WALNEY yachtsman and world sailing champion Steve Goacher will officially open the National Trust’s new Fell Foot active base.

Part funded by Sport England, to the tune of £575,000, the first clubs to make use of the new facilities are South Windermere Sailing Club and Windermere Rowing Club.

Steve Goacher learned to sail at Fell Foot. He’s now a multi world and national champion and Cumbria’s most successful sailor.

Steve will talk about his memories of Fell Foot and the importance of getting new people into water sports at the opening on Thursday June 21.

Fell Foot is one of the few places where the public can access the southern half of England’s longest lake, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its grounds, once the setting for a long demolished villa, are popular with generations of local people including families from Cumbria and Lancashire.

The project is one of the trust’s most ambitious ventures to better meet visitor expectations and breathe new life into the property.

Fell Foot has had little investment and is affected by annual winter floods, which put the tearoom and shop out of action.

More than £2.6million pounds of funding has kick-started work on the first phase which includes the new year-round sports facility.

Fell Foot remains open while this work takes place, as many as 4,000 visitors can visit on a sunny summer’s day.

The trust wants to continue the sporting legacy of the site which began with Colonel George John Miller Ridehalgh who purchased the estate in 1859. He sat on the first Sailing Committee of the Windermere Sailing Club and was a founder of the Royal Windermere Yacht Club.

His passion for the sport was also expressed through the complex of boathouses he built which are being restored as part of the multi-million pound, six-year vision for the site.

Steph Byast, the National Trust’s Fell Foot operations manager, said: "This new facility is the next chapter in Fell Foot’s sporting heritage.

"It will provide a base for people to do self-led land and water based activities, join ‘taster’ sessions or, become a member of a club."