Our own Buena Vista Crag

Since we started the garden redesign plan in 2005 we’ve had 11 different stages. This last month we decided that we needed to complete the 12th, which had been on the drawing board for some time. 

We wanted to make accessible and safe a high point in the fellside garden which overlooks the Derwent Valley and has a view across to the Hellvelyn range from Clough Head to Stybarrow Dodd. A new path to this seating area would also open up the northern end of the garden, to create a balance to the belvedere at the southern end.

For years we have had a bench up there but it was difficult to access, felt insecure and was most often used by our cat, on the look out for mice in the long grass. By keeping well trimmed the oak trees on the slope below the bench, we knew that there would always be a grand view of the mountains (and of the mice!)

We inspected the area with Rob our landscape expert and agreed a general plan. The work had then to commence with lots of heavy stone and cement being carried up the 40 feet from the road. 

What we hadn’t envisaged was that the area chosen for the seating was actually a rocky outcrop, which over the years had been covered over with earth, grasses and moss. The presence of these underlying slate beds was of course the reason the land – where the house stands – had been originally quarried in the mid 19th century. 

As we cleared the ground on the fellside and traced the route (see photo above), we realised that by cutting out a small section of rock at the back of the seating area, we could push the seat back about a foot to create a more secure and wider platform. 

Revealing the rock face – which drops down about two metres – then provided a good base for erecting a low ‘enclosure lip’ for the seating area. See the photo below of what is now an ideal spot for a quiet read, for exploring the view or for just sitting in the sun.

For visitors who enjoy a bit of scrambling, are looking for a warm up or want to try out some new boots, our new Buena Vista Crag at The Larches will also provide a small but useful new practice area. But parents with young children need to make sure that they are properly supervised if they try out this mini climbing wall.

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