View that inspired Turner to be opened up in Lake District

A viewpoint immortalised by JMW Turner, which was renowned for rich flora and wildlife, inspired one of England’s greatest ever artists as he embarked on his career.

The view from Brackenthwaite Hows which inspired the young Turner. PIC: National Trust/PA Wire
The view from Brackenthwaite Hows which inspired the young Turner. PIC: National Trust/PA Wire

Now the Lake District view is to be opened up to the public after being acquired by the National Trust.

Brackenthwaite Hows was a popular spot with Lake District tourists in Georgian and Victorian times, and the view from the hill was captured by the young Turner in a watercolour on his first visit to the Lake District in 1797. Today it is a well-loved landscape, renowned for its views and areas of woodland and heathland rich in bluebells, wildflowers and wildlife, including rare red squirrels.

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The National Trust has now purchased the 77 acres of land at Brackenthwaite for £202,000, with a third of the value of the sale being donated back to the charity by one of the previous owners. The trust has pledged to preserve the landscape in the heart of the Lake District World Heritage Site, respecting its history, encouraging nature and improving access to the area.

The land that the trust has bought, which includes parts of Lanthwaite Wood as well as Brackenthwaite Hows, was previously in multiple ownership and two of the owners, Ruth and David Hill, gifted their share.

They said: “We have owned and cared for a share of Brackenthwaite Hows since 1990. During that time, we were privileged to maintain the property and walk this magical summit in all seasons. We always wanted the National Trust to look after the property as we felt they would be the best possible custodian of its heritage.”

Turner turned to landscape painting at the age of 17, in 1793, looking for inspiration at home in the UK, including the Lakes, before travelling abroad through Europe. His 1797 watercolour Crummock Water Looking Towards Buttermere from the viewpoint formed the basis of a later oil painting of the dramatic vista.