The modest man who has left a remarkable legacy in Lake District’s western fringe says he would like World Heritage to encourage respect for the area’s unique attributes.

Wainwright said Eskdale was one of the loveliest Lakeland valleys, swiftly descending from the highest and wildest mountains amid verdant woodlands, pastures and with a charming river.

The famed author was still writing his legendary books in the 1970s, when four friends set out on an exciting and risky self-sufficiency and shared living adventure in the village.

Farmer’s son and Oxford university mathematics graduate, Ian Hall, wanted to follow his parents’ fell farming footsteps, returning to his roots to run a flock of Herdwicks.

Fisherground was bought by Ian, his wife Jennifer and friends Geoff and Anne-Marie Wake in an epic tale of hardship, adventure and adversity.

Four decades down the line, the valley, tens of thousands of campers and future generations can herald the vision of a remarkable partnership.

Now living in Keswick, Ian and Jennifer left a rare and lasting legacy in the valley - six local occupancy houses and woodland destined to trap 5,300 tonnes of carbon in the next 85 years. 

The campsite - which emerged as Fisherground’s farming enterprises floundered and failed - is now one of 50 ‘best in the world locations’, chosen by the Independent newspaper.

It started with a Portaloo and hand-painted sign; by the time the farm was sold on in 2002, it was regularly recording 8,000 tents a year, or 20,000 people nights.

Not particularly noted for being an eco-warrior, when former non-stipendiary priest and paraglider Ian was approached with a pioneering carbon brokering initiative in Eskdale on land he still owned, he and Jennifer agreed, creating a new area of woodland.

Across the UK, woodland carbon projects over the next century will lock up over 5.8 million tonnes of CO2.

We are acutely aware of the need for mankind to get a grip on carbon emissions and support government initiatives for renewable energy.

“Our scheme was on difficult land, but once the 14,000 tree whips – a mix of birch, oak, holly, mountain ash and ash – have grown a bit, it will add to the beauty of Eskdale and link corridors of woodland for wildlife.”

Read the rest of Ian's story

Article by Karen Barden


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Campsite businessman, Ian Hall, of now one of 50 ‘best in the world locations’.