Ticket offices on Bowness Bay pier on Windermere

Bowness Conservation Area

Why is Bowness special?

Bowness is an historic village with origins as an early Norse fishing and trading settlement in a sheltered bay on the east side of Windermere lake. Special qualities include:

  • Rural setting of the town at the foot of low-lying hills beside Windermere lake in view of distant high fells;
  • Early haphazard layout of Lowside, the vernacular core of the town;
  • St Martin’s Church, churchyard and ancient yews;
  • Informal development of the town around two ‘squares’ (Queen’s Square and Royal Square) located on a broad level shelf slightly elevated above the lake;
  • Separate and isolated examples of 18th century and earlier dwellings, notably New Hall Inn (c.1650) and Fold Head (1751)(Fallbarrow Road), Rose Cottage (Church Street), Laurel Cottage and The Spinnery (Brantfell Road), all listed grade II;
  • Mid/late 19th century post-railway developments alongside Lake Road comprising non-conformist chapel, former police station, suburban villas, semi-detached houses guest houses and terraces of Victorian stone built houses;
  • Attractive views across Windermere lake;
  • Good examples of typical provincial Victorian and Edwardian commercial and residential architecture embellished with period details such as decorative bargeboards, bay windows, dormers, finials, ridge tiles;
  • Architectural and historic interest of the area’s buildings, including 13 listed buildings dating from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, and numerous significant unlisted buildings;
  • Good examples of large 19th century mansions and purpose-built hotels, located to take advantage of views over Windermere such as The Old England, The Belsfield, The Hydro and Crown Rigg (now private apartments);
  • The green open space and planted copse within the grounds of The Belsfield;
  • The Promenade and lakeside area of jetties and landing stages, Victorian-style ticket offices and the margins of Bowness Bay;
  • Trees and groups of trees that enhance the setting of historic buildings and soften the streetscene, notably in the grounds of The Belsfield, and individual trees in an urban setting in Queen’s Square and Royal Square;
  • Prevalent use of local stone, reflecting the underlying geology of the area, used for walling, roof slates and boundary walls;
  • Small items of street furniture that add to Bowness-on-Windermere’s local identity such as iron street name signs, ER VII letter boxes, stone boundary walls, wall plaques and datestones;

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