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Lake District Tourist Guide - Local Information

CONISTON

The village

Coniston village remains just a few streets with two notable pubs, the Black Bull and the Sun Inn, both over 400 years old, and some shops aimed at tourists. The railway was among the many axed in the early 1960s. A slate quarry is still worked on slopes of Coniston Old Man but the village now relies largely on tourism. Except perhaps during Powerboat Records Week, it is a fine place for quiet and relaxation. There are a range of Coniston b&b to choose from.

Copper mines

At one time the village was known for its copper mines. Although this useful metal was mined from the Bronze Age, it was only mined on a large scale in Elizabethan times. It reached its peak in the mid 19th century when it employed some 800 men. It declined after about 1870. Some veins were over 300m below ground and 150m below sea level. Known as chalcopyrite, the ore was a yellow gold colour similar to fool's gold. Nowadays the deep shafts are flooded and too dangerous for exploration.

Coniston Water

Coniston Water is 8km long and has a maximum depth of 56m. It is the third largest of the Lakeland lakes. In earlier centuries it was an important source of fish.

Power Boat Records Week

A maximum speed limit of 10 miles per hour was introduced on Windermere Lake in 2005. It limited the activity of power boats and especially the Windermere Power Boat Records Week. This competition was moved successfully to Coniston Water over a newly surveyed one kilometre course. See www.conistonpowerboatrecords.co.uk.

Donald Campbell

Donald Campbell, son of Sir Malcolm Campbell, was killed on Coniston Water on 4th January 1967 while attempting to beat his own world water speed record of 480kph. His boat Bluebird became airborne, flipped over and crashed. In 2001 the boat was recovered and later his body. He is buried in St Andrew's Church. Both father and son spent many years working towards speed records on both land and water.

The Ruskin Museum

The Ruskin Museum, www.ruskinmuseum.com, covers the Campbells' story, information about the copper mining and displays the writings, watercolours and sketchbooks of John Ruskin, who bought the country estate of Brantwood on the eastern lakeshore. Brantwood is perhaps the finest country estate in the Lake District, with an extravagant mansion, woods and landscaped gardens.


Hawkshead

Between Lake Windermere and Coniston is the picturesque village of Hawkshead. Wordsworth once attended the village school there. The village is also the location for the Beatrix Potter Gallery, which contains many original illustrations from the author, and artist's, books. Hilltop, Beatrix Potter's own farmhouse is two miles to the south in the quiet village of Near Sawrey.

Grizedale Forest

Grizedale Forest, stretches between Coniston Water and Esthwaite Water to the east and chiefly consists of oak, larch and pine trees. It is popular for walking and mountain biking but another attraction is the sculpture trail. Outdoor sculptures have been arriving since 1977 and there are now more than 60 throughout the forest. They include a wave of carved ferns, a xylophone and a 'man of the forest', on a larger than life scale.
www.24hourmuseum.org.uk/manchester/news/ART57454.html.

Bikes are available for hire from Grizedale Mountain Bike Hire, www.grizedalemountainbikes.co.uk.

There are tourist information centres in both Coniston, www.conistontic.org and Grizedale Forest, www.grizedale.org.






We would recommend at least a long weekend stay in coniston, to make the most of what there is on offer,

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