[B]eacon Hill above Penrith, standing to the north-east of the town, is an iconic landmark for the town and the area with the stone-built Beacon Pike on its summit.
In the past, people who walked up to Beacon Pike were rewarded by a splendid view to the south-west stretching from Shap Fell, Lowther Castle, High Street, Ullswater, Helvellyn, Keswick, Blencathra and to Scotland.
However over recent years, the view from the Beacon has been obstructed by the growth of the trees around the summit and this growth has also removed the sight of the Pike on the summit, particularly from the town and when travelling north on the M6.
There has been much comment in recent years about the loss of the view and its impact and now a number of organisations have come together to organise and fund the clearance of the trees in order to regain the view.
Lonsdale Settled Estates (LSE) & Viscount Lowther Trust (VLT) – the Estates of Hugh Lowther, The Earl of Lonsdale, who own the area around the summit have organised the work and contracted Eden Treescapes carry it out.
Funding for the tree clearance, which has cost £3,500 has been provided by Eden District Council, The Old Codgers, Penrith Chamber of Trade, Penrith Rotary Club and Penrith Partnership. There was also help, on the ground, from members of the Eden Valley Mountaineering Club.
The work has entailed the full clearance of the first 15 metres of trees and the creation of key view avenues looking towards Lowther Castle, Blencathra and Scotland and a thinning of the trees in between.
Councillor Mike Slee, Eden District Council’s Commercial Services Portfolio Holder, said; “We are pleased to support this project which has brought back the iconic view of the Pike from below and afar helping to promote Penrith.”
Historically the Beacon has been the place where countless beacons were lit over the centuries to warn the population of potential raids. It was one of a chain of beacons operating down the Eden Valley.
There have been more recent beacons to celebrate special occasions, such as the Queen’s Jubilee. A beacon is planned to commemorate the centenary of the end of World War 1, on 11 November 2018.
Ron Kenyon from Penrith Partnership, said: “The Beacon is an important part of Penrith’s history and we hope that this work will encourage locals and visitors alike to visit and enjoy the fantastic view from the summit.”