Information – Proposed New Visitor Attraction

About the proposed project

Cumbria could become the home to Europe’s first gravity powered, downhill luge track.  This unique experience will attract new visitors to the local area, helping to attract and disperse tourism throughout Cumbria.  The original luge experience was established in New Zealand in 1985 and others can now be found in a growing number of locations across the world.  This Cumbrian luge track would be the first in Europe.

The attraction is being proposed by Daniel Holder and Charles Lowther.  They are both owners of long term and successful and responsible businesses in Cumbria.  They are committed to building and operating one of the country’s first fully  sustainable visitor attractions.

The track itself will sit unobtrusively within an established maturing, managed woodland on the northern side of Blaze Fell, on Nord Vue Farm, with excellent access less than a mile from the main arterial A6 main road.   Armathwaite is situated two miles further down this road. This nearly 20 year old maturing woodland contains a natural gully around which we have designed the attraction.  The fell is flanked by the main high voltage power lines running through this part of Cumbria.

The luge track itself will comprise a 3m wide, 850m long concrete track that meanders down this hillside under a canopy of existing trees. The track route has been carefully designed so that a minimum of healthy trees will need to be removed and the vast majority of trees will be left untouched (riding silently, close to nature, through lots of trees is part of the enjoyment).  The project will also see many new trees being planted to increase the existing woodland, linking it to other woodlands on Nord Vue Farm. New ponds will be added to improve the habitat for newts and other wildlife.  Natural England have stated that this project will improve the biodiversity of the area, which is great news.

An attractive operations building will be built into the hill making it virtually invisible from the surrounding area, and with sustainability being at the forefront of this proposal, the  building has been designed to be self-sufficient and carbon neutral.  The roof area will be covered with a photovoltaic panel array which will power the building.   The track will utilise the latest low carbon concrete and the foundations will be built with stone from the on-site quarry.

Access to the attraction on Nord Vue Farm will be via the A6 and M6 approaches, and private car use will be minimised in favour of shuttle buses and new public transport routes (which will also favour the local communities)

When the attraction opens, it will employ more than 20-30 people in full-time, well paid local jobs.  Roles will include hospitality, customer service, engineering, maintenance, ecology and marketing.  In addition, several local firms have already been involved in developing the proposals and we will actively promote opportunities for local suppliers to work with us. It will provide a viable farm diversification to Nord Vue Farm in the shadow of a very uncertain agricultural outlook.  The attraction will only occupy a tiny percentage of Blaze Fell, the hill it sits on, and all walking routes will be maintained.


We understand that with any new proposal, especially one that proposes a brand-new idea, there will be intense local scrutiny.  While the objectors say this attraction will be “a blot on the landscape and a blight on local people’s lives” we honestly believe that there will be no negative impact to the surrounding local communities. We are part of this community, sensitive to any potential impact, and as such have engaged with the local community to understand their concerns and mitigate any perceived impact.  The site will not generate increased noise levels.  Traffic will not be noticeably increased in Armathwaite and the locality.  The slight visual impact observed only from far distance will be lessened as the existing woodland naturally matures in height. This hillside is already home to numerous large high voltage pylons and a disused quarry.

More than 2000 people have supported this proposed attraction online compared with 1500 online objections via a petition organised by The Friends of the Lake District. The proposal is not within the Lake District.

If planning permission is granted, Cumbria will gain a world class attraction which will operate as a truly carbon neutral business.  It will improve biodiversity, drive employment, support local business and be a real asset to the Cumbrian economy and its local community.

See the plans

Project Team

Daniel Holder – Developer and Director

Charles Lowther – Landowner and Director

Marie-Louisa Raeburn – Landowner and Director

George Scott – Architect, Manning-Elliott, Penrith

Andy Poole – Drainage expert.  Tweddell & Slater, Penrith.

Mike Peet B.Eng (Hons), C.Eng, MICE, FCIHT, AMNI Transportation, Transport planning expert, Wigan.

Les Osborne – Luge Consultant, New Zealand

Ian Jack – Tree and forestry expert, Penrith.

Ash Bennett CEnv MCIEEM – Ecology expert, Penrith.

Mel Kenyon MSc BSc MIOA -Noise impact expert,  Martec Environmental Consultants, Lancaster.

Daniel Holder

Daniel graduated in engineering in 1987 and began work with Lithium batteries.  In 1989 he moved to Cumbria where he began his first business, manufacturing Lithium batteries for the domestic market place.   In 2000 he bought a holiday park near Ullswater and began a 20 year journey to transform it into a  sustainable business.

The Quiet Site became the first (and only) holiday park in the UK to win a Queens Award for Sustainable Development in 2020.

The Quiet Site was awarded Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year 2023 by Visit England.

Daniel is a founder member of the SITU (Sustainable Integrated Transport Ullswater) and is a local Parish Councillor.

