Coniston shown within Cumbria
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||North West England|
|UK Parliament||Westmorland and Lonsdale|
Coniston is a village and civil parish in the Furness region of Cumbria, England. It is located in the southern part of the Lake District National Park, between Coniston Water, the third longest lake in the Lake District, and Coniston Old Man; about 18 miles (29 km) north east of Barrow-in-Furness.
Geography and administration
" 'The king's estate or village'. The 2nd el.[ement] is OE tūn, and the whole name may, like numerous English Kingstons, be from OE 'cyninges-tūn'. ... Scand[inavian] influence is, meanwhile, shown by the '-o-' of early and modern spellings, and Ekwall speculated that this could have been the centre of a 'small Scandinavian mountain kingdom' ".
Coniston grew as both a farming village, and to serve local copper and slate mines. It grew in popularity as a tourist location during the Victorian era, thanks partially to the construction of a branch of the Furness Railway, which opened to passenger traffic in 1859 and terminated at Coniston railway station.
The poet and social critic John Ruskin also popularised the village, buying the mansion Brantwood on the Eastern side of Coniston Water in 1871. Before his death, he rejected the chance to be buried in Westminster Abbey, instead being laid to rest in the churchyard of St Andrews, Coniston. Ruskin Museum, established in 1901, is both a memorial to Ruskin and a local museum covering the history and heritage of Coniston Water and the Lake District.
The whole village was powered by hydroelectricity during the 1920s but this became so heavily taxed that the people there were forced to return to the national grid. Ironically, since 7 March 2007 a hydro-electric scheme has been in use to power up to 300 homes; being sited near the original.
As with the rest of the British Isles, Coniston experiences a maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters. Rainfall is high, at not much under 2000mm a year. Temperature extremes have ranged from −15.2 °C (4.6 °F) during February 1986, to 30.3 °C (86.5 °F) during August 1990. The nearest Met Office weather station is Grizedale, around 2.5 miles to the South East.
|Climate data for Grizedale 91m asl, 1971-2000, Extremes 1960- (Weather Station 2.5 miles SE of Coniston)|
|Record high °C (°F)||12.2
|Average high °C (°F)||6.2
|Average low °C (°F)||0.2
|Record low °C (°F)||−14.4
|Precipitation mm (inches)||199.48
|Source #1: YR.NO|
|Source #2: Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute|
Coniston is a popular spot for hill-walking and rock-climbing; there are fine walks to be had on the nearby Furness Fells and Grizedale Forest, and some of the finest rock in the Lake District on the eastern face of Dow Crag, 3 miles (4.8 km) from the village. The Grizedale Stages rally also takes place in Coniston, using the surrounding Grizedale and Broughton Moor (or Postlethwaite Allotment) forests.
The creation of the national park in the 1950s provided a further boost to tourism, with attractions such as the John Ruskin Museum and ferry services across the lake developing. Donald Campbell added to the profile of the village and lake when he broke four World Water Speed Records on the lake in the 1950s. He died attempting to break the world water speed record for the eighth time in 1967, when his jet boat, "Bluebird K7", crashed at 290 mph (470 km/h), having already set the record for the seventh time at Dumbleyung Lake, Western Australia in 1964. His body and boat (Bluebird K7) were discovered and recovered by divers in 2001 and he was buried in the new graveyard in Coniston in September 2001. A new wing has been built at the Ruskin Museum to accommodate the fully restored Bluebird K7 boat. It opened in late 2009 with the K7 due to arrive in late 2011 or early 2012.
The village is also home to a number of hotels and two Youth Hostels, one at the edge of the village, the other in the nearby Coppermines Valley.
Two slate quarries still operate at Coniston, one in Coppermines Valley, the other at Brossen Stone on the east side of the Coniston Old Man. Both work Coniston's volcanic slates, being blue at Low-Brandy Crag in Coppermines Valley, and light green at Brossen Stone (bursting stone).
Coniston is also an important local centre, with a Secondary School (John Ruskin School), Primary School (Coniston Church of England Primary School), bank, petrol station and other such services. It has also repeatedly been highly placed in the Village of the Year award, winning it in 1997.
- Ekwall, Eilert (1922). The place-names of Lancashire. Manchester: Chetham Society.
- Whaley, Diana (2006). A dictionary of Lake District place-names. Nottingham: English Place-Name Society. pp. lx,423 p.80–81. ISBN 0904889726.
- "1986 temperature". KNMI.
- "1990 temperature". KNMI.
- "Grizedale Climate". YR.NO. Retrieved 07 Nov 2011.
- "Grizedale Extremes". KNMI. Retrieved 07 Nov 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Coniston, Cumbria.|
- Coniston at All Experts
- Coniston Community Website
- Coniston Mountain Rescue Team
- Coniston Webcam - A view of Coniston village.