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Windermere Reflections looks to leave a lasting legacy on the Lake District

PUBLISHED: 00:05 14 August 2014 | UPDATED: 23:36 23 October 2015

Giant raindrop at Fell Foot on the shores of Windermere

Giant raindrop at Fell Foot on the shores of Windermere

Richard Gill

Art also featured in major programme designed to boost water quality in Windermere. Richard Gill casts a photographer’s eye over projects designed to educate, inform and entertain.

Windermere Reflections – the name might be the title of a poetry anthology about the Lake District. But this heritage lottery-funded project which is drawing to a close has made its voice heard throughout Cumbria and beyond in a bid to protect a very special landscape.

There has been poetry and art at its heart, as the message to link lakes, landscapes and lives has been taken out into the communities around Britain’s biggest and most famous lake. It’s acknowledged that the water could be cleaner, due to a range of pollution problems which have built up over the years.

The impact will be measured by scientists over generations to come, but there’s no doubt that the WR programme has created an impact already, and changed behaviour significantly. Regular readers of Lancashire Life will know hotels and guest houses have signed up to a green pact to use fewer chemicals in domestic cleaning operations. Local children have learned about the importance of the water quality in their home environment and at school, lake users are being much more careful about spillages when re-fuelling, and swimmers and kayakers have been urged to clean their kit and not carry invasive species from one waterway to another.

The three year programme saw the completion of some 19 projects involving practical conservation activities like riverbank repairs to keep soil out of the water. Windermere Reflections was led from a small office at Low Nook in Ambleside by programme manager Liz Davey, and two project officers, Debbie Binch and Amanda Luxmoore. They have been working in partnership with a range of organisations including the Environment Agency, Lake District National Park Authority, the National Trust, and the University of Cumbria, and additional delivery partners, South Cumbria Rivers Trust, Nurture Lakeland, and Friends of the Lake District.

A new way to see Windermere: giant kaleidoscope at Borrans Park A new way to see Windermere: giant kaleidoscope at Borrans Park

Earlier this summer, the WR team reflected on their own achievements in a remarkable open air art exhibition which covered seven sites and integrated art workshops with specially-commissioned installations. Reflective Moments highlighted the journey of water through the catchment landscape from source to sea.

There was Lookout at Dunmail Raise, thousands of silver reflective baubles attached to the wartime pillbox by artist Steve Messam. At Allan Bank and Fell Foot, artist Bryony Purvis offered Between Land and Sky aerial photography workshops, with cameras and phones sent up to 1000ft high under a big helium balloon. Irene Sanderson ran a Chinese landscape painting workshop at Rydal Hall’s Grotto and at Borrans Park, Waterhead, Messam created a giant kaleidoscope to view the lake in a new way. The Windermere Car Ferry’s cabin was turned into one big magnetic poetry ‘fridge door’. And at Fell Foot, Messam installed Drop, his giant inflatable raindrop which reflected the surrounding landscape and marked the bottom of Windermere’s catchment where water flows into the River Leven and out into Morecambe Bay.

The work of the Windermere Reflections’ programme is marked this month in an exhibition at Wray Castle near Ambleside. But as Liz Davey says: ‘It will be many years before scientists can measure the impact of our work on the quality of the water. We hope that we have helped to make a difference.’

Reflective moment at Dunmail Raise, 2500 silver baubles mirror the landscape Reflective moment at Dunmail Raise, 2500 silver baubles mirror the landscape

Richard Gill of Great Impressions is a Kendal-based commercial and industrial photographer who specialises in architectural and property photography and virtual tours. He works with a wide variety of North West based companies to provide them with exclusive images to help them market their business, including lifestyle portraits which capture the unique story of their success in pictures. www.great-impressions.com / 07557 780 336

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