Purpose & Function

Bowness On Solway Community Group was formed in 2003 by a group of village residents with the aim 

 “To look after and protect the interests of the community of the village of Bowness on Solway through open discussion and regular meetings.

One of the main areas of work was the restoration of The Banks.

The Banks Promenade was originally constructed during Edwardian times (early 20th century) with views over the Solway Firth to Scotland.  It was fully restored by the Community Group volunteers and involving the pupils of Bowness School, and officially reopened in 2005 after extensive remodelling, planting and installations including mosaics, a wooden shelter and seating.

This structure is now the focal point for the thousands of visitors on the 84 mile long Hadrian’s Wall National Trail, which was officially opened in 2003


Current and Ongoing Projects

Beach cleans – monthly and occasionally jointly with the AONB volunteers

Upkeep of The Banks – supported by Community Payback Scheme

Provision of dog poo disposal facilities

Village Christmas tree and celebration

Upkeep of defibrillator

Development of BCG section on BOS website

Publications and sales of postcards and Christmas cards of local scenes

Fundraising activities



Past projects

Feb 2004         Planting at The Banks begins with Edwardian and Roman themes

16.10.05          The Banks was officially opened

14.11.15          Installation of Viaduct Memorial Seat celebration

March 2016     Acquisition and installation of defibrillator for Bowness


The History and Renovation of The Banks

In the early days of the Twentieth Century, the area of land known as The Banks was turned into a Promenade, a place where Edwardian visitors to Bowness could walk, or sit on the grass or in the shelter and take in the beauty of the Solway. Unfortunately, by the end of the 20th Century, slippage of the soil on the Banks had meant that the paths which crossed the Banks were in danger of becoming a safety hazard. A campaign was begun by the villagers to restore the Banks. The then newly-formed Bowness Community Group worked with Solway Coast AONB to find funding for the major structural work that was needed to make the Banks safe. Funding for the initial Structural Survey came from Cumbria Waste Management Fund; and the major renovation work (the revetment work and cementing) was funded by the Countryside Agency and carried out by Capita. The final Interpretation Phase was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
In 2002 The Banks was officially designated the end of Hadrian’s Wall Trail, and it was decided that the renovation to restore the Banks to their former glory would also reflect the Roman influence on the village. This can be seen in the structure of the shelter (which is constructed in the Roman style using pegs rather than screws), in the mosaic, and in the plants used, all of which were introduced to Britain by the Romans.

Most of the work of this final Interpretation Phase was done by volunteers from the village under the guidance of the late Gilly Walton (the art work) and Jeanette Murray (the planting).

The planting. The planting of The Banks began in February 2004. It was decided to plant bright colourful scented flower along the top terrace, as this is the only part of the garden less mobile visitors can access. A Roman herb garden was to be created below the shelter, and low growing plants were to be planted in the triangular area between the small yew tree and the well. The lower terrace was to be laid with turf to reflect the Edwardian aspect of The Banks; and wild areas were to be developed to the left and right of the main garden. These wild areas were to be lightly managed to encourage insects, birds and other wild life to colonise them. The aim was to get a balance so that the garden could develop without the use of pesticides.

Young people from a local youth club, service users from Social Services, local children, local people and visitors working as volunteers all contributed their time and energy to the weeding, planting and maintenance, and continue to do so.

We plan to continue to improve the soil structure as time goes on. Hopefully the plants will continue to improve. When a plant fails we will replace it with a more successful survivor! We plan to have a garden that will be ever changing and interesting. Local children and adults have planted hundreds of bulbs for early spring colour, but the garden should always have interesting plants to view whatever the time of year.

(Planting text by Jeanette Murray. A separate leaflet “Planting on the Banks” is available with information about the wide range of plants, and how they were use by the Romans.)

The Mosaic. The Roman-style mosaic was created by selecting drawings provided by the children of Bowness on Solway Primary School. These drawings of birdlife of the Solway and the two salmon were collaged together with a scaled-down design.

The artist (Gilly Walton) then enlarged the drawings to full size (but back to front!) onto strong brown paper via the indirect method, using ceramic and glass mosaic tiles which are cut to shape with mosaic nippers. These were placed and stuck right-side down using wallpaper paste. This method enabled the artist to work off-site, and also allowed the children to learn the art of mosaic making.

The bench on the sea wall was designed to symbolise the haaf-netting tradition of the Solway Firth, and was made by a local craftsman.


