The Premises

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  • The Premises

View west, towards Ennerdale Water

The Centre occupies a traditional 17th Century Lakeland farmhouse and outbuildings, once one of the largest and most important sheep farms in England. It is managed as a Registered Charity, No. 1188956

Resident Warden

Our Managing Warden Ellen Cloete and her family, live on site in the separate building (on the left) and will meet you on arrival, to give you an introduction and information you require. 
To book accommodation, please see the Bookings page.


Please locate the Managing Warden on arrival.
Click here for directions to LGFC, and if this is your first visit, these additional notes will help you.

You can unload into the multi-purpose barn (large black doors on right) or park in the main car park. The car park is multi use, so please park respectfully. Parking is not permitted on the forest tracks.

Group Leaders and/or Parents

Please enter everyones name on the Fire List in the lounge near the front door. If the alarm is raised, assemble in the car park (designated fire assembly point). Our Managing Warden may not always be around, or may not hear the alarm from another building.

Also please advise your group that as we generate our own 230v AC power, we have limited capacity for hair dryers or other heated appliances. However, you will be able to charge your phones, music players, laptops, etc. We also advise you all to bring a torch.

It's unlikely that your mobile phone will work in the valley bottom - you may have to walk up the hill to get a signal, but we do have a payphone! (see bottom of page). We also have satellite broadband in the classroom.

Self Catering

The self-catering kitchen has: 

  • a double sink and separate hand-wash basin
  • a stainless steel work table
  • 2 catering gas cookers
    • 6 hobs and large oven
    • 4 hobs and a smaller oven
  • a catering grill and an extractor
  • most standard cooking pots and utensils (large and small)
  • a large fridge and a separate large freezer
  • BBQ (outside) - bring your own fuels and any special utensils you may need.

The 'middle' kitchen has a disused fireplace with an old cooking pot hanger, and an interesting side oven. This was the original farmhouse kitchen. There is additional shelving in here for your supplies, and a foldaway table and chairs can be supplied if you have difficulty accessing the dining room.

Managing Warden Catering

Our Managing Warden, Ellen, can now provide a catering service for your group - large or small - and meals may start from as little as £5.50 and £2.50 for a dessert. She can offer to do breakfast, lunch (plated or packed), evening meal or barbecue, and can work around others using the kitchen. With enough notice she can cater for all tastes, and can arrange to do all the shopping too! If you wish to include a specific or uncommon ingredient, ask Ellen, or bring it with you. Please give at least one week's notice, and discuss all your requirements, including prices, with Ellen.


The dining room is above the kitchen, and can seat 40 people on 5 tables with bench seating. There are also some picnic benches outside near the barbeque, and in the field.

All cutlery, crockery, tea towels, scourers and washing-up liquid are provided, and there is a double sink and drainers for washing-up.


Unfortunately our local Council don't do separate recycle collections in this remote area, so we ask you to take glass, plastic and cans away with you. Paper, card and combustible waste can be used in our boiler, so we provide a bin for 'burnable' rubbish. Other waste can go into bags in the 'non-burn' bin to be taken by the refuse collectors.
There is a compost bin outside the kitchen for waste fruit, veg, etc. 


The main house has 2 lounges with log fires. The small lounge has a closed wood-burning stove and is carpeted, and the larger one still has an original stone flagged floor. You should find enough logs and kindling by the fire for your entire stay. Please ask if you need any more, but as we have to buy logs in, we advise that there will be an additional charge for extra logs used - see Fees page.


We have 5 dormitories, named after some of the tenant farmers who once worked here.

In the main house tehre are 4 dormitories:

  • Tyson Room - 10 bunks
  • Richardson Room - 8 bunks
  • Birkett Room - 4 bunks
  • Kirkhaugh Room - 4 bunks
  • Colebank Room - 14 bunks. The Colebank room is at the west end of an indoor corridor.

    All bunks have a waterproof mattress and pillow, but you will need your own sleeping bag and pillowcase.

