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 now managed as a Registered Charity, No. CC 529193.

Resident Warden

Our Warden Ellen Cloete, together with Assistant Walter (her husband), lives with a young family in the separate building on the left (south). and would like to meet you on arrival, to give an introduction and appraise you of any emergency procedures.
To book accommodation, please see the Bookings page.


Please locate the Warden on arrival - in case the Centre is locked, or there are any new conditions in force.
Click here for directions to LGFC, and if this is your first visit, these additional notes will help you.

You may normally unload into the multi-purpose barn (large black doors on right), then continue through the gap and park in the main car park on the left by the hedge. This is a public right of way, and is on Alfred Wainwright's well-known coast-to-coast route. It's also a Fire muster point, a turning area and a farmer's access route, so please park tidily. If you can't find space, ask the Warden, as parking on the forest tracks is not permitted.

Group Leaders and/or Parents

Please take a few minutes to read the folder notes in the kitchen, and enter everyone's name on the Fire List in the lounge near the front door. This is mainly for your use if the alarm is raised, so we recommend that you nominate a responsible adult to collect the Fire List in the event of an alarm, and take it to the muster point (car park). Our 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 gas cookers - one is a catering size with 6 hobs and large oven, and one is a smaller size with 4 hobs and smaller oven. Adjacent is a catering-type gas grill and above is an extractor. Most standard cooking pots and utensils (large and small) are available.
As our hydro-electricity should now be available for longer, we have replaced the old gas fridge with a larger, more efficient electric one - and provided a separate freezer, both located adjacent to the kitchen. You may now bring ready-prepared catering trays or frozen dishes!

If you'd like to cook outside with Pillar as a backdrop, a sturdy barbeque is available to all users (see image). You should bring your own fuels, and any special utensils you may need. It was generously provided by one of our regular visitors, and constructed to their particular requirements.

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.

Warden Catering

Our 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.
We now have a compost bin outside the kitchen for waste fruit, veg, etc. Also the Warden may be interested in certain items of food waste for their livestock.


The main house has 2 lounges with log fires. The small lounge (now with a closed wood-burning stove) is carpeted, and the larger one still has an original stone flagged floor, and game(?) hooks in the ceiling. You should find logs and kindling in here because our Warden has left them for you! Please ask if you need any more, but as we have to buy logs in, and due to some large demands, we advise that we have had to introduce an additional charge for extra logs used on the lounge fires - see Fees page.


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

In the main house, the Tyson Room has 10 bunks, the Richardson Room has 8, and the Birkett and Kirkhaugh Rooms each have 4. The Colebank dormitory is at the west end of an indoor corridor, and has 14 bunks. All bunks have a waterproof mattress and pillow, but you will need your own sleeping bag and pillowcase.


Along the indoor corridor (behind the main barn) there are separate male and female toilet facilities. These were completely refitted in 2015, 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

The indoor corridor also gives access to the large barn where you may have unloaded on arrival, the ground floor of which is also available for gentler indoor games. A regular visitor has generously donated a Table Tennis table and Darts Board, so you could bring your own bats, balls, darts, etc. There are coat hooks, lockers, 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 occasions when it is unavailable. Low power night lights operate between dusk and dawn in the main areas including lounge, stairs and corridors, but not inside the dormitories. This is why we also advise you each to bring a torch.

We are miles away from the nearest street lamps, so it really does get very dark outside. Sometimes so dark in fact, that we are in the "Milky Way" class on the UK Dark Sky Discovery website. This means that the Milky Way is easily visible with the naked eye on a clear dark night . . . so remember 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.

We can now offer limited Wireless Broadband to our visitors. However, our stone walls are very thick, so this works best in the classroom area. 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 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 managed as a wild meadow and part is fenced off as a garden, so please heed any signs or marked areas, and be aware of any livestock. The garden also houses our wigloo (see Activities page) which your younger members may enjoy playing in.


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 Warden's dog, Liza, 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.
A larger shed/kennel can be made available near the car park, and there is also a collapsible cage available for use inside the barn. Please consult the 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 leave the Centre at least as clean as when they arrived. You should set your own cleaning rota, but to avoid duplication there are some cards in the kitchen which may be handed round, with notes relating to the cleaning of the various areas.

If you don't have the time or energy, the 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 Warden as soon as possible. If an item is not claimed after a reasonable period we may need to dispose of it, or offer it to another visitor. We have collected too many torches, toiletries and dirty clothes over the years!

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 dormitory


Colebank dormitory from door


male washroom

 alternative catering facility (chef not included!)