The poem on handrail

Cantum meum canto

air seòlaidhean-mara na Salmhaigh

leyke a sky-reydin burd

my heart soars high


The four lines of the poem along the handrail represent the cultural influences on Bowness on Solway: Roman Latin, Scots Gaelic, Cumbrian dialect and English.

In English the poem reads:


I sing my song

of the Solway tides,

like a sky-riding bird

my heart soars high


poem by Jim Eldridge, Bowness on Solway

Latin translation by Peter Carey and David Laskey, Bowness on Solway

Scots Gaelic translation by Iain Macaulay, North Uist


Who's Who

Community Group Members 2018

Community Group Members 2018

Current Members:-
James Graham 
Jo Jeeves
Rowena Beaty
Maureen McKenna
Clare Allen
Bill Knowles
Marcia Leonard 
Andy Lewis
James Graham

James Graham


James is a founder member of The Bowness Community Group.  He lives at Campfield and farms. James is also Chair of the Bowness Parish Council. James was responsible for making the bespoke bench on the Banks depicting the old railway viaduct, which was designed by the community group's long-term secretary, the late Gilly Walton.


News & Announcements

Tuesday 15 May 2018

Movie Night!

FRIDAY JULY 13TH 2018 AT 7:30PM 

at The Lindow Hall





Advance tickets: adults £4, concessions (under 12’s and OAPs) £3, family ticket £10
On the door prices: adults £5, concessions £4, family ticket £12
Hotdogs, popcorn and soda will be available to purchase on the night

Please come and support this exciting new event and make it a regular thing!

Advance Tickets available from Wallsend Guest House

Sunday 21 January 2018

Christmas 2018 Photo Competition

Keen photographers! Phone snappers! 

We are looking for some fantastic images for NEXT year’s Christmas cards.

If you have taken a great Christmas or winter-themed photo, why not enter it into our prize photo competition - it could feature in our next Christmas card design! We are particularly interested in photos containing local features – architecture, landscape, wildlife etc. And there’s plenty of time to enter – so keep an eye out for when snow or frost is forecast! 

Please send entries to Rowena Beaty at Please submit in jpeg format.

The deadline for images will be announced later in the year. 


Tuesday 09 January 2018

January Beach Clean


We had a record turnout of 22 people on Saturday 6 January for the joint Bowness/Solway AONB litter pick. 35 bags of rubbish were collected plus assorted large items.

Thanks to all those who volunteered their time and effort. 

Our next regular monthly litter pick is 4th February (first Sunday in the month) at 9.30 a.m meeting on the Banks. Do come and help if you can spare half an hour. 


Tuesday 19 December 2017

Christmas Tree Lights Switch On

Thanks to everyone who made our Carols by the Christmas tree such a success. On a perfect frosty night around 60 people came to sing carols, and to join in the count down for the Christmas tree lights switch-on. This was accompanied by mince pies, mulled wine and hot chocolate to help keep out the cold! 

A special thanks to John Wills and family who provided the tree, Catherine Bartlett for leading the carols, Ann Wilson and Catherine and Eleanor Cervantes for providing the excellent musical accompaniment, Margaret Evans for switching on the lights, and to Lyn and Andy Lewis for their help and support, including use of their firepits which looked fantastic, provided lots of warmth and kept the frost at bay!  

Tuesday 08 August 2017

AONB Beach Clean

Volunteers from the AONB and local people collected 27 bags of rubbish plus items too big for bags yesterday on Bowness waterfront. The AONB volunteers hope to return in September for another event - watch this space for dates.

This is not just a local problem as we  are at a narrow point in the Solway, so every tide forces more rubbish onto the shore.  It could be from anywhere on the coast, the Isle of Man, the Irish Sea or the Atlantic. 

Thanks to all who helped make such a positive difference to the shore yesterday.
Sunday 23 July 2017

Annan Bell Riad

Images from today's bell raid.  Four boats rowed across from Annan, supported by several safety boats and the Silloth RNLI crew.

Thursday 13 July 2017

Annan Skiff Launch

The second skiff produced by the skilled boat builders of Annan took to the water on July 13th out of Annan Harbour.  This boat  - Pride of the Solway - will take part in the annual Bell Raid on Sunday July 23rd from Annan to Bowness.

Anyone interested in going out with the Annan crew for some rowing practice on Saturday 22nd?  Please contact Lyn Lewis on 016973 51055 if you'd like to join them.

