Climatic changes could alter the frequency and magnitude of rainfall events and the distribution of rainfall with altitude, with important consequences for management of aquatic ecosystems, water resources and flood risk. This study investigates changes in observed rainfall amounts across a range of altitudes in the Lake District region, northwest England, and spatial and temporal changes to the orographic “rainshadow” effect. Between the 1970s and 1990s there have been marked changes to the seasonality of precipitation, such that winters have become wetter, and increasingly dominated by heavy precipitation events. The intensity of these events has increased most markedly at higherelevation sites. Such changes could hinder recovery of sensitive upland sites from acidification and increase the risk of downstream flooding. An inter-decadal weakening of the region's rainshadow suggests a greater proportion of winter precipitation crosses the high-elevation Lake District dome. This is linked to changes in the frequency and character of wet weather patterns.