United Utilities issues update on Thirlmere West Road access

United Utilities has provided an update for residents and visitors about access arrangements to the West Road that runs alongside Thirlmere reservoir. 

Parts of the road have been closed since Storm Arwen hit Cumbria at the end of November and caused more than 1,500 trees to be blown over or damaged along the West Road and surrounding area. 

The North West’s water company has been working with contractors to remove the trees and debris and make the road safe to reopen to the public. Cumbria County Council has also been advising on highway safety.

It has now been confirmed that the northern section of the road up to Armboth car park will reopen to users on the Easter Bank Holiday.  The southern section up to the Dobgil car park is already open.  The footpaths that run alongside the shore will also open up to these respective points and the middle section of the west road will have some access for cycling and walking barring a half mile section. 

This leaves the middle stretch of road that is still too dangerous to open.  Investigations from specialist contractors have revealed that the area around Rough Crag is still too dangerous to have users on the road below it.  Drone footage has revealed trees and boulders hanging precariously over the crag.  United Utilities is working with its contractors and the County Council on how best to make the area safe but there are no timescales as yet for when this section of the road may be able to open. 

Visitors to the area are warned to follow any signage and respect the barriers that are in place to protect people.  United Utilities recognises the importance of the road to pedestrians and cyclists including its use as a safer alternative to the busy A591.  Whilst not specifically designed for road bike users, the forest road from Swirls car park to Dunmail Raise can be used as a safe alternative and is suitable for gravel bikes, tourers and mountain bikes. It also links to the tarmac cycle path from Steel End to Dunmail Summit avoiding the steep section of the A591.

Vicky Bowman, Woodland Officer for United Utilities, said: “Our teams have been working hard to reopen as much of the West Road as possible.  I’m pleased that from Easter weekend another section will be open to users. 

“Unfortunately the area around Rough Crag remains too dangerous to reopen at this stage but our teams are working with local agencies to plan for how we will do so.”

For more information visit https://www.unitedutilities.com/thirlmere