Bikes on West Windermere Way

Miles Without Stiles 51: West Windermere Way

This route (1.5km) is for West Windermere Way Newby Bridge to the YMCA and is suitable for some.

Route for some 1.5km distance

Miles Without Stiles

Route Description

This section of the West Windermere Way (1.5km of 6km) km starts at the Ferry and train terminal near the Lakes Aquarium, Lakeside. Head south through the car park to meet the path as it leaves the car park. Go through the gate that leads onto the path that goes alongside the railway, opposite the signal box. Keep reading below for further details.

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Start at the Ferry and train terminal near the Lakes Aquarium, Lakeside. Head south through the carpark, to meet the path as it leaves the car park. Go through the gate that leads onto the path that goes alongside the railway, opposite the signal box.

As you walk alongside the railway notice the new railings on the left. These were brand new in 2023 but had to be made to look rusty to match existing railway structures. Pass under the old railway bridge and follow the path as you walk along the edge of Lake Windermere. There’s a bench and information panel where you can enjoy views of the railway and the end of Lake Windermere / start of the River Leven just the other side of it.

Follow the path and proceed over the new boardwalk bridge. Turn left at a junction in the path as you’ve gone through the gate. The path up to the right links up to the road and other public footpaths on the other side but is not recommended for Miles without Stiles users. It is steep (1:6 for about 50 metres and there are no parking spaces on this narrow section of road).

Follow the path to the left up the slope, which is 1:6 for about 20 metres. You can often see buzzards circling over the woodlands around here.  At the top of the slope there are two more benches and the hill that can be seen while sitting on the benches is Gummers How.

After the two benches there is a slope going down with a gradient of 1:7 for 5 metres then down again, also 1:7 for 5m. Notice the beautiful big oak trees to your right with primroses underneath in the Spring.

There are a further two benches on the right. Have a seat to take in the view over the railway to the end of Lake Windermere through the trees and towards the hill, Gummers How, to the left of the path you’ve walked.

The brand-new railway bridge that was installed to cross the railway line can be seen ahead with the L&H letters on bridge which stand for Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway. As you approach the bridge there is a slope of 1:7 for 10m. Once you’ve crossed the railway bridge there is a 1:5 gradient for about 10m on the other side of the bridge.

Proceed over a new wide boardwalk next to the railway and then join the tarmac path the runs along the edge of the marina passing the boat moorings and a paddle board hire kiosk.

The path meets the Swan access road and carpark where you can either turn round and retrace your journey or get refreshments at the Swan or Newby Bridge Hotel.

We hope to promote further sections of the route that will be suitable for Miles without Stiles between Lakeside and the YMCA at Lakeside later in 2023.

  • West Windermere Way

  • West Windermere Interpretation - Wheelchair user reading interpretation board

  • Bikes on West Windermere Way

  • West Windermere Way

  • West Windermere Way

  • West Windermere Way

  • Cyclists and Wheelchair User enjoying the accessible route - West Windermere Way

  • West Windermere Way

  • West Windermere Way - view on bridge

  • West Windermere Way

  • West Windermere Way

  • Works building - bridge over railway

  • West Windermere Way - walker using the gate

Start Point Details

Start point:

Lakeside Ferry Terminal

Postcode: LA12 8AS

Grid reference: SD 378874

W3W: ///fussy.evidently.lunching

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Toilets at the end of the railway platform at Lakeside car park.

Cafés and hotels at Newby Bridge and Lakeside for refreshments.

Getting there:

  • Bus: Stagecoach 6 from Kendal or Windermere, 6C from Kendal to Barrow or X6 from Kendal to Ulverston, and the X60 Blueworks bus from Newby Bridge to Ulverston.
  • Train – Lakeside and Haverthwaite railway from Haverthwaite Station to Newby Bridge Halt or Lakeside Ferry Terminal.
  • Boat – Windermere Lake Cruises from Bowness on Windermere or Ambleside.
  • A590 from Kendal or Ulverston and take the road signposted to Lakeside and Hawkshead.
  • Travelling by bus, boat or bike is the best way to reach West Windermere Way - make the most of the £2 bus fare with an easy hop off point at Newby Bridge. If you are travelling by car please park at Lakeside car park or catch the ferry from Fell Foot.

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Take a tour of the mill and the working machinery while the family-friendly trail entertains younger visitors. Image credits © English Heritage.

Point of interest 1: Smoke from the stack

Between Newby Bridge and Lakeside, West Windermere Way follows the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway. This steam train service can give you extra travel options when using the West Windermere Way. At the Lakeside ferry terminal, onward connections are available from Windermere Lake Cruises, and Newby Bridge Halt station is a 5 minute walk from the Swan Hotel. See Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway for timetables and further details.

  • L & H Railway

  • L & H Railway

Passengers ride 1950s carriages through the beautiful Leven Valley countryside and along part of the western shore of Windermere. Image credits Sara Spicer and © Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway Company Limited.

Point of Interest 2: Night flight

If you are on the West Windermere Way at dusk, look out for small dark shapes darting among the trees. These are likely pipistrelle bats, feeding off midges and other small insects that gather around the trees. All 8 of the bat species in Cumbria live in the landscape around Windermere. The Lake District is an excellent place for bats. Water and trees mean plentiful insects everywhere, and so plenty of food. Just one pipistrelle bat can eat 3,000 bugs in a single night. As part of building the West Windermere Way, we installed 40 bat boxes on trees alongside the trail to support bat conservation.

Daubentons bat

You might be lucky to see a Daubenton’s bat, a specialist water predator. They eat aquatic invertebrates or insects caught on the water’s surface. They skim along the water like tiny hovercraft, picking off prey as they go. Image credit: Brett Lewis.

Noctule bats

We found a colony of noctule bats during surveys for the West Windermere Way. The largest bats in the country, noctules almost always roost in trees. They feed off large moths and beetles high up in the sky. You may seem them swooping above the lake like a swift, early in the evening. We avoided the roost so as not to disturb them, and we have also protected it since then. Image credit: (c) Hugh Clark @

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This project is partly funded by:

  • European Union European Structural and Investment Funds
  • CLEP Cumbrian Local Enterprise Partnership
  • HM Government Northern Powerhouse
  • DEFRA Access for All

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European Union European Structural and Investment Funds

HM Government Northern Powerhouse

Cumbrian Local Enterprise Partnership