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Swallows boathouse is restored to its former glory
A RUN-down boat-house, which was the inspiration for the classic children’s book Swallows & Amazons, has been restored to its former glory.
Emergency repairs at the Bank Ground Farm boathouse, Coniston, have been carried out by a Lake District farming family with help from Natural England.
The building has been restored by craftsmen using traditional building skills, with oak beams used to replace rotting timbers, bulging stone walls stabilised and the roof reslated.
Local materials and traditional lime mortar were used throughout the project.
It was the boathouse at Bank Ground and the boats on the lake that provided renowned author Arthur Ransome with the idea for his story.
The Batty family, who run the farm, secured a grant from Natural England to carry out the work.
“The enduring appeal of Arthur Ransome’s books attracts large numbers of visitors to the Lake District every year to enjoy the scenery and trace the locations featured in the stories," said Jonathon Batty.
"Following the careful restoration, the boat-houses can again take pride of place at the heart of Arthur Ransome country."
Joe Wilson, of Natural England, said: “The tourists who flock from as far afield as Canada, Australia and Japan to see the Ransome locations make a valuable contribution to the area’s economy and I’m sure visitors will be delighted to see these iconic boathouses have been restored."
Mr Batty added: “Arthur Ransome has a huge following in Japan and we regularly have Japanese visitors at the farm asking to see the locations in the books. It’s just amazing that such essentially English novels are so popular around the world, but it’s certainly good for tourism.”
As well as the restoration of the historic boathouses at Bank Ground, the Batty family is carrying out a wide range of conservation work on the farm, including planting new hedgerows and native trees.
Swallows and Amazons was first published in 1930 and the film adaptation, starring Virginia McKenna and Ronald Fraser, was filmed at Bank Ground Farm in 1974 when the boathouse was used as a location.
For more information about Bank Ground Farm, visit www. bankground. com.