Fell Foot Community News

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Wednesday 13 December- A massive thank you from us all

Join us at Fell Foot as we take part in a national campaign to thank players of the National Lottery for their support.

We were awarded £684k at the end of September to restore key elements of it as part of a wider six year masterplan to turn it into a flagship destination in the North.

Colonel GJM Ridehalgh and his sisters in rowing boat by boathouses

Parking will be free to anyone with a National Lottery ticket. The team will be running two free tours of the site to explain the untold hidden history with a heritage trail available at no charge for families.

Fell Foot House_2

Tour times: 11:30 and 13:30 – meet Kelley Sproston-Heath in the main car park.

Over 100 National Trust properties have received grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund (totaling £110m) since the Lottery was established. This makes the conservation charity one of the biggest single recipients of such funding


HLF Announcement

29 September 2017:Heritage Minister John Glen has announced £684k of National Lottery funding for Fell Foot on the edge of Windermere in the Lake District.

20170929 HLF announcement Fell Foot

The news means that we’re able to restore key elements of this much-loved country park, as part of a six year wider plan.

Fell Foot originally formed the majestic grounds of an early 19th Century Lake District villa landscape, framed by crags, ancient woods and water on the south-east shore of Lake Windermere. While the villa has long since gone, its boathouse complex (one of the largest surviving in the Lake District) and arboretum remain, and it’s these historic features, along with restoration of the parks landscape and improved visitor access, that National Lottery funding will benefit.

Fell Foot was owned by Colonel Ridehalgh in the 19th Century. He built the boathouses on the shores of the lake and used these for entertaining as well as the practicalities of boat ownership. The house which overlooked the grounds was demolished at the start of the 20th century but the park still has echoes of this once stunning villa and the boathouses remain as a nod to the past and a unique welcome for visitors.

Colonel Ridehalgh_1

The park was given to the National Trust in 1948, and highlights of its modern history include use as a caravan site, holiday cabin resort and, in more recent years, a place for visitors to picnic, play, relax and take in the stunning views.

The Fell Foot project will involve the conservation of five boathouses, making them flood resilient and suitable as multi-use community spaces. The Gasometer Cottage will be restored to provide office space and a reception area, the arboretum and park landscape restored (including new pathways and better drainage), while access to the waterfront will be improved and visitors will be able to enjoy new sheltered spaces and play facilities.

We’re pretty sure Colonel Ridehalgh would be proud.

July 2017 – Fell Foot Community News


Introducing our Amazing Volunteers…

 If you are at Fell Foot please do say hello to our volunteers – watch this lovely video which our Retail Supervisor, Jo Lord, produced to celebrate our volunteers at Fell Foot during  national Volunteer Week in June: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BY1ineH8Z2M&feature=youtu.be

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Fell Foot Project Update

 vols 3Work is progressing well on the first part of the project, which is the build of our new sports facilities – ‘Fell Foot Active Base’. The park is  open as usual over this summer season during the build. The new facilities, jointly funded by Sport England, will be opening spring 2018, And will include new changing rooms and showers for swimmers, sailors, canoers and rowers, also runners, walkers, cyclists and buggy fit – in fact any kind of outdoor sport activity; as well as club and community social space and meeting rooms for training courses, yoga and other activities. There will also be covered and outdoor storage, workshop space and upgrades to the jetties and slipway provision. Keep watching our website and social media for updates. “Visitors can use it as a base for self-led activity, experiencing ‘taster’ sessions for various activities; or they can take the plunge, and join as a seasonal/ annual passholder, if they wish to participate regularly. Pass prices are comparable to other similar facilities in the Lake District and will give access to state of the art amenities.” Steph Byast, Fell Foot Operations Manager.

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Fell Foot Summer of Sport

 Come along and get active in the great outdoors at Fell Foot. We’ve much to offer throughout the school holidays, including Archery sessions on Wednesdays & Thursdays, as well as the opportunity to hire out equipment if you fancy having a good game of tennis, badminton or volleyball. Look out for and sample a wide variety of activities in our weekly programme. From rowboat hire to Parkrun, so many options to make the most of our beautiful surroundings.

