The Old Butchers Shop is a gift shop located just off Main Street in Ravenglass in a courtyard which is accessed between Rosegarth Guest House and the white cottage next door. The shop sells a huge range of Gifts at very reasonable prices when compared to the shop at the Railway. From the railway walk over the footbridge past the playground and over into the village, there are signs to the shop from this point and also from the seafront. The shop has loads of nice gifts and sells groceries (ideal for when camping locally) and is well worth a look. Great shop (one of the best I have been to) and very reasonable prices!! Go and visit when you're on the railway, its much cheaper and has a much better range of things than the expensive shop there!!!
Also online at www.ravenglassgifts.co.uk
This is a wonderful walk for all river lovers. It follows a steep, wooded ravine, full of rhododendrons growing wild. The fun of this walk are all the footbridges you navigate, crossing from one side to the other countless times.
The footpath is well marked and maintained but don't be tempted to go off track as we did once. It was terrifying and such a stupid thing to do, ending up almost rock climbing up sheer, very slippery surfaces.This was near the top, and we thougt we would take a short cut to get a better view. So irresponsible and thoughtless. I was really concerned at one point and were convinced we were going to fall. In the end, we realised our stupidity as we daren't proceed any further and had to retrace our steps down this treacherous route to get back to the proper path.
The reward at the top is a 60 foot waterfall, that is obviously most impressive after a lot of rain. Be very careful with children as there are some steep drops and the path is unfenced (or was last time we walked here.)
From the righthand side, a path leads you to the top of the escarpment and for those who don't suffer from vertigo, you can lean over and catch a glimpse of the top waterfall. Be warned, this is a sheer, unfenced drop!!!!
Just the most amazingly beautiful gardens I have visited!Over seventy acres of spectacular gardens and woodland to wander around to your heart's content.
Plants from all over the world, especially from the Sino-Himalayan region, have been cleverly placed throughout the grounds and there is always something spectacular to look at, whatever the season. In winter, many of the trees and shrubs are lit up which must be beautiful.As we were visiting in early May, we knew the rhododendrons would be at their peak. We were not disappointed and I just couldn't stop taking photos!!An added bonus is the fantastic backdrop of the glorious Lakeland mountains, offering yet more photographic opportunities!
Do come wearing decent footwear as there is loads of walking to be done on over six miles of footpaths and it often can be rather wet underfoot.
One of the most colourful areas in May is the Ghyll, which meanders steeply down in front of the castle. So many different colours are on display here and with the Lakeland landscape behind, you can't avoid being impressed.
Within the gardens is the Owl Centre (seperate tip), a garden centre, a cafe and gift shop and a childrens playground. The local heronry is often fed at 4.30pm, causing much excitement as they roost in the trees on Cannon Bank, patiently awaiting their free meal! Yet more photos!
Apart from the spectacular colours of the flowers and shrubs, the highlight for us was the bluebell woods. Absolutely amazing. The whole woodland is carpeted with blue, such a beautiful sight. This can be a wet walk, being in the shade and does involve some uphill walking but not to be missed in early May.
Admission for gardens in full season: £8 per adult.
It had turned into a glorious afternoon so we trotted off to watch the "feeding of the herons" at 4.30pm. This took place on Cannon Bank, in front of the castle. It was amazing to see these huge birds perched in trees, waiting for their free meal.Occassionally there was a bit of a tussle as patience wore thin (with the birds, not the spectators!) until eventually the man giving his talk on the birds reached for his bucket of fish. A few meagre handsfull were thrown to the amassing herons. What a scuffle! It looked to me as though there were a couple of boss birds who grabbed most of the food, but this was only a bonus for them. Herons are excellent fishers and the river was just at the bottom of the banking. I did actually think this was all a bit of a farce, but maybe that was because I couldn't hear the talk on the herons. Maybe they enjoyed the performance!
