History of Hermitage Field

The Hermitage Field was once owned by the Halton Park Estate and sold to the owner of the nearby Hermitage Hotel during the 1930’s to provide fresh produce for the hotel and its guests. The hotel fell into financial difficulties and, as a result, the field was purchased by a group of private subscribers and local authorities, namely: Lunesdale Rural District, Lancaster City, Morecambe & Heysham Borough, and Lancashire County Council. The field has been retained by the local authority, currently Lancaster City Council, ever since, and administered by the Crook O’Lune Advisory Committee.

Historically the site had been managed as a grazed field, with a local farmer paying the Council a small fee for the grazing rights. However, over time public access has increased at the site along with the number of dog walkers. A concessionary tramper path was constructed through the field to increase access. Given the issues of sheep worrying and dog fouling, an alternative arrangement was sought and as a result the Council reassessed how the land was managed.

A new approach was adopted by Lancaster City Council which involves two not-for-profit organisations.

Part of the site has been licenced to Life for a Life Memorial Forest, to create a memorial woodland on approximately 2 acres of the site.

The remaining part of the site, approximately 5.5 acres, has been licenced to Hermitage Field Community Meadow, a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (“CIO”), for a period of 12 years to be managed as a wildflower meadow.

This approach mirrors that on County Council land to the south-east of the Crook O’ Lune.

The benefits to the future management of the site are significant:

  • public access to the site remains
  • the management of the site is self-financing
  • improvements to the site’s ecological value by creating new woodland and meadow habitats

The Council has retained ownership of the site and allows Life for a Life and Hermitage Field Community Meadow to manage the site under the terms of their respective licenses.

The Hermitage Hotel reverted to a private estate, the Hermitage Estate. In World War II it was used by the Army as a transit camp for military personnel. It changed use again later in the 20th Century becoming an old people’s home owned by Lancashire County Council. This eventually closed and was sold by auction in the early 1990’s and changed back to a private residence. It was originally built as a residence for the Mayor of Lancaster in the early 19th Century.


The geological environment of the Hermitage Field consists of sedimentary deposits which are glaciofluvial in origin. These are detrital, generally coarse grained, they form beds, channels, plains and fans associated with meltwater.

Bedrock consists of Pendle Grit; interbedded sandstones and siltstones formed approximately 328-329 million years ago during the Carboniferous period.