“AW never really found his creative voice until he visited the Lake District for the first time. Why was he so affected by his first view of Lakeland from Orrest Head? Simply put, it was a reaction to the grimness of mill town Blackburn.”

Wainwright’s Way is a long distance walk across Lancashire and Cumbria, exploring Alfred Wainwright’s life on foot from Blackburn to Buttermere. It was devised by Nick Burton in 2011-12 and published as a guidebook by the Wainwright publisher, Frances Lincoln, in February 2013.

Wainwright's Way Cover

The 126 mile route (split into ten manageable day sections) is intended as a Wainwright pilgrimage – linking the places AW lived in and was associated with – starting at the bus station where he first got a bus to the Lake District in 1930, passing the terraced house where he was born, heading north to Kendal where he lived for fifty years and ending up on Haystacks in the Western Fells, by the side of Innominate Tarn, where his ashes are scattered.

The walk route visits places AW sketched – from the Ribble Valley, Bowland and the Lune Valley in Lancashire, to the Westmorland parishes illustrated in his great work Westmorland Heritage to his more well known Lakeland sketches of the Far Eastern, Eastern, Central and Western Fells. The guidebook includes some of Wainwright’s Lancashire sketches and includes town walks around Wainwright’s Blackburn and Wainwright’s Kendal.


The book is a must for Wainwright fans and anyone interested in geography, social history and the changing northern countryside of the 20th century.

“The memorial to AW in Buttermere’s little church on the rock against the backdrop of the placid lake and the towering Western Fells is also a fitting tribute and forms the perfect end to this journey.”

Further information on the Wainwright’s Way guidebook and long distance route can be found on the WW Facebook page

The book is available to buy on: