An unspoiled, spirit-enhancing countryside view celebrated by the 19th-century critic and poet John Ruskin as one of the most beautiful in the world is under threat unless £1m can be raised.
It was after a visit in 1875 that Ruskin described the view over the River Lune from the churchyard of St Mary’s in Kirkby Lonsdale as “one of the loveliest in England, therefore in the world”.
He wrote: “Whatever moorland hill, and sweet river, and English forest foliage can be seen at their best is gathered there. And chiefly seen from the steep bank which falls to the stream side from the upper part of the town itself … I do not know in all my own country, still less in France or Italy, a place more naturally divine, or a more priceless possession of true ‘Holy Land’.”
The view was painted by JMW Turner in 1822 but it was already famous, with the poet William Wordsworth describing it as a place not to be missed in his 1810 Guide to the Lakes. It is the reason why many tourists visit the small Cumbrian market town, but if they do so today they will come across a locked gate…