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Car Free in Coniston
I'm half way through my six-month visitor travel internship at Nurture Lakeland, and time has just flown by! I really enjoy helping visitors to get out of the car and get away from it all, and I've made six car-free itineraries which are now on our website ready to download and use, and written about three car-free experiences on the National Trust Lakes Outdoors website.
The Lake District influenced the lives and works of many famous artists, writers, thinkers, and poets. Philosophers like John Ruskin were so enamored with the beautiful landscape that they wanted to do something to protect it. It struck me that the landscapes are just as impressive, and the need to protect them is just as important today. I decided to write a car-free heritage trail, so that visitors can experience the landscape and help to protect it.
As a started to research the trail, I was amazed by the rich history the natural beauty of the landscape around Coniston Water. And there are so many ways to get around without a car, it's now my favourite place for day out by boot, bike or boat! Here are some of my highlights...
It's easy to get to Coniston from busy hubs like Ambleside, and you can get great deals on combined bus and boat tickets. Get a "bus, boat and Brantwood ticket" on the 505 stagecoach bus or 20% off electric car, boat and bike hire at Coniston Boating Centre on the X33 Lakeland Explorer bus. Both services arrive and leave from The Crown Inn Bus Stop in Coniston village. Here you'll find all you need to start a day of exploring - grab a coffee in a quaint cafe or picnic provisions from the shops.
Take a short stroll down to Coniston Water and you'll soon see why so many people were inspired by this landscape. It's a really magical place for me too, because I grew up reading the Swallows and Amazons books written by Arthur Ransome. His mischievous characters had many adventures as they sailed from Holly Howe (Bank Ground Farm) to Wildcat Island (Peel Island). Hire a motor boat, canoe or dinghy from Coniston Boating Centre and start your own adventure!
If you prefer to sit back and enjoy the journey, a cruise on the National Trust Steam Yacht Gondola or Coniston Launch is a great way to get around. You can hop off at Brantwood (once home to philosopher and artist John Ruskin) or Monk Coniston (James Garth Marshall who created the world-famous Tarn Hows lived here). From Monk Coniston you can hike to Tarn Hows (take Ordnance Survey Explorer Map OL7). Hop back on your boat or walk to Coniston village on a well-marked path along the B5285 road. Back in Coniston there are plenty of places for a cup of tea (or a local ale!) while you wait for the bus at the end of a great day.