Windermere & Bowness

Jenny Baker
Rachel Crowfoot
Local Information

Windermere is a small yet charming lakeland town situated 1 mile from the lake shores. It is a centre for walking and climbing, and has many attractions including the Lake District National Park Visitor Centre at Brockhole. Bowness-on-Windermere is situated on the shores of the lake and is the largest town in the National Park. It has opportunities for many kinds of excursion on the lake and is the home of the Windermere Steamboat Museum. At 10.5 miles long and 0.5 miles wide, Windermere is England's largest lake.


The Windermere and Bowness Fair Trade group started with just two people in April 2003. This was followed by further meetings at which friends from Kendal showed us the way forward. We launched the Fairtrade Town campaign with a meeting at the Hydro Hotel, Bowness attended by about 100 people. Bruce Crowther from the Fairtrade Foundation and Simeon Greene representing banana farmers in the Windward Isles were the main speakers. In addition we had 6 local speakers including managers from Booths and Co-op supermarkets and a guest house owner. Active campaigning continued. Initially our local council was very critical of Fairtrade but we eventually won their support and achieved Fairtrade status in June 2004.

Our celebrations took place on May 14th 2005. We were fortunate in having the support of Windermere Lake Cruises who gave us their largest boat for the afternoon. By March, Ambleside had achieved Fairtrade status and we decided to celebrate jointly with them. This was particularly apt as we had started together.

Our Fairtrade cruise took place in glorious sunshine. We had about 300 guests and 200 members of the public on board as the Teal sailed around Windermere. Our guests included Bruce Crowther, Tim Faron MP, our Mayor and Chairman of the South Lakes District Council, Taffy Thomas a local storyteller and Benjamin Bunny.

Forty two banners showing the support of local shops, restaurants, attractions and schools greeted people at the pier and a samba band dressed in red with their leader on stilts played as guests boarded the boat.

The North Eastern Co-op gave us 36 bottles of Fairtrade wine and local supermarkets supplied enough Fairtrade samples to feed all 500 people on board. Finally we had a huge cake made with Fairtrade ingredients by a local cake studio.

Over the past 3 years our group have visited nearly all the hotels and guest houses in our areas. We have held tastings in our local supermarkets, talks in schools, exhibitions in the library and have had a stand at the Annual Air Show which attracts over 3,000 visitors.

Events 2009-2011

2009 began with a very successful event on the steamer quay on Bowness bay to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight. Members of the Group handed out bananas and leaflets to holidaymakers and passersby to promote the Fairtrade message. The Mayor of Windermere, Bill Smith, joined us and even wore a banana hat. To the delight of many children we also had a visit from Peter Rabbit and the occasion was made even more special by members of Windermere School's band entertaining despite the inclement weather.

In May 2009 a slate plaque, in recognition of the Fairtrade status of Windermere and Bowness, was erected in an ornamental flower bed opposite the steamer quay on Bowness Bay. Tim Farron M.P., Mayor Bill Smith, representatives of local businesses and groups attended the ceremony of 'planting' the plaque. Afterwards tea and excellent cake was very kindly provided by the Old England Hotel in Bowness

For Fairtrade Fortnight 2010 once again members of the group were on the steamer quay on Bowness bay, this time handing out samples of Fairtrade chocolate and teabags again assisted by Peter Rabbit and the mayor. A social evening was held for group members to celebrate the award of an OBEto Joe Human and he gave a fascinating in-depth talk on Fairtrade which was particularly interesting for partners of group members.

In early December a 'Taste of Fairtrade' coffee morning was held at the Windermere Hydro Hotel, courtesy of Ken Burchill, the owner.Six local businesses attended, displaying examples of Fairtrade clothing, food and goods. The highlight was a Fashion Show organised by a Bowness shop, Breeze, which specialises in Fairtrade clothing and accessories. Despite the snowy weather the event was well attended and enjoyed by all. Many thanks to the Hydro Hotel for providing the room anfd coffee.

Rotary Club 2011
Fairtrade Town Road Signs

Fairtrade town signs are now installed on the three roads coming into Windermere and Bowness and members of the group celebrated with a photo at the Windermere sign, followed by coffee at Booths supermarket. Many thanks in particular go to Davina Thomson for her persistent efforts in getting the signs approved.

On Monday 27th June members will meet prospective members of the Ambleside Fairtrade Group in the Parish Rooms in Ambleside with a view ro reviving the Ambleside group.