Aug 2021 – Bassenthwaite Lake, Cumbria.

Bassenthwaite Lake Station reopened for business on July 30th, not offering tickets to Keswick or Cockermouth, but at least with a train standing at the platform. After two years of restoration work, café facilities are now provided in both the rebuilt station building and the static restaurant carriage. The café offers wildlife viewing and an accessible woodland walk with a focus on showcasing all things Cumbrian, especially local suppliers and producers of the finest food. Co-owner Simon Parums says: “The idea was to provide some facilities to visitors of the nearby Dubwath Silver Meadows nature reserve, but once we decided to create a café it very quickly became apparent that the station building would not be large enough. Rather than extend it, we stumbled upon the replica train to use as our extension; two years later it has become a reality and we are incredibly proud of everything that we, and our fabulous team of contractors and volunteers, have done.” This new venture was featured in an article in RR 169 (pp. 26-28), a photo of the station building pre-restoration having appeared on the inside cover of RR 168. (Cumberland News; Richard Bain)

A spokesperson for the SDNPA added: “We find it very frustrating that such works lie beyond our control. We did advise initially that the works were development and would need the submission of a planning application. The agents came back and have, unfortunately, shown that the works do lie outside planning control under emergency powers. The SDNPA will be questioning the use of emergency powers and strongly resisting this vandalism.

The Stoke Road bridge spans the disused Mid-Hants Railway a mile or so beyond the western terminus of the heritage line and is earmarked for reuse as part of a walking and cycling route. The route is safeguarded against adverse development under a policy adopted in the SDNPA’s Local Plan. Matt Skidmore, a member of the HRE Group, said that by infilling the structure Highways England is “putting Stoke Road bridge beyond use […] obstructing the development of a 27-mile circular path connecting the communities of Alresford, Kings Worthy, South Wonston and Sutton Scotney”. (Forgotten Relics)