south lakes

Southern Lake Distinctive Area

The South Distinctive Area stretches from the West of Windermere over towards Coniston Water, the Old Man of Coniston and its range of fells. The eastern part of the area consists of heavily wooded low fells and valleys, which to the south move into low fell fringe, coastal margins, estuary and marsh around the Leven and Duddon estuaries. The Southern area includes the following Parishes:

Blawith and Subberthwaite, Colton, Claife, Coniston, Duddon, Hawkshead, Haverthwaite, Satterthwaite and Torver.

The Lake District National Park Authority owns small areas of land in the Southern area. These are Rusland Moss National Nature Reserve, Rusland Woods which include the areas of Border Moss, Yewbarrow, Hall Brow, Stoney Hazel and Thwaite Head, Rusland Tannery and High Dam

The other large landowners in the area are the Forestry Commission which own Grizedale Forest. The National Trust also own large areas of land and attractions in the Southern including Wray Castle, Hill Top (home of Beatrix Potter) and Claife Heights. The Southern area also includes Consiton Water and record breaking attempts with the Blue Bird and the historic house of Brantwood.

The following attractions can be visited in the area:

  • Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway
  • Lakeside Aquarium
  • The Bobbin Mill
  • Old Hall Farm
  • Graythwaite Gardens
  • Grizedale Forest
  • Brantwood
  • Coniston Boating Centre
  • Ruskin Museum

We are working closely with three communities in the Southern area that have been given Heritage Lottery Fund grants. These include:

Contact details for your local team 

Rowing on Grasmere © Dave Willis

Your Area Ranger Sara Spicer

Sara is the Area Ranger for the Southern Lake District. Please get in touch with Sara if you have any queries or enquiries about our work in the South or community fund applications.

Contact details

You can contact Sara with any general enquiries relating to the South Lake District.

Tel: 01539 792719 Mobile: 07788 658566

Key information 

Community fund information:

A fund has been created for projects which are led by, or of benefit to, the resident communities of the Lake District National Park. Find out more about the community fund.

Grants so far: South Distinctive Area


Map of our Lake District Areas (pdf)

Key updates & news

Take a look at what's going in and around the South Lake District

Rusland Horizons and the Greenwood Trails


We are currently improving access as part of the first year of the three year Rusland Horizons Heritage Lottery project .

The Greenwood Trails project aims to improve sustainable access in the Rusland Valley, through six self guided trails. We are currently improving the condition of the rights of way in the Bouth and Haverthwaite Heights area. The practical rights of way improvement works are being completed by the Rusland Horizons apprentices, our Field Team and volunteers. We have also been working with the local community to proself-guided trails leaflets to promote the routes, and the two local schools have been involved with designing the waymarker that will be used to promote the Greenwood Trails.

community working group

Community working group developing the interpretation for one of the trails

Working in the woods

We have been working with some of the south Park Management volunteers and Rusland Horizon apprentices to do some woodland management work on one of our properties in the Rusland Valley at Glass Knott. They have been involved with coppicing a coupe with hazel trees in. They have felled and processed the trees, and stacked the brash in neat piles called windrows. The thicker timber has been sold to the Bobbin Mill at Finsthwaite for them to make into bobbins.

High Dam, Finsthwaite

high dam

We have been improving access at one of our popular properties in the south. It is a long term aim to improve access to and around the site, and we are doing this through a phased approach. Last year we were able to replace three bridges on the site through sponsorship

High Dam Path before

Section of path that’s been regraded

high dam

Over the last couple of months we have been working with our Field Team and a local contractor to improve the condition of the main path around the tarn. This has involved getting stone onto the site, regrading the sections of the path and surfacing approximately 1 km of the route.

Working in the woods at Border Moss


Over the last few months we’ve been busy in one of our woodland properties called Border Moss. Border Moss covers approximately 18 hectares of the 388 hectares owned and managed by the Authority in the Rusland Valley.

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