CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Lancashire Life today CLICK HERE

Windermere and Bowness Civic Society preserving the beauty of the Lakeland town

PUBLISHED: 00:00 28 August 2014

Barry Tullett, President of the Windermere and Bowness Civic Society

Barry Tullett, President of the Windermere and Bowness Civic Society


Work to preserve the character of Lakeland’s favourite town never stops, as Paul Mackenzie reports

Miss Cumbria III on Bowness BayMiss Cumbria III on Bowness Bay

Bowness has been one of Lakeland’s most popular places to visit for generations. Millions of holiday-makers stay there, or at least stop off there, every year to enjoy to views, the shops, the cafes and the restaurants. It is easy to see why Bowness is a perennial favourite but its enduring popularity does not happen by accident.

True, Mother Nature has been kind in putting the lake and hills on its doorstep, but the fact that Bowness has retained so much of its charm is largely down to a devoted group of volunteers who have been campaigning to preserve the town’s character for more than 40 years.

Windermere and Bowness Civic Society has more than 500 members who are keen to improve the appearance of both towns and to protects the green spaces. They also keep a close eye on proposed developments and planning applications and founder member Barry Tullett, the current the president of the group, said: ‘We are quite proud of our achievements but there is no let up, there is always something that demands our attention.’

The society’s first success was the pedestrianisation of Ash Street and they are currently working, with a number of other groups, to improve Millerground, a National Trust-owned woodland beside the lake. The Civic Society are also monitoring a proposal to build a large new hotel at the water’s edge on Glebe Road.

Bowness St Martin's ChurchBowness St Martin's Church

‘We have not seen any artist’s impressions yet but we want to be sure they have considered the impact of such a development on the infrastructure of the town,’ Barry said. ‘Bowness has grown up piecemeal over the years and has been something of a victim of its own success. Obviously tourism is the lifeblood of the town but any new development has to be sympathetic to what has gone before.’

That’s not to say that Bowness is averse to change – indeed, one historic building looks set to be given a new lease of life. The Rayrigg Rooms were built in 1907 and were bought this summer by the World of Beatrix Potter attraction who plan to convert the old church hall into tea rooms with a garden and rooms for events.

The new manager at the ever-popular attraction, Stacey McShane, has had a busy time since taking over in May. At the end of that month their Peter Rabbit garden, which recreated scenes from Beatrix Potter’s books, won a gold medal at the Chelsea Flower Show.

And Stacey is already plotting how the attraction will mark the 150th anniversary of the author’s birth in 2016. ‘It will be our 25th anniversary that year as well,’ she said. ‘I’m not sure yet what we’ll do but we’re already thinking about how we celebrate the occasions.’

Ash StreetAsh Street

By then the party could be held in the Rayrigg Rooms and money from the sale could have started to help fund renovation work at St Martin’s Church, parts of which date back to the late 15th century.

Rector James Richards said: ‘There are several things that need to be done but the largest single item is the need to replace the lead roof, which was estimated a couple of years ago at costing about £400,000. There are also a number of other things that are nearing the end of their life – the gas boilers and electrical wiring for instance.

‘The total cost of the works is likely to be about £500,000 and we feel it makes most sense to have one big appeal to raise the money, rather than having an appeal for each piece of work. The sale of the Rayrigg Rooms will make a significant contribution to the costs but we will still probably have to raise about half the cost.’


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Lancashire Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Lancashire Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Lancashire Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Having 10,000 students on the doorstep is helping this West Lancashire town centre to thrive

Read more

In 1972, a hoard of ancient silver coins was discovered in Prestwich. These days, they’re hoping to strike gold with an unbeatable mix of community, creativity and independent shops but for one craftsperson, silver is still the way to go.

Read more
Friday, October 12, 2018

Pendle Hill is one of the most iconic landmarks in Lancashire and you can enjoy the beautiful countryside, spectacular views and fascinating from a number of starting points in the Ribble Valley.

Read more
Pendle Hill Ribble Valley Walks
Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Our walks expert John Lenehan plots a scenic course that also provides a little Lancashire history.

Read more

Steps are being taken to bridge the divides that have grown between communities and made Blackburn one of the most segregated towns in the country.

Read more
Monday, October 8, 2018

With the countryside turning stunning shades of red and gold, this is probably the best time to pull on your boots and go for a heavenly hike.

Read more
Lake District Walks Autumn

There is always something surprising in this old Lancashire village which attracts visitors from across the world

Read more
Thursday, October 4, 2018

Many youngsters their age are content to play with their toys, but a Bowness brother and sister are happiest in their walking boots.

Read more
Thursday, September 27, 2018

Britain’s biggest independent flower show attracts huge crowds and the admiration of BBC celebrities

Read more
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

When it was announced The Willow Garden Project in Fleetwood was to be the recipient of BBC North West Garden created for The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Tatton Flower Show, there were cheers all round.

Read more
Friday, September 21, 2018

The first ever National GetOutside Day takes place on Sunday 30 September with the aim of getting 1 million people active outdoors across the UK.

Read more

Meet some of the devilishly successful people who make this glorious Ribble Valley town tick.

Read more
Friday, September 14, 2018

The site was designated Lancashire’s first ever ‘Local Nature Reserve’ in 1968 and is also designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Read more
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A striking sculpture attracts John Lenehan to this circular walk through some oustanding scenery.

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Property Search