A viewpoint that inspired world-famous artist JMW Turner on his first visit to the Lake District will be opened up to the public, having been acquired by the National Trust.
Brackenthwaite Hows is one of the Lakes’ most breathtaking views and was drawn by Turner in his 1797 watercolour, Crummock Water Looking Towards Buttermere.
The artist, who lends his name to the Turner prize, turned to landscape painting aged 17 in 1793. He looked for inspiration at home in the UK – including the Lakes – before travelling extensively through Europe, where he became interested particularly in Venice.
Since the 18th century, Brackenthwaite has become a popular spot with locals and is a much-loved area of woodland and healthland renowned for its views, bluebells, wildflowers, wildlife and fascinating history.
The 77 acres of land will be managed by the conservation charity, which has vowed to preserve the landscape, respect its fascinating history, encourage nature and improve access to the area.
“We’re delighted and really proud that we’ll be looking after Brackenthwaite Hows thanks to a generous donation from Ruth and David Hill,” said Tom Burditt, General Manager for the National Trust in the North Lakes.
“We’re going to explore ways to improve access routes to the historic viewing station; a very special place within a World Heritage Site. We know it was visited by Turner and formed a popular stopping off point for early Lake District tourists in the Georgian and Victorian eras.
“We’ll work hard to support this area of high cultural and ecological importance, which neighbours woodland, fells and lakes that we already look after. We plan to maintain its mosaic of veteran and younger trees and heathland habitats which provide a haven for rare birds, bluebells and red squirrels.”
The land was previously in multiple-ownership and includes parts of Lanthwaite Wood, along with Brackenthwaite Hows. One of the previous owners, Ruth and David Hill, gifted their share to the Trust because they wanted it to be enjoyed for ever for everyone.
The Trust paid £202,000 for the land and a proportion of the sale will be donated back to the charity from the Hill family.
Donors Ruth and David Hill said: “We have owned and cared for a share of Brackenthwaite Hows since 1990. During that time, we were privileged to maintain the property and walk this magical summit in all seasons.
“We always wanted the National Trust to look after the property as we felt they would be the best possible custodian of its heritage. We are pleased we have been able to play our part to bring that about.
“We would encourage others to consider the wider benefits of giving such properties to be cared for on behalf of the nation, so the natural beauty can be preserved.”
Header image: view from Brackenthwaite Hows towards Crummock Water, © John Malley