Due to the Covid 19 pandemic we are unable to supply pillows and blankets, so please make sure you dont forget a pillow ! 


Along the indoor corridor (behind the main barn) there are separate male and female toilet facilities. These have been completely refitted and each has multiple basins, WC's and hot showers (included in your bednight fees). We have added a separate accessible WC/wet room to facilitate disabled access and baby changing, or for your staff or leader use, etc.

There is an additional double sink near the Colebank dormitory, for cleaning duties and campers.

Drying room

There is a useful heated drying room in the house, near the bottom of the stairs, but larger or wetter items and footwear might be better left in the barn.

Multi-purpose barn

There is a large multi-purpose barn which is available for gentler indoor games. There is a table tennis table and darts board. Please ask the Managing Warden for the equipment. There are coat hooks, hangers and boot racks in the barn for your outdoor gear and very wet clothing. The upper floor is not available to visitors.

After dark

As we generate our own power, there may be very rare occasions when it is unavailable. Low power night lights operate between dusk and dawn in the main areas. We advise you to bring torches.

We are miles away from the nearest street lamps, so it really does get very dark outside. On a clear night you can often see the "Milky Way" with the naked eye. We are a UK Dark Sky Discovery site and hold regular Dark Sky Discovery events. You are welcome  to bring your binoculars or telescope!

Wolfson Room

Across the yard is the Wolfson Room - named thanks to a grant received from the Wolfson Foundation. This classroom/study room is available to Centre users at no extra charge (and to non-Centre users on a pay-per-day basis), but needs to be arranged with the Warden in advance. It is heated independently from the Centre, and we may be able to loan you some field study items, like microscopes, maps and compasses.

There is limited wireless broadband available only in the classroom. We reserve the right to charge for this, and we ask you to moderate your usage, e.g. no large downloads, live streaming, etc. Our Managing Warden needs this service and can also supply you with any access details. Please also be aware that it can be unreliable and limited.


Our own 2 acre field can be used for outdoor games, camping, stargazing, birdwatching, etc. Part of this field is fenced off as a garden, so please heed any signs or marked areas, and be aware of any livestock. 


Dogs are welcome at Gillerthwaite, but remember that not everyone loves and understands them as much as you do - particularly our resident livestock, or other people's children.
The Managing Warden's dogs and other domestic animals live on site, and this is their home.
Visitors' dogs are NOT allowed in the Centre buildings (except the barn), where they must be tethered or kept in a suitable enclosure. Please keep your dog(s) on a leash around the Centre, and you absolutely must clean up after them.
There are also collapsible cages available for use inside the barn. Please consult the Managing Warden if you wish to bring your own cage/kennel, which you may also be able to erect in the barn.

Before you leave

Like most hostels, we expect users to clean the Centre and leave it as they found it. A set of cleaning cards will be made available to you or your group leader. 

If you don't have the time or energy, the Managing Warden can offer a cleaning service after you leave. Please ask about the charging rates for this when you make your booking.

Lost property will be held for a while, but if you think you've left something, you should contact the Managing Warden as soon as possible. If an item is not claimed after a reasonable period we may need to dispose of it. 

Public telephone

We allow public use of our private payphone. This is the telephone marked on many maps of the area, and is located in the outside lobby adjacent to the kitchen east door (1st right down the drive). Access is always maintained.

It will receive incoming calls on 01946 862899, but will not take messages. Mobile signals are generally poor or non-existent within the valley. Remember to bring some 20p, 50p or £1 coins to make outgoing calls.


  • Low Gillerthwaite Field Centre,
    Ennerdale, Cleator,
    Cumbria, CA23 3AX
  • Tel : 01946 861229
  • Email :
  • Grid Ref : NY139141
  • Latitude : 54.5148 (N)
  • Longitude : -3.3313 (W)


Click image to enlarge it 

Kitchen view - east


kitchen view - west


the 'middle' kitchen

 main lounge


Richardson dormitory from door


 part of Tyson dormitory


part of Richardson dormitory


 Kirkhaugh room



male washroom

 alternative catering facility (chef not included!)