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. It 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. A large roof area with a photovoltaic panel array 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.
When the attraction opens, it will employ more than 50 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.
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.