AMBLESIDE NEWS – 16th April 2021

Ambleside’s Community Christmas Lights

Ableside’s Community Christmas Lights big Switch-On Day of entertainment and events will be unable to take place yet again this year, due to Covid. Crowds of over 8000 normally pour into Ambleside but organisers are concerned that social distancing would not be possible or enforceable in large crowds. Many children may still not be fully vaccinated, as well as adults who have declined the vaccination.

With the risk of a new wave of infections spreading to the UK similar to the current surges in Europe, the committee decided it couldn’t risk exposing local people to the possibility of the event causing a local outbreak or rise in cases. However, it is hoped the lights will be put up round Ambleside like last Christmas, with no publicised Switch On.

Although finances are secure, the Lights are facing a new problem which might threaten their future and that of the not-for-profit limited company which oversees the Lights and protects volunteers from any financial risk. Two of its directors are stepping down, and replacement directors are urgently needed before the deadline of June 6. A meeting of the Lights Committee follows on June 9 to make decisions about its future but if no new directors are appointed, the limited company will fail, making it inadvisable for the Committee and volunteers to act without its protection. Any member of the local business community interested in finding out more about the role of the directors should email as soon as possible.

Visitor Marshalls

Ambleside’s visitor marshals will be out and about over weekends and bank holidays until June, as Covid restrictions ease. With funding available through SLDC from the Government’s Reopening High Streets initiative, the uniformed visitor ambassadors will provide a friendly welcoming face and remind people about mask wearing and social distancing, helping businesses with queue management and giving visitors information about car parking, toilets and picnic areas. They will report weekly to Lakes Parish Chamber of Trade, whose members have asked them to prevent parking issues developing, such as cars left in larger gateways and pull-in spaces.

Marshals will also visit hotspots such as Pelter Bridge, Rydal and the Underloughrigg road to prevent vans and cars parking overnight. Marshals will also watch for littering and fly camping around Waterhead, Borrans Park and Galava, Jenkins Field and Birdhouse meadow. Chamber Chairman Steve Crook said the marshals are already having a very positive impact, and will make a point of introducing themselves to shop and business owners this weekend.

Ambleside Parkrun

Ambleside’s Rothay Parkrun is featured in a new book, “How parkrun changed our lives” by local author Eileen Jones.  As a keen parkrun enthusiast who has visited many of the UK’s 730 parkrun venues, Eileen’s book describes the many benefits of the Saturday morning 5k global phenomenon, including Ambleside’s parkrun which happened just six times last year before lockdown. There are interviews with the event director, with local fitness instructor Ursula Brendling and others on the joys of volunteering, and a chapter on the considerable health benefits by local GP Dr Paul Davies. Paul, a member of the core volunteer team at Rothay Parkrun, also led the initiative to make the Central Lakes Medical Group a parkrun practice, liaising with the local parkrun team and in some cases prescribing parkrun for certain physical and mental health conditions. He also highlights the well-documented physical impacts on weight loss, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and its benefits in managing depression and tackling social isolation. Ursula, who as a fitness instructor has inspired many local athletes and runs programmes for beginners and easy exercise classes for older people said: “It’s wonderful to see how the beginners, the slower runners, become so proud of themselves. It’s a vehicle for them to do something locally and – here in Ambleside – something they can walk to from home.” Signed copies of the book available from Fred Holdsworth’s bookshop. Rothay Parkrun resumes at 9am on June 5, all welcome to walk, jog or run. Register online at  for a personal barcode.

Parish Council Vacancy

A vacancy has arisen for a Lakes Parish councillor in the Grasmere ward. If Grasmere electors do not request a by-election within the next two weeks, the Council can seek to fill the vacancy by co-option, details from  tel 015394 31656 .

Public Toilets

The price of ‘spending a penny’ in almost all Lakes Parish Council public toilets will increase from 20p to 40p. Charges are being increased due to a significant drop in toilet and other Council income due to Covid. Several of the Council operated toilets already have contactless card entry, and others will now be installed at Low Fold and White Platts. For toilet users who don’t have a contactless card, the coin payment option will be retained at Moss Parrock, Grasmere, and at Rydal Road and Cheapside toilets in Ambleside. Use of contactless payment is not only more convenient but also reduces the need to handle, collect and count unhygienic cash.


New ‘No Parking’ proposals

Highways consultations are ongoing for three proposed ‘no parking at any time’ restrictions. The first covers the length of Rydal village from Pelter Bridge to beyond the Glen Rothay Hotel both sides of the road; the second new ‘no parking’ consultation concerns the A593 at Skelwith Bridge near the junction with the B5343 to Langdale, around the bus shelter and grass verge and across the road bridge, and a section along the Langdale road; and the third restrictions will be in Little Langdale, along various sections of the road.

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