Miterdale is a secluded valley between Eskdale and Wasdale.There used to be a packhorse route through here to Keswick but can now only be accessed by road from Eskdale. Once at the end of the road, there is a small parking area by the River Mite, which is agreat place for a picnic in summer. plenty of paddling opportunities here! For the more energetic, Scafell Pike can be accessed from here, as well as other Lakeland routes.
The hightlight of Muncaster Castle gardens for us was the bluebell woods. As we climbed higher in the woods, the sight and smell of these native wild flowers overwhelmed us. Green trees and a thick floor covering of beautiful blue blubells made a superb display and were an absolute delight. Muncaster's woods offer one of the best displays of bluebells in Cumbria and as an endangered species, no collecting allowed!
We felt very priveleged to have seen this sight and I urge anyone who visits the gardens in April and early May, not to miss this spectacle.
Many years ago, we visited the castle gardens but not the house. We have been meaning to make a return visit so took the opportunity on the recent Bank Holiday weekend.
What can I say? The place is amazing! The castle has belonged to various members of the current Pennington family for eight centuries and is their family home so the whole place has a friendly, lived in feeling. Three generations of the Pennington family live in the castle and you are bound to come across one of them on your tours! In fact, you are allowed to see some of the rooms in use but must not look in cupboards or behind doors in case you come across someone's pyjamas and personal effects!Also, the public are not allowed into the family kitchen as they don't wish people to see how untidily they live!!
Upon entering the castle, you are given audio wands with interactive tours of the rooms, narrated by members of the family. It is really quite personal and you can listen to as much or as little as you feel like.
The castle is reputedly one of the most haunted in the country and the Tapestry room seems to be the epicentre. I stood by the bed in this room as people have reported feeling cold there but I felt nothing out of the ordinary.
The admission price per adult has to include the gardens,as you walk through them to reach the castle, which is £10.50 per adult. The gardens on their own are £8. Well worth the money, we spent from 10.30am to 5.30 pm and could still have seen more!
Throughout the year, various tours and events take place with ghost weekends proving very popular!
The castle is closed on normal Saturdays as weddings are held here. See website for opening times.
This sweet little church, St. Michael and All Angels, is owned by the Pennington family, of Muncaster Castle and dates back to 1140. It was fully restored in 1999 and is a grade 1 listed building. Inside are some interesting stained glass windows and the original bell is displayed on a plinth. In the churchyard is a viking cross.
The church is still used today by the parish of Muncaster for services and weddings and is surrounded by the beautiful castle gardens.
The third photo is of the organ name, which is our name, Forster!
This is in the grounds of Muncaster Castle and is home to the World Owl Trust. The trust cares for one of the greatest collections of owls in the world and and their main aim is conservation of the different species, saving threatened owls and their habitat.
I have to admit, I find owls extremely handsome creatures but I'm afraid I don't know the difference between most of them! They are all owls and to be honest, there are so many to look at, I began to feel "all owled out!" Having said that, I wouldn't have missed this attraction.
As you enter the centre, their is a CCTV enabling you to view the owls on their nests and rearing their young. There is also a "meet the birds" in the afternoons in the main season when some of the birds are flown free. We didn't catch this event, unfortunately.
There is a small tearoom here that sells gifts, also.
Open daily Feb. to Dec. 10.30am - 6.00pm. (seasonal)
10.30 am. - dusk (Winter)
Muncaster Castle Gardens are so huge, I've had to split them into seperate tips!
The south and north terraces are stunningly beautiful.They are apparently the finest man-made garden structure in the country and extend for half a mile. Rhododendrons and flowering shrubs fill the smooth green walkway with colour, along with superbly bright trees.A hedge of alternate yew and box shelters the terrace from the worst weather, blowing down from the surrounding fells.
There are a couple of amazing summerhouses, built completely from wood, including the roof tiles. Inside them are mosiac floors and wonderfully patternend panelled walls. They are naturally also home to the odd swallow.
John Ruskin christened the terrace "The Gateway To Paradise" and rightly so, I think.
From the terraces, the superb views extend along the scenic Eskdale valley.