Monday 15 May 2017

Defibrillator Awareness Training

The two training sessions held at the School and Lindow Hall recently were attended by 25 people.  Lauren Watson from the Northwest Ambulance Service trained everyone in the use of CPR and the defibrillator in the event of a cardiac arrest.  Whilst the defibrillator can be used by anyone, it is good to know that so many people were able to attend the training and now feel confident to use it if needed.
Survival rates for patients receiving this emergency intervention rise to up to 80% (from 3% for those who do not) so we are in a very fortunate position to have the defibrillator available in the village.  
Approximately 60,000 people suffer an out of hospital cardiac arrest every year in the UK and currently only 1 in 10 people will survive.
Lauren also explained the need for more First Responders in rural communities such as ours.  She will be invited back to explain this role in more detail in the future to all those interested in becoming part of a local team.  If you would like to register your interest in becoming a First Responder, please contact Lyn Lewis on 016973 51055.


Wednesday 05 April 2017

Annan Bell Raid

The Scots are coming!

Watch out Bowness – marauding Scots are planning a new invasion!
A fleet of boats will be heading across the Solway estuary on Sunday, July 23 to carry out the now-annual Bowness Bell Raid.
The raid commemorates the original theft in 1626 when a gang of Scotsmen took the bells from St Michael’s Church in retaliation for an earlier raid by Cumbrians of Scottish bells. In the chase that followed, the Bowness bells were thrown overboard and to this day lie at the bottom of the Bell Pool in the Solway at Annan.
In  recent years the dastardly theft has been re-enacted and the Scottish raiders met by fierce Bowness folk armed with water pistols.
The confrontation ends amicably with refreshments provided by Bowness School PTA before the invaders head home with a replica bell.
The raid has become an important date in the calendar of the Annan Harbour Events and Activities group who enjoy the chance to show off their community-made skiff ‘The Pride of Annan’.
The mini Viking boat, built by local craftsmen assisted by young enthusiasts, is one of 186 similar craft made by coastal communities round Britain who then compete in coastal rowing races..
Annan is already at work on a second boat the Harbour Development Officer Alan Thomson is keen to see Bowness and perhaps Port Carlisle and Burgh by Sands build their own community boats with a view to regular Solway rowing races.
The boats, which take four oarsmen (or women) and a cox, are all built to the same traditional Scandinavian pattern, designed by a boatbuilder on the Isle of Skye.
Alan says: “All you need is the kit, one craftsman and plenty of enthusiasts.
*Pictures and more information about the Annan boats can be found at
* Anyone interested in building and/or rowing a Bowness boat can register their interest on the parish website at

Tuesday 04 April 2017

Spring Tidying at The Banks

We are holding a gardening morning at The Banks on Sunday 23rd April, starting at 9.30a.m. Come and join us -  even half an hour of your time would be most welcome. Please bring your own gardening tools. Help us make the official start of the Hadrian's Wall Trail look good for the new season!  (Please note this is a re-scheduling of the previous date.)

Sunday 19 March 2017


The Defibrillator is now installed and  'Rescue Ready' and linked to the North West Ambulance Service.  The equipment is mounted on the front wall of Wallsend Guest House.  Please do call in and see the equipment if you would like to.  

Tuesday 24 January 2017

Community Defibrillator

Funding to pay for a defibrillator for use by the community has now been agreed, with contributions from the Parish Council and Cumbria County Council. Many thanks also to Lyn and Andy Lewis for their donations of funds from the September Race Night, and Jan and Dave Milne; this will be spent on training in the use of the equipment and its ongoing maintenance. The defibrillator will be supplied by the Community Heartbeat Trust, and training sessions will be provided. It is planned to site the defibrillator on the front wall of Wallsend Guest House, where it can be monitored by CCTV. Watch this space for more information on training opportunities.

What's On

Friday 13 July 2018

Movie Night!

Bowness Community Group presents

Remote Cinema in conjunction with Eden Arts and Cine North

Advance tickets: adults £4, concessions (under 12’s and OAPs) £3, family ticket £10
On the door prices: adults £5, concessions £4, family ticket £12
Hotdogs, popcorn and soda will be available to purchase on the night

Please come and support this exciting new event and make it a regular thing!

Advance Tickets available from Wallsend Guest House


Wednesday 18 April 2018

Community Group News April 2018