THE clock is ticking for a community to raise £1 million to save an internationally famous visitor attraction from being lost to history.

Ruskin’s View is an historic viewpoint within Kirkby Lonsdale, situated above the banks of the River Lune, providing a breath-taking panorama of the Lune Valley.

It was painted by JMW Turner in 1822 and inspired the 19th-century art critic, social theorist, painter, and poet John Ruskin, who in 1875, proclaimed it as ’One of the loveliest views in England, and therefore the world’.

The viewpoint has been closed off to the public since September 2021 after technical reports showed that flooding and storms had eroded the embankment below to the point of being dangerously unsafe, and at risk of further landslip.

A fundraising campaign called Save Ruskin's View was set up to work with Kirkby Lonsdale Town Council (KLTC), to raise a minimum of £1m to undertake urgent remedial works to stabilise the riverbank for use by future generations.

Fundraising co-ordinator Laura Keeler explained the importance of retaining this vital asset.

She said: "Without securing the funding needed, Ruskin's View will be lost forever, and both the viewpoints and footpath will remain permanently closed off to the public.

"This is more than just a lovely view, the loss of this major tourist attraction is having a significant impact on the local and regional tourist offer, and consequently presents considerable risk to our local economy.

"It has become an intrinsic part of Kirkby Lonsdale’s story and community, inspiring countless artists and creatives, and providing a freely accessible space which has benefitted the physical and mental wellbeing of residents for decades.

The Westmorland Gazette: One of the loveliest views in EnglandOne of the loveliest views in England (Image: Save Ruskin's View)

"The importance of Ruskin’s View as part of the tourist offer in South Lakeland, as a key heritage venue helping to attracting thousands of visitors all year round, is widely acknowledged, including by Cumbria Tourism who are publicly supporting our campaign."

The managing director of Cumbria Tourism Gill Haigh said: "Its closure since September 2021 has been a real loss with many businesses reporting lost custom as a result.

"Cumbria Tourism fully supports the Save Ruskin’s View campaign which aims to restore the path and viewing point for all to savour and enjoy."

The Chair of Kirkby Lonsdale Chamber of Trade Robin Sadler added: "Just as businesses were starting to recover from covid, the closure of Ruskin's View has hit the town and left businesses gravely concerned about the loss of one of the principal magnets to the town."

Currently, public access has been cut off, including access to hundreds of graves in St Mary’s Cemetery, with residents now only able to access loved ones' graves from the town direction, through private property, restricted to limited periods on two days a week.

Vital public access to the Rugby Club (KLRUFC) has also been closed, affecting the many community groups that use the KLRUFC facilities, including the Cubs and Scouts, The Brass Band, The Community Cupboard (our local food bank) which is currently based there, as well as sports fixtures and training activities held by KLRUFC all year round.

Laura said she is aware the fundraising target is 'significant', and outlined the strategy to achieve the target.

She said: "We need to raise a minimum of £1 million to ensure KLTC can undertake the technical works to save and reopen Ruskin's View and The Brow footpath.

"A volunteer-led fundraising working group (The Friends of Ruskin's View) has been established, and we are working hard to raise the money to ensure this treasured historic viewpoint and precious heritage attraction is saved for future generations to enjoy.

"The public fundraising campaign was officially launched in November (including an online crowdfunding platform) and we have since received some really positive media coverage which is helping to raise awareness and attract support.

Laura said that businesses in the community are also rallying around the cause.

She said: "Kirkby Lonsdale Brewery has made a dedicated ale named '1822' (The name commemorates the year when JMW Turner’s painting of 'The view from the Churchyard at Kirkby Lonsdale' was first published as a watercolour engraving in Thomas Whitaker’s 'An history of Richmondshire') and is donating 10 per cent of profits from the sale of the ale towards the campaign.”

READ MORE: New beer launched to save town's heritage

Laura explained that the group is exploring many different streams of funding, but welcomes any level of support.

She said: "This is a priority project for the Town Council, who are contributing a total of £100,000 towards the project - £50,000 contributed this year, and a further £50,000 next year - in addition to funding all the technical surveys, design work and letting of contracts.

“We are aware £1 million is a significant fundraising target, particularly in this current climate.

"The total raised so-far stands at £62,408.

"A fundraising strategy is in place, which includes approaching public funders (including the National Lottery Heritage Fund - NLHF), a range of trusts and foundations, a public campaign, as well as securing corporate support.

"Funding from local and regional supporters will be an extremely important part of our strategy."

"Not only will Ruskin’s View and The Brow footpath be lost forever, but without intervention, the erosion of the riverbank will continue, and the graveyard that sits behind the viewpoint will be at significant risk, together with the adjacent important archaeological site comprising The Glebe Field, Cockpit Hill, and The Motte.

"The area’s unique connection to historic figures of national importance, Ruskin and Turner, is an important part of our Town’s history, and a key part of what makes Kirkby Lonsdale so special, we are incredibly proud and passionate about this heritage, and are determined to do all we can to save it.

A Community Survey Response said: "I hear from my concerned friends every day whose families are buried there.

"We are talking generations of KL families.

"What if they are washed away? Of course, something has to be done. Once gone it is not coming back."

The group has dedicated social media pages and a JustGiving page where you can donate.

You can also contact the group directly to donate or find out how you can help at