WORK has started on a £3million overhaul of a popular centre which allows East Lancashire children to explore the Lake District.

The first turf has been cut for the revamp of Lancashire County Council’s Tower Wood Centre on the shores of Windermere, despite the typical Cumbrian weather.

The long-established outdoor education centre is getting a new accommodation building – allowing more visitors, including school parties and families of children with disabilities, to stay onsite.

For years the centre has welcomed thousands of schoolchildren and young people for a country break in the stunning scenery.

The centre used by schools from Lancashire, including those in Pendle, Hyndburn, Ribble Valley, Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley and Rossendale, for sailing, canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing, mountaineering, caving and mountain biking.

It has private jetties and lake access, a fully-equipped boathouse, and an experienced fully qualified staff.

After starting the building work county council leader, Geoff Driver, said: “We have always said that giving young people the best possible start in life is one of our highest priorities and we are making good on that pledge.

“Tower Wood is a place that many of our young people remember fondly for the rest of their lives because of their experiences here, and this investment will help it make an even bigger and better contribution in future."

Up to 60 visitors will be able to stay in 26 mainly twin-bedded rooms, some of which have been fully adapted for children with disabilities.

County Coun Susie Charles, Cabinet member for children and schools, said: “We are incredibly lucky to have Tower Wood, next to one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, as a county council resource and I’m delighted we have been able to ensure its long-term future.”

The new accommodation will bring in significant revenue from school usage, family breaks and weekend use .

Tower Wood is set in 12 acres of lawns and woodland, extending from a beautiful Edwardian house down to the eastern shore of Windermere.