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Our work at Allan Bank and Grasmere

Ranger planting trees at Grasmere, Cumbria
Ranger planting trees at Grasmere | © National Trust Images/Michael Hirst

Find out about our important work at Allan Bank and Grasmere, both in the past and ongoing, encompassing the efforts of our Ranger Team who look after nearly 14,000 hectares of Lakes landscape. Also our protection of the endangered native red squirrels who call our land home, and resurrecting Allan Bank house after the devastating fire of 2011.

Protecting our red squirrels

A species in decline

Once a popular sight across the country, and the UK’s only native squirrel species, the red squirrel is now suffering a major decline. Since the introduction of the North American grey squirrel in the 1870s as an ornamental species, red squirrel numbers have dropped from around 3.5 million to an estimated 120,000.

It’s thought that there are around 15,000 red squirrels in England, and happily some of those call Allan Bank and Grasmere their home. You can use our binoculars in the Study to spy them on the feeders outside or take a stroll along the garden path to see if you can spot one along the way. 

How we help them

Squirrels naturally eat green acorns, seeds, nuts and pine cones; in the autumn they cut green pine cones from trees and store them in the ground for winter feed.

At Allan Bank we supplement their diet by putting out a small quantity of monkey nuts and sunflower seeds every morning into our special feeders. This helps us monitor the population and keep an eye out for any sick or injured squirrels – and also means you’re much more likely to see one! 

Red squirrel on the feeder at Allan Bank, Cumbria
Red squirrel on the feeder at Allan Bank, Cumbria | © National Trust Images/Michael Hirst

We also work alongside the Grasmere Red Squirrel Group to make the grounds at Allan Bank their ideal home, spending almost £1,000 on feed every year.

With your help we can continue to protect our native red squirrels in Grasmere and throughout the region. Please donate online to our Lakes Red Squirrel Appeal.

National Trust Ranger Team

Our Ranger Team looks after nearly 14,000 hectares of valleys, lakes and fells. This expanse encompasses a wide range of landscapes and habitats, including 25 tenanted farms, around 650 hectares of woodlands, numerous historic buildings, impressive gardens, and access to the shores of numerous lakes and remote tarns.

Every year thousands of visitors enjoy this unspoilt region, and protecting it is an ongoing job for the Rangers. Their current work is focused on urgently required repairs to upland footpaths, which they’ve been maintaining for over 25 years now, to ensure that you can continue to enjoy this landscape for ever.

Rangers and volunteers having a well-earned rest while helping to clear pathway drainage on the fells above Grasmere, Cumbria
Rangers and volunteers having a well-earned rest on the fells above Grasmere | © National Trust Images/Paul Harris

Resurrecting Allan Bank from the flames

The great fire

In March 2011, disaster struck when a serious fire damaged a large part of Allan Bank, leaving most of the remaining parts of the house severely affected by water and smoke damage. Thankfully no-one was injured but the property was left in a sorry state.

Though tragic, the fire presented us with an opportunity to open Allan Bank to the public for the first time in 200 years, allowing people to enjoy its rich history and magnificent views. And so an ambitious project began.

A phoenix rising from the ashes

The rebuilding project involved some noteworthy traditional building techniques such as lathe and lime plastering, which has been used for hundreds of years. Although expensive, it’s a great option for older buildings because its flexibility allows it to move with the walls as they change shape over time.

Meanwhile the grounds contain fascinating relics of the former designed landscape: pathways, viewpoints and water features that have been inaccessible to the public for decades. Our rangers and volunteers have worked to uncover and restore these impressive features.

Welcoming visitors and looking forward

In 2012, we opened the doors to the property. The house was unfurnished and undecorated so that everyone could proffer their restoration ideas and be a part of shaping Allan Bank’s future.

The people who came told us that they loved it just as it was. However our vision is for Allan Bank to become a unique and special place for all. Its past was shaped by the creativity of its former residents and its future by the ideas and feelings of those who visit now.

So please do come and pay us a visit and let us know your thoughts.

Thank you

With your ongoing support, we're able to continue our vital conservation work. Thank you for helping to protect these special places.

The cream exterior of Allan Bank house on a sunny day


Everyone needs nature, now more than ever. Donate today and you could help people and nature to thrive at the places we care for.

Family enjoying a picnic on the lawn at Allan Bank, Grasmere

Things to do at Allan Bank and Grasmere 

With rugged 19th century woodland grounds, formal lawns, an art gallery and surrounding countryside and lakes to explore, there’s plenty to see and do at Allan Bank and Grasmere.

Landscape of green fields, hills and lake in distance and blue sky

Walking in Grasmere 

From relaxing lakeshore strolls to fell-top expeditions, when it comes to walking you’re spoilt for choice here in Grasmere. Here are some popular walks to get you started.

Visitors admiring the view at Allan Bank and Grasmere, Cumbria

Visiting Allan Bank with your dog 

Allan Bank is a three pawprint rated place. Well-behaved dogs on leads are more than welcome at Allan Bank, inside or outside – even muddy ones.

A group of people walking along a grassy path through an avenue of trees in full leaf

For everyone, for ever: our strategy to 2025 

Read about our strategy 'For everyone, for ever' here at the National Trust, which will take the organisation through to 2025.

A man looking down the guard around a tree sapling, in a landscape dotted with other newly planted trees

Our cause 

We believe that nature, beauty and history are for everyone. That’s why we’re supporting wildlife, protecting historic sites and more. Find out about our work.