7 February 2014

Claife Viewing Station - Stepping back into the limelight

Claife Viewing Station will be stepping back into the limelight again after a hundred years of being ‘out of fashion’. For years Claife Station has been an interesting ruined oddity  hidden amongst the trees above the ferry on Lake Windermere, but recent works to restore the views and an exciting new acquisition mean that the Station may once again be the centre of attention as it was when it was the Lake District’s 19th Century  equivalent of  the ‘London Eye ‘.

Claife Viewing Station ruin
Recent forestry work to restore the views has made the Station more visible from the East and the South , further tree work is planned to the North which will open up the classic view across the Lake Windermere archipelago to the Troutbeck fells. These views enticed early  18th and 19th Century visitors to the Lake District in search of the thrill of the ‘picturesque ‘ , following the earliest guide books, they were guided to the best viewing points or ‘stations’  . Visitors, we hope,  will return in numbers again  in the 21st Century to discover the fascinating story of the Station and the Windermere catchment.

North View from the Station
In 2010 we acquired the Station Cottage and courtyard  at the foot of the hill below the ruin,  this  provided us with an opportunity to work with the public, local communities and other organisations to develop a visitor experience that will hopefully re-create some of those original thrills , while telling the story of the viewing stations, the picturesque movement and the past and future management of the Windermere catchment.#

Building works underway at the cottage and courtyard

In the next few months we will be repairing and restoring some of the features and stabilising the structure of the viewing station . Last year we replaced the cottage roof and this year we are replacing the external rendering  and  decorating  inside and out. By early summer we will  have on site catering facilities and visitors will be able to enjoy refreshments in the cottage by the log burning stove or in the sunny courtyard. We will also be creating a new visitor experience and further improving the views. You may also like to visit the local Ash Landing Nature Reserve as part of your visit .

Repairing the window arch on the Station building

This was the location for those earliest tourists to Windermere, and we hope that you will visit us this Summer, see how the project is developing  and experience some of that same thrill that they experienced.