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Cylinders Estate

The survival of a seventy year old orchard in Elterwater is due to the Dadaist German artist Kurt Schwitters and to Ian Hunter & Celia Larner, whose arts charity the Littoral Trust purchased Cylinders Estate including the famous Merz Barn.

The survival of a seventy year old orchard in Elterwater is due to the Dadaist German artist Kurt Schwitters and to Ian Hunter & Celia Larner, whose arts charity the Littoral Trust purchased Cylinders Estate including the famous Merz Barn in 2006. At the time that Kurt Schwitters used the barn as a studio, the estate was owned by Harry Pierce, a local landscape gardener. Pierce planted 43 apple trees in January 1943, of which about two dozen still survive as mature semi-standard trees. Varieties include Bramley, Worcester Pearmain, Lord Derby, Annie Elizabeth, Allington Pippin, Beauty of Bath; and the crabs John Downie & Cheale's Crimson. The trees grow on a steep slope of up to 45° covered in a herb-rich meadow which is scythed in July. Many of the trees are in remarkable health considering their damp and shaded situation with high annual rainfall resulting in moss-covered branches with varied lichen. Not surprisingly there is scab and some canker but no sign of insect pests apart from a little capsid damage. After 70yrs, a healthy equilibrium must have built up between pests and predators. In addition there is a row of myrobalan plum, and some damsons. The estate stretches for 5 acres and includes some interesting big-leaf rhododendrons and specimen trees. Schwitters fled Germany in 1937 after his modernist art was branded as “degenerate”. The Merz Barn building still stands much as Schwitters left it on his death in 1948. The Littoral Trust is working to restore the Merz Barn and the Cylinders estate so that the site can be made accessible for the general public, schools, artists and scholars. However this is dependant on funding which at the time of writing is uncertain. See the website for current details. Location: On B5343, ½ mile west of Elterwater, entrance to Cylinders is opposite Langdale Hotel, on the road to Chapel Stile. Postcode for Satnav: LA22 9JB. Tel 015394 33046

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