THE Coppermines Lakes Cottages, the holiday accommodation company, started in the 1980s when founder Phil Johnston bought derelict mine buildings in Coppermines Valley above Coniston village. 

He has spent over 40 years bringing life back to the once industrialised valley in a considered, sustainable fashion and has developed one of the leading holiday accommodation providers in the Lake District.

The Mountain Cottages, in the heart of the stunning valley, were all rebuilt using materials reclaimed from buildings all over the north of England. 

He’s also developed the Coppermines Conservation Area – a rewilding scheme on 65 acres of land in the valley which is open to the public and where over 4,000 indigenous tree saplings have been planted.

The aim is to encourage biodiversity and carbon capture and it is also designed to help prevent flooding in Coniston village by slowing water flow off the mountains.

Phil said: “The simple fact is we live in the Lake District and we love the Lake District. The whole ethos behind our business is to let people come and enjoy all that Cumbria has to offer while minimising the impact of those visits.  

“Tourism is an essential part of the county’s economy and many jobs and livelihoods depend on it. But that doesn’t mean we have the right to operate in a way that isn’t sustainable or responsible.

"We have a duty, and a desire, to find the right balance.”

The holiday accommodation company has its own professional laundry right in Coniston village so that much of its laundry has low or even no miles to travel to be cleaned.

Some is even carried by hand and transported on foot straight from cottage to laundry!

Phil said: “Our onsite laundry helps save on fuel emissions and plays a part in reducing traffic impact on the local environment. We also operate a successful car-sharing scheme amongst our employees, to further help minimise traffic impact.”

More and more of their cottages now have EV charging points installed.

You can even browse cottages specifically to find one with an EV point.
Waste from the cottages is collected and sorted for recycling by Cumbria Waste.

The aim is to minimise the amount of waste that goes to landfill and to transform it into a resource that provides value to the local environment.

And cottages have dedicated parking so that many guests park up their cars and leave them parked through their entire holiday.

Like many in the county’s tourism industry, the Coppermines Lakes Cottages has deep roots in its local community supporting Coniston Mountain Rescue Team and the Fix the Fells initiative.

It is particularly proud to have supported the cause to bring Donald Campbell’s Bluebird back to its Ruskin Museum home in the village.

And when snow and bad weather make travelling difficult, it’s not surprising to see Phil out with his own snowplough.