Stunning limestone pavements, ancient woodlands, intimate orchards and meadows and an impressive coastline make Arnside & Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty one of England's finest landscapes. The work of the AONB Partnership aims to conserve and enhance this extraordinary place now and for the future.
Gait Barrows Summerhouse restored
October 20th, 2020
Natural England’s 10-week Summerhouse restoration project on the edge of Hawes Water at Gait Barrows NNR has just been completed and is looking amazing!
The restoration included reroofing with reclaimed local slate, some rebuilding and repointing with lime mortar, new oak doors, window and floors and installation of cast iron guttering and down pipes.
Lots of opportunities have been created for bats, amphibians and invertebrates with repointing kept to a minimum and holes and gaps left for bats to get into the rubble-filled walls and under the slates. Ridge tiles were installed with blobs of mortar, again so that there were void spaces for bats.
The cellar has bat-friendly louvered vents included and the door was designed with slits in the frame to give bats access. There are also plans to add a bat roost in the internal apex that can be accessed through the arrow-slit above the window. A proper bat hotel!
The superb view across Hawes Water from the front of the building will be reinstated this winter by re-coppicing some of the willow scrub that fringes the lake edge.
Although the Summerhouse is currently locked due to C19 restrictions, the plan is to allow access for non-winged visitors to the first floor, which will be used as an interpretation space with information about the history, geology and biodiversity of the reserve and the wider AONB.
There will also be some rustic oak benches inside to allow visitors to sit and enjoy the view on wet days while learning more about Gait Barrows.
The Natural England reserve staff are delighted that they have been able to save this 250-year-old gem of a building and use it as a fantastic resource not only for the reserve but for the wider community.