The village of Coniston overlooks the well know Coniston Water and is surrounded by wild and craggy hills. Once a thriving mining town Coniston is now a popular tourist spot with many attractions for all of the family. Among these attractions are the Ruskin Museum; Grizedale Forest with its popular visitors and wildlife centre; Brantwood the historic home of John Ruskin in the late 1800's; and boat trips on Coniston Water, such as a ride on the Steam Yacht Gondola.
Historically Coniston was mined for Copper by the Normans, who plundered the surrounding forests to feed the smelting works, with traces of these bloomeries, as they were known, still being seen on the lake shore. All of the existing hardwoods and conifers have since been planted. The historical Black Bull Inn where Turner stayed in 1797, and the man who championed him, John Ruskin is buried in the churchyard, marked by a Saxon type cross of local stone. Coniston water itself, mainly fed by becks from the Old Man of Conniston range that dominates the valley, is about 5 and half miles in length, and made famous by the Blue bird K7 and Donald Campbell, who attempted to break the world's water speed record on the lake but was sadly killed when the Blue bird flipped while doing so in January 1967. Peel Island, to the South, was the inspiration for the book Swallows and Amazons and known as Wild Cat Island in the book written by Arthur Ransome, who lived nearby at Lowick Bridge.
The countryside around Coniston, known as the Old Man of Coniston Fells are a favourite with walkers, climbers geologists and naturalists. Dow Craig is a popular and challenging peak for rock climbers, and the highest point of the range is the Old Man himself at 2634 feet. Some of the tarns in the area have been dammed to provide water to some of the local towns. Low Water, viewed from above, following a pleasant walk is such an amazing blue it almost looks artificial. Southwest, is Beacon Tarn, a small pretty lake surrounded by heather covered Blawith Fells, with trances of Bronze Age settlements nearby.
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