Lake District Towns and Villages
Coniston in the Lake District National Park
Coniston has a splendid setting at the northern end of Coniston Water, overlooked by the Old Man Of Coniston 2,627ft. Highly popular with visitors, it has a strong industrial background with copper being mined from it's fells since the Bronze Age. The Romans mined it and in the 18th and 19th centuries, the village grew in importance with the development of mining at the head of church beck, the area now known as Coppermines Valley.
Coniston Old Hall is the oldest building, originally dating back to 1250. It is situated about a mile from the village on the western side of the lake. It was bought by the National Trust in 1972 and gradually restored.????
John Ruskin, artist,art critic, poet and social reformer lived at Brantwood on the eastern shore of coniston water, from 1872 to 1900. The House is a museum open to the public and filled with large collection of his paintings, furniture and memorabilia. In the village itself is a small museum devoted mainly to Ruskin, including correspondence, possessions and his geology collection. There is also a collection of photographs of Donald Campbell's ill-fated world water attempt in 1967.
John Ruskin is buried in the churchyard of the St Andrews Church in the village, with a memorial in the form of an Ango-Saxon cross designed by W.G.Collinwood, who had been his long time secretary and literay assistant.
Coniston Water with it's wooded banks and little islands, is only a 10 minute walk from the village. Here the boating centre can provide whatever you need for fooling about on the water, rowing boats, low speed motor boats, canoes etc. The Steam Yacht Gondola, first launched in 1859 and later fully restored by the national trust leaves coniston pier for hour long cruises of the lake, calling at Park-a moor landing stage for access to some fine wood and fell walks, then onto Ruskins's Brantwood. The other lake service is Coniston Launch which operates on 2 routes around the lake allowing you to stop off at any peir enroute. Arthur Ransome based his book Swallows & Amazons mainly on Coniston Water.
Tarn Hows, or The Tarns, is one of the most visited spots in Lakeland. It is a beauty spot that is not entirely typical of the local landscape, for the tarn is partly artificial, being three tarns joined together in the 19th Century, and most of the trees surrounding it being conifers. The attraction is its sheer beauty, surrounded by thick woodland, and views towards Wetherlam, the Helvellyn range and the Langdale Pikes.
There is a 1.5 mile path round the tarn that is level and well maintained and thus suitable for wheelchairs
The Black Bull Inn, a 400 year old coaching inn at the foot of Coniston Old Man, is home to the Coniston Brewing Company and a suitable place for both liquid and solid refeshment. Information on the brewery can be found on it's website at Coniston Brewery. Another, is the Sun Hotel, whose traditional bar serves a variety of home cooked food.
Information on the Ruskin Museum can be found at Ruskin Museum.
More information on Brantwood can be found at Brantwood