windermere panoramic
ConistonGrasmere
Cumbria LA21 8DU
 
 
 
 
 
Coniston is approximately 5 miles (8 km) west of Windermere in north-west England’s Lake District.  The village is at the head of a long, narrow ribbon lake called Coniston Water.  Magnificent crags and fells surround the lake with the ‘Old Man of Coniston’ mountain rising majestically behind the village.
 
Visitors to this incredibly scenic location come for many different reasons.  For the energetic it is one of the best places in Cumbria to rock climb, fell walk and travel on a mirror calm lake by canoe or kayak.
 
Two motorised launches provide regular ferry services on the lake and during summer a heritage steam launch cruises the lake calling in at Brantwood on the eastern shore.
 
Donald Campbell
Some visitors are attracted by Coniston Water’s fame as the place where Donald Campbell set four World Water Speed records and died attempting to break his own record for the eighth time in 1967.  His Bluebird K7 hydroplane crashed near Peel Island and enthusiasts may wish to join the Coniston Launch Campbell Guided Tour for an intimate, informative look at his connection with Coniston Water.
 
Donald Campbell’s remains are buried in the new parish cemetery on Hawkshead Old Road about 200 metres from St Andrew’s Church, Coniston.
 
This museum may look small with just another local history collection but it is a most interesting place to visit and should not be missed.
 
A commemorative stone stands on the village green opposite the car park, and there is an interesting and informative Bluebird exhibit in the local Ruskin Museum.
 
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John Ruskin
Other visitors interested in the Victorian artist and philosopher John Ruskin, come to visit his home Brantwood House & Garden and his last resting place in St Andrew’s churchyard.  The grave is marked by a beautiful Celtic cross carved by Ruskin’s friend and secretary, W G Collingwood, from local Tilberthwaite green slate.  The exquisitely detailed symbols depict important aspects of Ruskin’s work and life.
 
SY Gondola
Steam enthusiasts flock to travel on the Steam Yacht Gondola, owned by the National Trust. This heritage yacht  cruises the lake during summer.
 
The Village
The Ruskin Museum conducts themed guided walks of the surrounding area and village.  The latter is a level walk suitable for all ages.  Prices include admission to the Museum.  Web:  Ruskin Museum website
 
The village has all the facilities of a small town – a bank, petrol station, hotels, a micro-brewery, shops and restaurants.  It is serviced by the Stagecoach 505 bus route and within easy driving distance of the main railway at Windermere.  It is not as busy as some of the better known Lake District centres and well worth visiting.
 
Beatrix Potter
Accommodation ranging from self-catering cottages to 5-star B & B is plentiful and can be arranged through the South Lakeland TICs.  You can even stay in Yew Tree Farm which served as Beatrix Potter’s home ‘Hill Top’ in the Miss Potter film. Self-guided tour leaflets of the village and the surrounding area can  be picked up from the Ruskin Museum.
 
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History
Before tourism came in the Victorian era, Coniston’s economy was based around farming and the local copper and slate mines.  Two slate quarries still operate, one in Coppermines Valley, the other at Brossen Stone (Bursting Stone) on the east side of Coniston Old Man. Both work Coniston's volcanic slates - blue at Low-Brandy Crag in Coppermines Valley, and light green at Brossen Stone.
 
Farmers raised sheep for wool and nearly every farmstead had a spinning gallery.  A few of these medieval galleries can still be seen in the area.  Slate is still mined but the old Tilberthwaite Quarries are now favourite rock climbing sites and only 3 miles (5 km) from the village.
 
The unspoilt rural character of this part of the Lake District with its traditional hill-farms has been preserved thanks to Beatrix Potter (Mrs Heelis).  This remarkable woman bought the Monk Coniston estate which stretched from Coniston to Skelwith Bridge and includes the beautiful Tarn Hows. On her death she gave most of her extensive property holdings to the National Trust.
 
Coniston Water
Coniston Water is a 5.5 mile (8.8 km) long, narrow lake with five small islands making it ideal for exploration by a small boat.
 
Swallows and Amazons
Arthur Ransome thought it ideal for exploration too because he used the lake as the setting for his famous Swallows and Amazons children’s adventures. You too can moor in the secret harbour and land on Wild Cat Island (Peel Island). Boats can be hired from  Web:  Coniston Boating Centre
 
Contact & Further Information
 
Google Maps - Coniston