Charles Lowther and Marie-Louisa Raeburn

Charles and Marie-Louisa , brother and sister, are Eden Valley landowners with a 800 year Cumbrian vintage.  In 2008 they restored and opened the hugely successful gastro pub,  The George and Dragon.  In 2013 they transformed the family seat, Askham Hall,  into a Michelin starred restaurant and award winning hotel. In 2020 the Queen’s Head in Askham joined the growing Askham collection.

Askham Hall was awarded Small Hotel of the Year by Visit England in 2023.

In his spare time Charles is a keen (and successful!) fell runner and wine enthusiast.  Marie-Louisa enjoys both travel and horses.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many people will the attraction employ?

Initially this attraction will employ around 30 – 50 people.

We will be looking for individuals with a passion for providing a fun and exciting experience for guests of all ages. Responsibilities will include ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience, operating our luge and chairlift equipment, and providing outstanding customer service. Additionally we will be looking for service engineers, marketeers, food professionals, front of house,  administrators, HR, ecologists and a professional grounds team.
Great interpersonal skills, physical fitness, and commitment to work in a fast-paced, team-oriented environment are a must.

Where in the world can I find a Luge track?

To date there are two luge tracks in New Zealand, two in Canada and one in both Korea and Singapore. If planning permission is granted for the Cumbrian track then this would be the first attraction of its kind in Europe.  Swansea in Wales also have aspirations to open the first track in Europe – but as yet they have not started to seek planning permission.  The developer of the Swansea track is from New Zealand so, if approved, profits from will disappear overseas.   The Welsh Government likes the idea so much that they have pledged £4 million in support of the project.

Why have you chosen this location?

The location is ideal because:

  1. It has excellent transport links being close to both the M6 motorway and the railway network.
  2. It is a suitably sized hill that is already wooded.
  3. It is not close to significant numbers of houses.
  4. It will not give rise to any significant visual changes to the area.
  5.  It is outside of the Lake District National Park and will fulfil the Attract and Disperse policy of Cumbria Tourism
  6. It will improve the biodiversity of the area.

What is the carbon content of the track?

Embedded carbon

Concrete track   850 x 3 x 0.1 = 255 M3

Using low carbon concrete we can achieve 160 kg CO2 per M3.

Total embedded carbon in track is  = 40,800Kg CO2.

Operational life span of track is 50 years, so embedded carbon is around 816 Kg CO2 per year.

For context, a family car has 6500Kg of embedded carbon (650KG CO2/year). A flight to NY has 1000KG carbon/passenger.

Track Sub-base 85o x 4 x 0.4 = 2380 M3. Sub-base already on site.  Embedded carbon is 0Kg.

Will the increase in traffic affect residents from Armathwaite?

While it is not possible to ban vehicles from continuing to the village of Armathawaite following a visit to the attraction, it is very unlikely any significant numbers will do so. The vast majority of private cars will return to their destinations via  A6/M6 corridors.

Any guests who choose to arrive via train at Armathwaite Station will be picked up by minibus.

How much noise will the attraction make?

Noise from the attraction can be broken down into

  1. Noise from traffic.  There will be virtually no increase in traffic noise in the village of Armathwaite.
  2. Noise from the attraction. Luge karts run virtually silently (rubber wheels on concrete). The loudest sound from the attraction is likely to come from the people riding on the karts . The track is surrounded by trees, in a dip and more than  1.5 miles from the village of Armathawaite, where the sound will not be audible.
  3. When standing on Blaze Fell, the main sound you can hear is a loud hum from the M6.

How much opposition is there to the project?

With any new proposal there will always be local scrutiny.

A petition of 1040 names objecting to the scheme was presented by 22 local people to councillors at Penrith Town Hall. This online petition was was heavily promoted by the ‘Friends of the Lake District’, a very successful  lobby organisation whose sole purpose is to object to any developments they don’t agree with within the Lake District National Park. The proposed site is not within the Lake District National Park.

On close scrutiny around 80% of the signatures on the online petition are from outside Cumbria, and many from abroad. The majority of the objections given are all very similar and follow the suggested ‘reason to object’ by the Friends of the Lake District organisation.

In our opinion the site chosen will have minimal impact on the local residents of Armathwaite  as it is nearly 2 miles away.

Will the ecology of the site be affected?

The ecology of the proposed site was dramatically improved 18 years ago when it was fenced off from grazing and planted with hundreds of mixed native trees. The proposed attraction will, according to Nature England,  further improve the site ecology by adding more trees, ponds and un-grazed meadow.

Natural England have reported that the site will provide net gains for biodiversity and also provide opportunities to secure wider environmental gains.

What will the operational carbon footprint be?

The main emitter of operational carbon will be from the transport used to get to the attraction. This will be combatted by using dedicated buses running from Carlisle Station, Keswick, Penrith, Windermere and Ullswater Holiday Parks.

The chairlift will use electric from PV panels and bought sustainably from the grid so will have no carbon cost.

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