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Approval sought for a new ladder for the Bowder Stone, near Keswick

Artist’s impression of the new proposed Bowder Stone ladder

THE National Trust is seeking planning permission for a new ladder to help people climb a 19th century attraction, popular with the Victorians, the Bowder Stone near Keswick.

The 9.3m long ladder will replace one made onsite in the 1980s of local timber. For the first time it will be made of metal, to a design that restores the excitement of a climb and descent, and the slender, airy, profile of the original ladder says the Trust.

The ladder will be made by Cumbrian architectural and sculptural metalworker Chris Brammel.

The design incorporates feedback from the local climbing community, who use the steps as a warm up, as well as the Lake District National Park Partnership and the planning authority.

“We’re restoring the excitement of a visit to one of the strangest and once most famous Lake District attractions” said National Trust Curator Harvey Wilkinson.

“Once we have planning permission Chris Brammel can start work. We expect the new ladder to be in place next spring so there’s now a rare opportunity to take a photo of the stone without its ladder” added Harvey.

Tourists at the top of the Bowder Stone in the 1860s

The Bowder Stone is a big rock, six times the height of a person and estimated to weigh 1,253 tonnes. It is thought to have fallen from the crags above after the last ice-age, coming to rest at its current improbable angle. The National Trust bought the Bowder Stone in 1910 through public subscription and it’s been in the care of the conservation charity ever since.

The Bowder Stone is a good example of how the Lake District landscape is changed by people. In its heyday the stone would have been seen for miles around, as depicted by artists and photographers of the day. It is now surrounded by woodland that is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

For more information visit the National Trust website.

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