A project to make a Lake District fell more accessible has begun.
Work has started on Orrest Head, Windermere, which was Alfred Wainwright’s first fell.
The work is being paid for by a £51,000 grant from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and donations from local businesses and organisations.
The path just below the summit has steep steps and is rocky near the top and waterlogging on the summit itself is causing more problems, the Lake District National Park Authority said.
People use an unofficial alternative route to avoid the steps, but the authority said it was becoming badly eroded and the landscape was getting damaged.
Marian Jones, Lake District National Park area ranger says: “Wainwright described Orrest Head as ‘our first ascent in Lakeland’ and ‘a fitting finale, too, to a life made happy by fellwandering’.
“We are helping to make that statement a reality by working with Windermere and Bowness Town Council to create a Miles without Stiles path, suitable for all ages and abilities, to this special viewpoint.
“We are restoring sections of the Victorian carriage drive and creating a new easy-gradient path to the summit which can be used by people with limited mobility, including people with powered-wheelchairs and families with pushchairs.
“Some additional path improvements and enhanced signposting in Elleray Wood is also part of the project.
“New signs to give information about the view, local history and natural environment will make it easier for people to explore this lovely woodland.”
Renowned local artist blacksmith, Chris Brammall of CB Arts Ltd is creating new bespoke seating for the summit and along the route.
Windermere and Bowness mayor Adrian Legge said: “We are delighted that the Lake District National Park Authority’s funding bid has been successful.
“The restoration of the Victorian carriage drive and its extension to the summit of Orrest Head will mean that the breathtaking viewpoint will be accessible for parents and grandparents with pushchairs, for those in wheelchairs and for everyone who, until completion of this marvellous project, was unable to manage the last steep part of the ascent.”
The total project cost is being met with additional funding from Lake District National Park Authority, Windermere and Bowness Town Council, The Wainwright Society, Transpennine Express – Community Grant, CLA Charitable Trust, Cumbria County Council, South Lakeland District Council, The Ramblers’ Association, E H Booth & Co Ltd, Alpkit, Windermere Taverners Cricket Club and other individual donations.
The Lake District Foundation has also assisted with raising funds.
Work has started on site this week and will be complete by August.