|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2009)|
Rydal Road, Ambleside town centre
Ambleside shown within Cumbria
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||North West England|
|UK Parliament||Westmorland and Lonsdale|
Ambleside is a town in Cumbria, in North West England. Historically within the county of Westmorland, it is situated at the head of Windermere, England's largest lake. The town is within the Lake District National Park.
Steamers (in reality diesel-powered ferries) run to Bowness-on-Windermere and Lakeside offering fine views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Ambleside is a base for hiking, mountaineering and mountain biking. It has a number of hotels, guest houses, pubs and restaurants as well as shops. In particular, there are a number of shops selling equipment for walkers and climbers in the town.
The town's name is derived from Old Norse Á-mel-sǽtr = "river – sandbank – summer pasture".
In 1650 the town was granted a charter to hold a market and later, in the reign of James II, another charter was granted for the town to collect tolls. The town's Market Place became the commercial centre for agriculture and the wool trade. The old packhorse trail between Ambleside and Grasmere was the main route between the two towns before the new turnpike road was completed in 1770. Smithy Brow at the end of the trail was where packponies were re-shod after their journey. With the coming of the turnpikes, the packhorse trains were superseded by horse-drawn stagecoaches, which regularly travelled between Keswick and Kendal via Ambleside.
William Wordsworth worked in Ambleside, as Distributor of Stamps for Westmorland, from 1813, while living at Rydal Mount in the nearby village of Rydal, This government position induced Shelley to write a sonnet of mild reprimand, To Wordsworth, but it gave Wordsworth the financial security to pursue his poetry. In 1842, he became the Poet Laureate and resigned his office as Stamp Distributor.
The Armitt Library and Museum provides a source of local history with a collection which represents many of the local artists and writers of the past.
Bridge House was built over Stock Ghyll more than 300 years ago probably as a summer house and apple store for Ambleside Hall. It was purchased by local people in 1926 and given to the National Trust. Listed Grade I, the building is now used as an information centre for the National Trust, and is part of the Trust's Windermere and Troutbeck property.
The building was depicted by the Victorian landscapist Lewis Pinhorn Wood (1848-1918) in his late 19th century work The Cobbler's Shop on the Bridge.
University of Cumbria
The Ambleside campus of the University of Cumbria, formerly St. Martin's College and Charlotte Mason College, can be found at the northern end of the town; courses held at the campus include teacher training, leisure and outdoor studies.
On 1 December 2009, it was announced that the Ambleside campus would be 'mothballed' at the end of July 2010, and would no longer take new undergraduate students. The closure was in the face of fierce opposition from the Ambleside students, the townspeople of Ambleside, and in spite of support pledged from Tim Farron, MP for the campus and its students.
In July 2011, the university announced a plan to reopen the campus and increase student numbers at the Ambleside campus beginning in 2014.
St Mary's Church
Prior to the seventeenth century the dead of Ambleside were buried at St Martin's Church, Bowness-on-Windermere. Ambleside then gained the right to its own registers and had a chapel dedicated to St Anne. This was too small to accommodate the enlarged Anglican congregations as tourism developed following the opening of the Kendal and Windermere Railway in 1847. St Mary's Church was built in the 1850s to a design by George Gilbert Scott in the Gothic Revival style. Notable features include its stone spire, an unusual feature in Westmorland churches, which makes the church the tallest building in the town. There is a mural depicting rushbearing (a ceremony which is held on the first Saturday in July). The mural was created in the Second World War when the Royal College of Art was based in Ambleside.
The Catholic Church of Mater Amabilis Church is on Wansfell road; part of the Ambleside one-way system. Until September 2013 it was part of the Combined Parish of Ambleside and Grasmere; but upon the retirement of Rev Fr David Duanne (the Parish Priest) it joined with the Parish of St Herberts Windermere, with the parish priest Rev Fr Kevan Dorgan of Windermere moving into the adjoining house in Ambleside and services in Grasmere discontinuing.
Ambleside has a relatively large number of pubs for its size with some ten pubs and bars within a quarter-mile radius. They are supported by the tourist industry, so essential to the town, as well as the student population associated with the University of Cumbria.
The town maintains one of the busiest volunteer mountain rescue teams in Great Britain: The Langdale & Ambleside MRT.
- http://www.visitcumbria.com/amb/galava.htm Retrieved on 7 February 2008
- Ambleside OnLine – a local history
- "History of Ambleside". Golakes. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
- Wordsworth's Stamp Office, Ambleside, Cumbria. waymarking.com
- Bridge House – Information from a notice at Bridge House.
- "Facebook Petition Group". Facebook.
- "MP recruits new students in fight to save Ambleside campus". Tim Farron MP. 22 September 2008.
- "MP takes Ambleside campaign to Westminster". Tim Farron MP. 10 November 2008.
- "MP asks new Vice Chancellor of University Cumbria to scrap plans to downgrade Ambleside campus". Tim Farron MP. 18 March 2009.
- Eve, Kelly (28 September 2011). "Cumbria university plan to reopen mothballed Ambleside campus". News and Star.
- St Mary’s Church
- Bingham, Roger (2011). "Guide book reveals". Westmorland Gazette. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
- "Church of St Mary". English Heritage. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
- Leslie Duxbury (2008), Bohemians in Exile: The Royal College of Art in Ambleside, 1940-1945. "Bohemians in Exile" was also the title of a 2011 exhibition at the Armitt Museum.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ambleside, Cumbria.|
- Windermere and Troutbeck (including Bridge House) information at the National Trust
- Ambleside Photographs On the Ambleside, Cumbria website.
- The Windermere Way – a walking route that goes right around the lake.