James Garth Marshall's vision for Tarn Hows
Tarn Hows was originally part of a designed landscape, created by James Garth Marshall, owner of the Monk Coniston Estate, in the 1860s.
Tarn Hows as we see it today was originally three natural tarns. When James Garth Marshall bought it he started on a project to create a new body of water surrounded by a bold, ornamental planting scheme, which also had an industrial use to feed his sawmill, downstream in Coniston.
Marshall’s vision involved clumps of trees planted in a carefully considered way, highlighting rocky knolls and the dramatic Lakes landscape beyond. The new planting was protected by ‘nurse’ crops of conifers, which were intended to be removed once the young trees were established. However, Marshall died before his vision was realised and the nurse crops were never removed. Trees then grew to dominate the Tarn Hows panorama as we know it today.
The project today
We are now doing some work to restore elements of the designed landscape, as it was intended to look when it was originally created.
This will involve gradually removing some trees, particularly thinning areas where there is dense regrowth, to open up some views over the tarn and across to the fells beyond, as well as revealing some of the rocky knolls identified in the original design which have become overgrown.
" We will be removing some trees to reopen selected views and reveal some of the fine specimen trees that we have at Tarn Hows. "
Protecting and repairing
Opening up views across the tarn and surrounding countryside will enable visitors to enjoy perspectives on this landscape as it was originally intended to look in the 19th century, as well as helping to protect some of the rare habitats around Tarn Hows.
Our ranger teams will also be working to partially reinstate parts of Marshall’s vision with some new planting in selected locations from the suite of trees in his original plans.
Work will be done very gradually over a number of years, but starting now means that we can avoid too much intrusive felling work in the future, and keep the visual impact on the landscape to a minimum.