Anna Barlow, Sport Development Co-ordinator; Anna.Barlow1@nationaltrust.org.uk


Ranger Report

vol 6 Our lakeshore beech tree has stood at Fell Foot for about 250-300years. In this time it has seen the big house come and go and the park turn from a quiet country retreat into the busy park we see on summer days today.  It has lived with the bracket fungi, Ganoderma applanatum, for maybe 100 of those years.The fruiting bodies  can be seen clearly on the root plate of the beech, however it stretches much further inside the tree causing rot in the heartwood.  Over the past few years we have done an annual picus tomograph scan, which records the internal structure of the tree using sound waves.  Sound waves traveling through the wood are affected by the woods elasticity and density. Cavities, disease and rot will reduce this, showing up on the scan results, informing us of the health of the tree. It is with a heavy heart I have to tell you that over recent years we have seen the quick decline of the heartwood as the rot spreads. Over the coming months we are in serious discussions with regional consultants and tree surgeons to come to a decision about the future of our beloved beech tree in relation to the safety of our visitors. Jo Day, Area Ranger joanne.day@nationaltrust.org.uk


Don’t miss…

  • Bats and Bangers Walks on Friday nights throughout August. Ranger Jo will lead an evening Bat walk around Fell Foot. Finish the night off with a drink in the Boathouse Café and music
  • National Stone Skimming Championships at Fell Foot on Saturday 19th August.
  • Heritage Open Day – free tours to discover the fascinating stories of Fell Foot, or pick up a family heritage trail on Saturday 9th September.


Check out our events pages on the website for more info – https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/fell-foot

We look forward to seeing you over the summer.

Kelley Sproston-Heath, Volunteering & Community Involvement Officer kelley.sprostonheath@nationaltrust.org.uk

April 2017 – Fell Foot Community News

Introducing our Visitor Welcome team…

Peter, Membership and Visitor Welcome Manager

I love how Fell Foot feels like everyone’s back garden. There’s space to relax and play, with stunning scenery. The best part of my role is the variety, from helping staff the visitor welcome to pruning the bushes! Something you may not know about me… Several years ago, I won a national medal for winning an Australian Football tournament, playing for my home town of Birmingham!Pete

Adam, Membership Recruiter

I love Fell Foot because it’s a great office! The view is stunning up to the Fairfield Horseshoe, people and their pets love to enjoy the outdoors here… and I like the coffee too! Recruiter’s don’t Adamjust staff the visitor welcome … we help from chopping wood to rowing boat hire. Something you may not know about me… Since moving to the lakes in May 2016 I’ve climbed over 100 Lake District fells.


Imogen, Membership RecruiterImogen

I love how peaceful Fell Foot is, and how beautiful it is in all weathers! I’m still very new to this role, but so far I am loving engaging with visitors and meeting new people. And being outdoors all the time too! Something you may not know about me… I’ve got a strong interest in experimental archaeology. For my Master’s thesis, Idesigned,built and fired my own Roman glass furnace and successfully made blue/ green glass!

Interested in lending a hand?

We have all sorts of things you can get involved with if you have some free time to offer,from assisting the boating team;talking to visitors; helping out on events, to supporting the business with administration or fundraising.Come along and meet the team and find out about volunteer ing opportunities. Whether its outdoor or indoor roles you are interested in, please do get in touch with Kelley to find out more details.

Ranger Report

 In February Family Volunteers joined in with our National Trust mass tree planting day. We have some beautiful wood pasture in our NorthFamily

field here at Fell Foot overlooking Windermere, with some big veteran oak trees covered in lichens and bryophytes. Families have planted more trees to vary the age structure in this area to increase biodiversity

and also as future replacements for these current veterans, to retain this vital rare wood pasture habitat. Along with standard trees we have also included a hedgerow that will act as a wildlife corridor linking these areas.

Ranger, Jo Day, will be running a dawn chorus walk starting at Sam on the 10th May. (£5 per person, booking essential please on 015395 31273 or fellfoot@nationaltrust.org.uk ). Jo will also run a fascinating ‘walk and talk’ about our lakeshore habitats on the 14th June at 2pm (no need to book, just turn up, donations welcome).

Summer will see further work to regenerate our precious reedbed. In partnership working with the South Cumbria Rivers Trust we will again be planting up more rhizomes to increase the established bed. This area is already having wildlife benefits as the elusive water rail, a wading lakeshore bird,has been heard throughout the winter.

To celebrate the success of our wildflower meadow, we are also holding a meadow month in July. We will run flower identification workshops, guided walks and children’s activities amongst other things. Please keep an eye out for details and dates in the coming months.

Throughout August we will run our ever popular Bat Walks on Friday nights. Check out the events pages on the website for more info – https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/fell-foot

And don’t miss…


  • National Go Canoeing Week at Fell Foot on Saturday 20th to Sunday 28th May.
  • National Stone Skimming Championships at Fell Footon Saturday 19t1i August.

Please get in touch for more information, or if you want to find out about other ways to get involved at Fell Foot. We look forward to seeing you over the summer,

Best wishes,



Kelley Sproston-Heath, Volunteering & Community Involvement Officer kelley.sprostonheath@nationaltrust.org.uk