Funding approved for our new visitor facility at Haweswater

Image of the Spinning Barn pre-restoration. You can see the concrete blocks that have replaced the previous timber features. The door to the right is the proposed entrance to the new Community and Visitor space.

We are excited to be getting a new, indoor, community facility thanks to a £135,000 grant from FCC Communities Foundation. The money will be used to restore our former Cumbrian Spinning Barn to its original appearance and create a Community and Visitor space. This will be an indoor hub for us to host groups and events as well as providing information to those of you visiting our office base at Haweswater.

We believe this facility will make a difference to locals and visitors alike. We already get bookings from lots of individuals and groups who come from nearby, around Cumbria and further afield, coming to find out more about our work here. However, we don’t currently have any suitable indoor space to host them, which isn’t ideal in the Lake District weather.

This restored Spinning Barn will mean we have a dry, comfortable place for group visits and our existing events and experiences programme, as well as being able to offer new events such as art and craft workshops and wellbeing activities for a diverse range of people. At times when it is not in use by organised groups, it will be available for locals to use as a community facility and anyone walking through on the public rights of way or Coast to Coast walkers, to pop in and find more information about our work here with United Utilities, to restore the landscape for wildlife, water and people.

As a former Cumbrian Spinning Barn where workers on the farm would have spun sheep’s wool, we are keen to see the return of the timber features that would have been present historically, rather than the current concrete blocks. This building is an important part of the site’s heritage, and we still have a working farm here, so the interpretation that will go inside the revamped space, will provide information on the history of the site as well as how we are combining regenerative farming and nature conservation on-site today.

Image of the Spinning Barn, c. 1920, with original timber uprights and railings which will be restored as part of this project.

It’s fantastic that FCC Communities Foundation has awarded us this money and we’re really looking forward to our Community and Visitor Hub taking shape over the next year.

FCC Communities Foundation is a not-for-profit business that awards grants for community projects through the Landfill Communities Fund.

Richard Smith, FCC Communities Foundation senior grant manager, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the restoration of the spinning barn and pleased our funding will benefit so many visitors to Haweswater. FCC Communities Foundation is always happy to consider grant applications for projects that improve local communities and we’re looking forward to this one making a difference very soon.”

John Gorst, Catchment Partnership Officer for United Utilities, said: “We’re really excited by the opportunities having this facility will create for visitors.  As a partnership, we’re really passionate about all the work that we’re undertaking on the catchment land around Haweswater and having this facility will provide a space for people to find out more.”

We hope the Community and Visitor Hub will be ready to use in early 2025. To find out more about the work of the RSPB and United Utilities at Haweswater, visit Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates on how the Spinning Barn restoration is coming on too!

– Blog by Annabel Rushton, RSPB Visitor Experience Manager

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