A DERELICT Lake District boathouse which featured in photographs taken by Beatrix Potter’s father has been given a new lease of life.

The famous writer and illustrator and her family spent 10 summers staying on the 40 acre Lingholm Estate near Keswick between 1885 and 1907, not only writing Squirrel Nutkin and the first manuscript of Mrs TiggyWinkle there, but also using Lingholm’s original kitchen garden as the inspiration for Mr McGregor’s garden in The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

The original boathouse was one of the features captured on camera by Beatrix’s father, Rupert Potter. Fast forward almost 140 years and a contemporary new Lingholm Boathouse has now been unveiled as a holiday hideaway on the private estate.

The 19th century structure fell into disuse more than half a century ago and had become damaged beyond repair, but the current owners of the Lingholm estate have now completed a complex construction project to create a striking, new eco-friendly boathouse adjacent to the original version on the shore of Derwentwater.

The new larch-clad building has been built on tall steel pilings and has been carefully designed to make the most of its lakeside location, while sensitively blending into the surrounding woodland of the 40 acre Lingholm Estate.

It was designed by Shaw and Jagger Architects and the building programme was very carefully controlled to ensure there was no harm to any local wildlife or lake inhabitants, including the resident otters.

With panoramic lake views, underfloor heating and a freestanding bath overlooking the water, the new contemporary glass-fronted boathouse is all fuelled by a biomass boiler.

Director of the Lingholm Estate, David Seymour, says, “We are thrilled to unveil the only new boathouse accommodation alongside Derwentwater in living memory and for us, the culmination of five years’ work. The intricate work needed to preserve the shoreline’s outstanding natural beauty means it has been a complex piece of construction.

“It’s an exciting project and something we’ve been working towards since we took over the estate. This is likely to be one of the last new boathouses to be allowed on Derwentwater, so we want it to be a truly special building which will stand the test of time.”

It is a double celebration for the wider Lingholm Estate, which was last month crowned as Cumbria Tourism’s ‘Self Catering Accommodation of the Year’ for 2019.

It follows a 35 per cent increase in self-catering business at Lingholm, with the boathouse just the latest in a series of renovation projects on the estate.

Other recent developments include the restoration of ‘Rosetrees’, an epic Victorian house split over eight levels which was originally designed by prominent Victorian architect Alfred Waterhouse.

The ‘Old Billiard Room’ in the main Lingholm mansion – once used as a Christian Scientist Church – has also been transformed into a spectacular holiday apartment.