Tree Top Trek wants to install eight zipwires across Thirlmere. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Tree Top Trek wants to install eight zipwires across Thirlmere. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Aficionados of the late Lakeland author Alfred Wainwright have evoked his memory in declaring their opposition to a proposed zipwire across Thirlmere.

The Wainwright Society said it strongly objects to the planned development, which would see eight zip lines constructed across the reservoir and the main A591 road.

The society said: “Thirlmere valley retains a strong sense of remoteness despite the busy A591 and, particularly on its western side, is a place where visitors may enjoy views of the surrounding fells and northward towards Blencathra in an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity.

“In his final book, Alfred Wainwright wrote this about Thirlmere: ‘Manchester Corporation and the Forestry Commission have been the greatest predators in Lakeland over the past century.

“‘They were not welcome intruders, both being strongly opposed by conservationists and lovers of the district. They have done much to destroy the original character of the scenery and done little to enhance its natural charm. Enough has been more than enough.

“‘But it must be conceded that a hundred years of maturity have added a new attractiveness to the Thirlmere valley, best appreciated when viewed from a distance. In the case of Thirlmere, all is forgiven’.”

The society said it believes the proposed zipwire would severely compromise the remoteness and tranquillity within the valley, bringing with it the visual intrusion of the infrastructure, increased traffic, the noise and disturbance of ex-military transport trucks together with all the activity of the many participants associated with the zipwire.

“The proposed location for the zipwire is incompatible with the purposes of a national park as defined by the Environment Act (1995) and one that has just been awarded with the highest accolade of world heritage site status by Unesco,” it said.

“A zipwire constructed at Thirlmere conflicts with the principles laid down on the core strategy document of the Lake District national park.

“The society believes that should this proposal be approved it would set a precedent that would threaten other locations with similar characteristics eg Haweswater in Mardale, where commercial gain could be given greater weight than the principle of conservation and protection of an outstanding landscape in a remote setting.”

The Wainwright Society is the latest body to publicly oppose Tree Top Trek’s plans for the activity hub at Thirlmere, which also include an upgrade to a lakeside cycle track.

The Friends of the Lake District, Open Spaces Society, British Mountaineering Council and Cumbrian film-maker Terry Abraham have all voiced their opposition.

Cumbria Tourism and the Lake District Park Partnership Business Task Force both support the company’s plans, while The Lake District Foundation, which raises cash for conservation projects, said it was maintaining a neutral stance on the project.

Members of the public have until 2 January to submit their views to Lake District planners. Details are on the park authority’s website.

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