Coniston


photo by andyrob

Coniston is a quaint village in Furness. It is located in the south of the Lake District National Park between Coniston Water and Coniston Old Man.

Geography and administration

Coniston has always been within the limits of the Lancashire County since 1182, it was part of the administrative county of Lancashire between 1889 and 1974.
Today Coniston is a part of Cumbria. Coniston is at the head of the Coniston Water, the third longest lake in the Lake District.

History

The village of Coniston grew in popularity both as a farming village and also as home to the local copper and slate mines. It was during the Victorian regime that Coniston became a tourist location mostly due to the fact that a branch of the Furness railway was constructed. The railway line was opened to passenger traffic in 1859 and the line ended at Coniston Railway Station. The popular poet and social activist John Ruskin also brought the name Coniston to news headlines when he bought the Brantwood mansion by the shores of the Coniston Water in 1871. He had is heart so much at Coniston that he chose to be buried in the churchyard of St. Andrews at Coniston than being laid at rest at the famous Westminster Abbey.

Coniston has also found its place in movies. In the animated movie “The Plague Dogs”, two dogs are shown to escape from the fictional Lawson Park vivisection research location.

Present day Coniston
Today Coniston is a popular spot among those who fancy hill climbing, trekking and rock climbing. There are wonderful walks to be had on the Furness Fells and Grizedale Forest which are close by. There are some fine rocks to climb in the Lake District on the eastern face of Dow Crag which is about three miles from Coniston.

A national park was created in the 1950s and that gave a tremendous push to the tourism scene of Coniston. There are more attractions such as the John Ruskin Museum. There are also ferry services which ply across the lake. Donald Campbell brought more fame and glory to this village when he broke the world water speed record in 1967 after beating his own previous best record at the same lake. The sad part was that in the course of breaking his own record he drowned and died. His body and the famous boat – The Bluebird were discovered years later by divers in 2000 and he was buried in 2001 in a graveyard situated in the outskirts of Coniston.

If you are planning to visit Coniston, you can stay at the hotels in the village or the two Youth Hostels – one is at the end of the village and the other one is at the Coppermines Valley.

A couple of slate quarries are still in operation at Coniston, one in the Coppermines Valley and the other at Brossen Stone which is on the east side of Coniston Old Man.
The volcanic slates of Coniston are blue at Low-Brandy Crag in the Coppermines Valley and are light green at Brossen Stone.

Coniston won the Village of the Year award in 1997. It is an important local centre and is complete with a secondary school, bank, petrol station and several other amenities.

The Volcanic rocks from Coniston Limeston and Borrowdale add to the scenic beauty of Coniston.

Source: Wikipedia – under the GNU Free Doc Licence