Alfred Wainwright and the Lake District

Alfred Wainwright was born in 1907 in Lancashire where he was later educated. The most eventful part of his life began in 1930 when he first toured the Lake District. He completely fell in love with the area and made it a lifelong project to explore the Lakes more intricately.

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For those who want to experience nature at its best, the Lake District is a stunning part of England.

To enjoy the Lakes at their best, why not go fell walking? This brings you close to nature and emerges you in the fauna and flora that is found in the Lake District National Park. You can find many guides that will help you explore the lakes, but the most notable ones were written by Alfred Wainwright.

In 1941 Wainwright took the role of the treasurer in Westmorland so that he could be close to the fells. He worked in that position until 1962 when he retired. He started working on his first book that would become the most elaborate guide to the fells in 1952.

Guidebooks by Alfred Wainwright

His books included pictures of the Lake District as well as descriptions of different areas within the park. Alfred Wainwright’s books continue to be read by millions of people.

His works are called the pictorial guides to the Lakeland Fells. He originally wrote the guide for himself but after a few people saw it and loved it; he decided to publish it. His friend Henry Marshall, chief librarian at Kendal, was the energy behind this book and he helped Wainwright with the publicity.

Alfred Wainwright has written 20 guidebooks, nine books with illustrations and a host of autobiographies and stories. His most notable story is the fell wanderer which was released in 1966. He is also accredited with creating a map of Westmorland which is still used by walkers and hikers who want to visit the Lake District Park.

Following completion of the guides, Wainwright worked on a guidebook about the Pennine Way and then in 1973 devised and wrote about a long distance walk he had created from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay, entitled A Coast to Coast Walk. This trail has subsequently become one of the most walked routes in the United Kingdom, if not in the world.

Between 1965 and 1990 Wainwright created a further 50 books, either guidebooks or sketchbooks of areas mainly in northern England and Scotland.

The Legacy Lives On

Alfred Wainwright died in 1991 at Kendal Green Hospital, near his home, but his works continue to inspire and assist other fell walkers to explore the Lake District.

The walks he features in his guides have become known as ‘The Wainwrights’. His guides have sold over 2 million copies over the decades.

A memorial to Alfred Wainwright can be found in the church at Buttermere and his ashes were scattered above the village of his favourite mountain, Haystacks.

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