This walk is the start of the hike up Scafell Pike but if you are not that energetic, a pleasant alternative is to walk along the river Esk on the eastern side, stopping for a picnic and if warm enough, swimming in one of the slate green deep river pools. There are a few really good pools along here, the best that I remember being just up from the first bridge after Lingcove Beck joins the Esk. Branch left and it's just upriver. Continuing up this path brings you onto Scafell Pike.
It's a most attractive river to swim in, the water being crystal clear and icey cold when the sun is too hot. The river bottom is made up of various lakeland stones and gives the water a blue/green tinge.
We have very fond memories of long glorious summer days around here.
This is a beautifully located little church, set on the banks of the River Esk and probably having some of the best graveyard views you could ever ask for!
The church is found down a very narrow, unpaved road from the main Eskdale valley road. If you drive down here, be careful as most people are on foot and there is limited parking by the church.
By the church there are stepping stones crossing the Esk, which have been used for many years by church-goers and walkers alike. This forms one of the loveliest river walks in the area, from the King George pub to Doctor Bridge. Certainly, it is one of our favourite rambles, being mainly flat and always having the river to keep you interested in. On our last visit, in January, the stones were well under water so no crossing!!
The church holds services every second and fourth Sundays in the month.
As already mentioned, the River Esk offers some excellent walking opportunities, both for the fit and not so fit. There are plenty of flat,river valley walks, taking in the glorious scenery, stopping and cooling your feet in the crystal clear water and if you are with children, what an excuse for a bit of dam building!!!
From the terminus of the Eskdale railway, Dalegarth station, you can sit in the shade of the trees by the river and enjoy a picnic or eat at the cafe at the new station. Another option is to take the track across the road down to the river, finally ending up at St. Catherine's Church, where you'll find some stepping stones crossing the Esk. In summer or when the rainfall has been minimum, it's quite easy to cross here and continue in either direction along the river. You will come to some fantastically deep, clear pools, excellent for a dip. Don't attempt to cross the stones if they are partially covered and it's winter, as you'll find the water exceptionally cold and very fast flowing.
More deep pools can be found under some of the old stone bridges, ie; Eskdale, Doctor and Dalegarth.
Simply enjoy the stunning, natural beauty of this beautiful valley.
One of the loneliest and least accessible of the Roman Forts, situated on the lower slopes of the western side of Hardknott Pass, looking down into Eskdale. It is a beautiful, wild site, the fort being built during Emperor Hadrian's rule, between AD 120 and AD138. Constructed to protect the Roman road running from west to east from Ravenglass to Ambleside.
The fort stands at 800 ft. and was occupied for over 300 years by over 500 soldiers stationed here. There are remains of soldiers barracks, houses, granaries and naturally bath houses. How clean were these Romans??
In a beautiful location, the land belonging to the National Trust, but by gum, it must have been cold in the winter!
Managed by English Heritage, it is free to look round.
A small parking area a little further down the pass.
It's a while since we've been on this so no photos at the moment.
One of Cumbria's best tourist attractions, this narrow-gauge railway runs from Ravenglass on the west coast, for seven miles along the Eskdale Valley and takes 40 minutes if you travel the full length. Most of the trains are steam but some deisel engines also run. Choice of open top carriages or all weather ones. Make your choice according to the weather!!!
Originally built in the height of the iron mining industry, to transport the ore to the coast at Ravenglass, it fell into decline as the mines closed and re-opened as a tourist attraction. There are stations at Ravenglass, Muncaster Mill, Miteside, Murthwaite, Irton Road, The Green, Fisherground Campsite,Beckfoot and terminating at Dalegarth where there is a cafe and gift shop.
From all stations there are wonderful walking opportunities and you can even pre-book your bike onto the train to enable you to enjoy the Eskdale Trail or hire one at Dalegarth.
The railway runs special themed days throughout the year and is open out of season most weekends.
Cars can be left at Ravenglass to travel to Eskdale. You can also catch the train, once in Eskdale, at any of the stations.Another alternative is to travel on the Cumbria Coast line to Ravenglass and then take Ratty.