section through a planning application, so the route may change a little in some places from our original plans.
This section is now open. The contractors commenced work in July 2022, installing two sections of raised boardwalk, a new bridge over the railway, carrying out surfacing works and installing a small section of fencing at the northern end of the route.
We have worked with Cumbria Bridleways Society and British Horse Society to ensure this section of the route is suitable for horses, including checking the new bridge over the railway and the raised boardwalk by the Swan. Please note the spur that leads to Lakeside over the section of boardwalk is not accessible to horses, and horse-riders need to follow the path and join the road to get to Lakeside.
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.
This project is also part of the Optimising Connectivity programme, a partnership approach to improving sustainable transport links and economic growth in the local area.
This project is partly funded by: