Rail Travel to Windermere

Rail Travel to Windermere

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Here at Cedar Manor hotel we’ve been watching with concern the growing chaos on the Lakes railway line which links us at Windermere with the west coast main line at Oxenholme…and trains to London.

This line is more than just a little gem, and a tourist attraction in itself.  It’s used by local people travelling to and from work, it’s used by thousands of international visitors who fly into Manchester Airport. And it’s used by many of our visitors who care, as we do, about the environment.

In the ten years that we’ve been running the hotel, sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. We have led the way in recycling, energy and waste management, use of sustainable products and locally-sourced food. We even won an award – for the best hotel, national AND international – from the sustainability champions, Considerate Hotels.

So there have been times when we’ve been very proud to have a full hotel but an empty car park. Windermere railway station is just a few minutes’ walk from here, and we don’t just welcome travellers by train, we positively recommend it.

There are two significant benefits – one is the lessened environmental impact when fewer people drive here (though we have just installed electric car re-charging points this season). The other benefit is the ability to wind down completely for a stress-free holiday or short break by leaving the car behind.

The Lake District is a walker’s paradise, and we don’t just mean the high fells. Some of our guests are happy just to wander down the lane to the lake shore, or potter about in Windermere or Bowness. You can walk right from our front door to one of the best viewpoints in the entire area, the lovely Orrest Head (from where a chap called Wainwright first saw all the hills of Lakeland and said to himself, hmm, there’s 214 summits. I think I’ll climb the lot and write about them.)

And of course it’s possible to use public transport to reach many of the valleys from where the paths head into the highest hills. There’s a bus stop literally outside our front gate, so it really is possible to have a car-free holiday here.

But the current situation, with trains being cancelled daily, is a dreadful retrograde step. Passengers are losing confidence in the ability of Northern Rail to get them to their destination and all the efforts of the green lobby are wasted. Meanwhile the Lake District National Park is pioneering state-of-the-art self-driving vehicles which are being considered as a sustainable transport alternative for the area, with a driverless electric ‘pod’.

The Lake District is the first National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site to take part in such a feasibility study with Westfield Technology Group. It will explore new technologies which will allow people to access the National Park in an environmentally sustainable way, and automated ‘pods’ are being trialled as a potential solution.

How sad that a train operator with the potential to be part of this exciting effort to save our planet should let us all down. Come on, Northern Rail, give us a Lakes Line to be proud of.

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