AS a younger man, Edward Robinson built houses in places like Backbarrow and High Newton with his bare hands.
Now 67, he makes inch-perfect models of the Lake District’s most distinctive buildings.
Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top, Bridge House at Ambleside and Townend Farmhouse at Troutbeck are just some of his 100-strong collection.
They are all faithfully recreated from doors to tiny slate roofs so that when March comes, his wife Kathleen opens their Oriental gardens to the public as the Lakeland Miniature Village in Flookburgh.
Using Lake District slate from Hodge Close, Coniston and Elterwater, his tools are a diamond saw, a hammer, adhesive, sand, cement and a special chisel.
The realistic moss across this land where he is giant, comes by special delivery from America.
His collection even includes a like-for-like model of the impressive Kendal Parish Church, contributed by a friend.
Open to the public for 14 years and attracting around 6,000 visitors a year – depending on the weather – it’s a treasure trove showing a bygone Lake District.
“I wanted to put something back,” as the grandfather-of-two addressing why he he has spent nearly a quarter-of-a-century recreating some of the Lakes’ most famous properties.
“I wanted to show how these buildings looked when I was a lad, rather than the plastic windows and everything you see nowadays.”
Rarely using any kind of scaled drawings, much of the designs are in ‘his head’.
“I’m not trying to be clever but I just have a knack somehow,” he said. “It’s just in me, I enjoy doing it.”
New additions this year include Windermere’s Baddeley Clock – the roadside monunment halfway between Bowness and Windermere, as well as new re-working of Yew Tree Farm, Coniston.
The Baddeley Clock model took three months to make – using old photographs as he went along.
“It’s quite an icon, isn’t it?” says Mr Robinson. “I used to make them in my workshop but I’m too old for that now. In winter, my wife allows me to make them in the house, which is very kind of her!”
Kathleen adds: “I think they’re marvellous. It takes a lot of skill and patience. He’s a qualified builder and you can see he knows what he’s doing.”
And as a recent visitor commented in the guest book: “We have never seen anything like this before – it’s absolutely beautiful. The level of craftsmanship is amazing.”
For more information about the attraction, visit http://www.lakelandminiaturevillage.com/