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.
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.
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.