An artist's impression of how the new ladder will look

An artist's impression of how the new ladder will look

Conservation charity the National Trust is seeking permission to build a new ladder up the Bowder Stone in the Lake District.

The huge boulder in Borrowdale has been a tourist attraction for more than a century.

The trust wants to fabricate a metal ladder to enable non-climbers to reach the top of the stone.

A spokesperson for the charity said: “The 9.3m- [30ft-] long ladder will replace one made on site 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.”

The ladder will be made by Cumbrian architectural and sculptural metalworker Chris Brammel and incorporates feedback from the local climbing community, the Lake District National Park Partnership and the planning authority.

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

“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.”

Visitors on the Bowder Stone in the 1860s

Visitors on the Bowder Stone in the 1860s

The Bowder Stone is a large 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 has been in the care of the conservation charity ever since.

The trust said 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,” the spokesperson said. “It is now surrounded by woodland that is a site of special scientific interest.”

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