Rough Crag safety work due to start this month

Rough Crag

United Utilities is to start work next week (26 February) on a project that will allow the West Road at Thirlmere to re-open for all users.

The scheme, expected to take up to 12 weeks, will involve specialist contractors working at height to remove storm-damaged trees, loose rocks and material that is currently suspended on the Crag above the road.

The U7003 highway has been closed since November 2021 following Storm Arwen.  Since then independent engineering specialists identified an ongoing and unacceptably high risk of rock and tree falls onto the highway at the section directly below the crag that could cause significant injury.

United Utilities has been working with specialist engineering teams to assess the rock face and identify what needs to be done to make it safe.  This has involved several surveys, including drone surveys using LIDAR, a type of laser technology, to create a 3D photograph of the crag.

Jane Simpson, Engineering Director at United Utilities, said: “We fully appreciate how keen people are to use this well-loved route again, and we have been working hard behind the scenes to get to this point.

“We’ve worked collaboratively with the relevant authorities including Natural England, the Lake District National Park Authority and Cumberland Council to design a solution that makes the crag safe again while respecting the protected status of the area.  Cumberland Council has agreed that the road should be closed to all users, including horse riders and cyclists, so that the work can take place safely from next week. 

“We will also need to close the lakeshore footpath temporarily throughout the work and we hope people will understand that this is essential to protect public safety while material is being dislodged from the crag by our contractors.

“We will continue to provide updates on our website as the work progresses.”

United Utilities says that after the safety work is completed Cumberland Council will undertake their own assessment of the road prior to it being fully reopened.  The lakeshore footpath is expected to reopen when the work is finished at around the end of May.

For the latest updates on the crag safety work please visit