The Thirlmere Activity Hub

We are delighted to announce that our Planning Application for the Thirlmere Activity Hub has now been submitted to the Lake District National Park Authority, who will assess the application and take into account the comments they now receive about the scheme.

Your voice really can make a difference and your comment might be the one that tips the balance in favour of the project at the Planning Committee, which is likely to be held in February.

The planning process does not recognise mass produced letters or cut and pasted support or objections. It only takes account of individuals' or organisations' views on planning applications when they are related to planning policy matters and have clearly been written by each individual or organisation. Therefore, if you want to support the Thirlmere Activity Hub, please write your own reasons why.

All correspondence needs to be sent to [email protected] or in writing to Lake District National Park Authority, Murley Moss, Kendal, LA9 7RL and needs to have the Planning Ref 7/2017/2298 as the subject. The full application can be accessed here. We appreciate there are a large number of documents in our submission and recommend that you read the summary of our proposal here

Before you write to the planning authority, you may wish to consider each of the summary points below and the planning policy areas that they cover, and decide which ones matter most to you and incorporate them in your own words. Do not cut and paste, although you can do so to reference the specific planning policies and statutory documents.

World Class Visitor Economy - the following points all meet objectives in the LDNPA’s Strategic Objectives 9,11,12, Visitor Economy 1 of the partnership plan, the Adventure Capital Plan, and the LEP Rural and Visitor Economy Growth plan priorities 1 and 2:

  • 53 local jobs
  • An extra £600,000 spent in the local economy every year.
  • £1.3m in direct GVA annually.
  • £3m of capital spent on a low carbon, low impact scheme.
  • A growth in visitors of an extra 127,000 annually.
  • Of these, over 52% will come in off peak times providing much needed income to local shops, cafes and accommodation providers.
  • A world class visitor attraction that will attract new, and especially younger, visitors to the Lake District.
  • A year-round visitor attraction that is fully disabled accessible
  • £800,000 spent on the improved infrastructure such as a cantilevered cycle underpass under the main A591, providing alternative, easier climbs and descents for less experienced riders, and improved safety on the stretches that are on the minor western road.
  • Improved cycle route from North to South encouraging low carbon transport
  • Provide major improvements and new sections for an 18km, family friendly, round the reservoir cycle track

Sustainable Transport and Tourism – the following are also supported by Core Strategy 04 and 24:

  • As above, £800,000 spent on the improved infrastructure such as a cantilevered cycle underpass under the main A591, providing alternative easier gradient climbs and descents for less experienced riders, and improved safety on the stretches that are on the minor western road.
  • Improved cycle route from North to South encouraging low carbon transport
  • Provide major improvements and new sections for an 18km, family friendly, round the reservoir cycle track
  • Provide free shuttle bus services on peak days from the car parks around Thirlmere for all walkers, climbers, cyclists and zip line users.
  • Provide a bike bus from Keswick and Ambleside during peak months.
  • The scheme will have a minimal impact on traffic and the roads and car parks have the capacity for it.
  • The scheme appeals to the whole age range but particularly to younger families. This is important as that is the age range shown to be in decline as a visitor to the Lake District. True sustainability can only come if future generations love the National Park and want to look after it.

World Heritage Status

  • The scheme has been assessed as not proving harmful to the WHS in totality and providing many benefits
  • These include the interpretation of the 3 strands of Outstanding Universal Value identified in the World Heritage Status through talks to participants, through rangers, and through interpretation and information online, in leaflets and on-site panels.
  • This will attract a new generation who will learn to love the Lake District
  • Scheme will provide a new attraction to worldwide audience.

Landscape and Visual Impact

  • The scheme will have a minimal visual impact and moderate landscape impact for those sensitive to the development. However, the scheme has been designed to ensure that the launch and landing points are within trees, the path of the zip lines has the least impact on walkers and other users and has demonstrated the essential need for a rural location (CS04), that it is a sustainable tourism development that requires a specific geographical fixed resource (CS24) and is helping to deliver the Thirlmere Cycle way (CS04)

Environmental Impact

  • The scheme will have a minimal ecological impact specifically in the construction of new cycle track and paths.
  • It will accelerate the agreed conservation plans for the area in removing non-native fir trees and restoring native trees and ground flora.
  • We will provide opportunities for people to engage in healthier lifestyles
  • Improved access and egress gates for great stock control benefiting local farmers and cyclists, improved layout of the car parks to provide greater capacity and allow space for farming stock movement
  • Ongoing weekly inspection and maintenance of the infrastructure funded by the income from the zip lines
  • Local legacy fund managed by Lake District Charitable Trust

Emerging Planning Policy

The three key objectives of the emerging planning policy are:

  • Promoting a year-round destination with more longer staying visitors supporting the economy.
  • Enhancing the visitor experience through improved attractions, high quality public realm and amenities, accessible visitor information and a better appreciation and understanding of the Lake District
  • Conservation and enhancement of the landscape of the Lake District and its attributes of Outstanding Universal Value and Special Qualities.

The Thirlmere Activity Hub meets all three of these new objectives.

We believe passionately in the Thirlmere Activity Hub and the role it will play in growing the adventure capital in the Lake District to attract the next generation of visitors and need your help to make it happen. We have chosen Thirlmere reservoir due to its easy accessibility via the A591 with the existing infrastructure of roads, forest tracks, managed forestry, car parks and toilet building.

Anyone can make comments on the planning application, regardless of where you live and we encourage you to share your views by contacting the Planning Authority.


About our proposal

Our aim is to create a family friendly, world class visitor attraction combining adventure, leisure and the spectacular Lake District landscape with minimal impact on the surrounding environment. 

Located at Thirlmere reservoir, the proposed Hub will enable more people to enjoy the breath-taking scenery and be active outdoors via two exciting new activities: a thrilling quadruple 1200m zip line across the water and 18km of superb family-friendly cycle paths.

Thirlmere Zipline: Working with our friends at ZipWorld®, we aim to create a truly amazing outdoor experience. The almost invisible wires will fly visitors twice over the water from dizzying heights up to 130m above the ground, 1200m across, making it the highest and longest zip line in England. Being very mindful of the surrounding environment, our take-off and landing stations will be sympathetically constructed within the managed forestry and located to minimise the visual impact and our footprint on this important landscape.

Thirlmere Family Cycle Way: We are planning to provide a family activity with the new around the lake cycle way. We hope our proposed 18km circular cycle route, which will tour the perimeter of the reservoir, will provide a rewarding outdoor activity that families can enjoy together.

You can view our full proposal here

Supporting the community and protecting the environment:

The Thirlmere Activity Hub would be an all-year round attraction, attracting a large number of visitors, providing sustainable tourism for the surrounding area. This stunning part of the Lake District is not explored by the many and often bypassed by those travelling from Windermere to Keswick along the busy A591.  We will attract people in all seasons to this fantastic outdoor adventure and, in doing so, help local businesses thrive.

Whilst our environmental impact is minimal, we are working closely with local stakeholders on a number of schemes to provide a positive legacy for the area including the restoration of native woodland and improved public access.

The project will generate 28 full time equivalent jobs for the local community and our proposed Community Fund will help us invest back to into the local community.

You can email us at [email protected] with any feedback or questions.

More detailed information can be found in this   Q&A Document

About Thirlmere: Thirlmere is a huge reservoir just over 6km long, built in 1890, that now supplies 11% of the North West's Water. It is the heart of the Lake District National Park and surrounded by a number of fells including Helvellyn. Water is taken to Manchester via a 96 mile long aqueduct.

Treetop Trek Response to the Friends of The Lake District Statement, 23/11/17

Press Release, 19/10/17