Lake Buttermere Walk

Lake Buttermere Walk

The lake of Buttermere is surrounded by the significant high fells of High Stile to the south west, Fleetwith Pike and Haystack to the south east, Robinson to the North East and Grasmore to the north west. Such walks would be considered as moderate walks.

This lovely four and a half mile walk around Buttermere is more a good quality family walk of great beauty, almost entirely on good foot paths. Of special interest on your Buttermere walk is where the foot path passes through a rock tunnel. Whilst considered by many to be the most beautiful of all the lakes within the Lake District.

The village of Buttermere is situated to the north western edge of the lake and very busy on weekends and school holidays.

Within the small church of St James, on the fringes of Buttermere village at the junction of Honister and Newlands passes, you will find a stone memorial tablet set into a south facing window sill to commemorate Alfred Wainwright. The window looks outwards towards his favourite walk, Haystacks. Where it’s interesting to note his ashes were scattered.

Buttermere Walk

You will find car parking in the small car park near the Fish Hotel or on the main road. Start walking down along the rough farm road to the left of the Fish Hotel. With the road bending towards the left go through a gate. After approximately 140m go through the gate ahead of you and follow the clear foot path towards Buttermere lake. Do not go through the gate to the right which leads to Scale Force. Pass through the further gate at the lake side which is a National Trust sign. Turning right towards Sour Milk Gill, which you should see coming down the mountainside before crossing the small bridge. As with all Lake District waterfalls and streams there best seen after a nights rainfall. With the name Sour Milk referring to the white water and its similarity to off milk.

Having crossed the small footbridge, turn left and go through the small gate into Burtness wood. Following the clearly marked path along the waters edge continue upon your route. You will come to a split in the footpath, and keeping to the waters edge path continue on. After about ¾ of a mile pass through a small gate, continue upon the clear path until you come alongside a stone wall and cross a footbridge. Once over the bridge make your way along the lakeside path between the fences. At the farm, go through the small gate and turn right alongside the stream to the road. Turn left over the bridge.

After a short distance the road once again runs by the lakeside, before bending away yet again. Return to the footpath along the waters edge for one mile. Here you will pass through a tunnel of rock making your way to the far end of the Buttermere lake. With the lake shore to your left you will see a small gate to go through and up rough rocks to another small gate following the clearly marked pathway. This will now take you back to the village of Buttermere.

Tarn Hows Walk

Tarn Hows

No matter where we live, we love our walks, family walks, walks with the dog or solitary walks for thinking. Yet if we could all pick a walk for all seasons that was close to where we live I think this might just be it. This is a great family walk.

A Tarn Hows walk may simply consist of a walk around the lake, although I would advise to include a short diversion down to Glen Mary Bridge, returning via the waterfalls, thus adding a mere mile to your walk.

Monk Coniston Hall was once home to the 19th century industrialist James Garth Marshall, the Victorian creator of Tarn Hows which is located between the villages of Coniston and Hawkshead.

Tarn How may be somewhat artificial by nature, whilst set within one of England’s grandest National Parks, yet the beauty and splendour are considerable. As a result of this and sharing similarities to Cat Bells walk vast numbers of visitors are attracted here each summer. Therefore it may be better to do this walk out of season, when you may be fortunate enough to be rewarded with the peace and tranquillity the scenery and setting deserve, without the large number of visitors and those having summer picnics.

You may consider walking the picturesque route created by James Garth to wow guests at his country residence of Monk Coniston Hall to Tarn Hows or from Coniston village. Either way you will be rewarded with some wonderful scenery and look out for the Old Man of Coniston walk, maybe for another day.

Tarn Hows walk

Leaving the car park entrance closest to the lake, turn right along the road. Almost immediately leave the road and the track curves left. Within a short distance fork left onto a grassy path. Follow the path over the top of the ridge and down the far side to meet a wall on the right. The path continues down hill , curving left and then right. Continue on through the gate, at the wall corner bend left. Upon reaching the ruined barn follow the wide track to the gate. In the lane turn right and continue down the path to the road at Glen Mary Bridge.

Crossing the footbridge over the stream to the right and turn right through the small gate. Continue up the left hand side of the stream. Keeping with the stream as it bends its way past the magnificent waterfalls you should see signs for ‘Tom Gill Waterfall’ Once at the top of the fall go through the small gate in a fence, making your way up the path along the stream to reach the Tarn Hows at the stream outflow.

Here you should see a broad well maintained path. This path goes completely around the tarn, ultimately returning to the stream outflow and concludes your walk.

There is a small stone to the south east of Tarn Hows, inscribed;
National Trust The Tarns are given in memory of Sir James Scot of Yews and of Anne Lady Scot, 1930.

The view from the memorial stone over Tarn Hows, is superb and one of the best, most photographed in all of the Lake District. Not forgetting that the tarn is artificial and the water level was raised by a dam and weir constructed at the south west tip, thus creating a single tarn. With trees alien to the Lake District were planted. This is a great example of what can be achieved by sensible and creative countryside development.

The name ‘The Tarns’ refers to its earlier existence prior to the raising of the water levels with the damn, when there were several stretches of water.

Grisedale Walk

Grisedale Walk

Grisedale walk should not to be confused with Grisedale Pike which is situated I would say as in the Keswick area of the Lake District.

This walk is close to the Ullswater lake area and follows the Grisedale Beck towards Sheepfold and therefore in definition I would consider this a Ullswater walk.

Grisedale is a low level walk surrounded by such majestic household names as St. Sunday Crag and the Helvellyn range. Helvellyn via Striding edge is not too far away and this walk is an ideal way of working up to such a rewarding high level walk whilst getting to know the Patterdale, Glenridding and Ullswater area, which I would strongly recommend.

This is a circular walk starting in Patterdale village car park. After crossing the Grisedale Beck via a footbridge, returning along a good track and country lane. It is a great walk for all the family with stunning views.

Joining the main road from the gap in the car park wall, cross the road and start to walk left. At the end of the shops , bend right and continue up a track. Follow the track round right and then take the footpath, left, as signed posted. Follow on through a copse to reach a wider track. Turn left and go through a gate onto the fell. At the wall corner take the step stile over the wall. The stile is hidden by a tree and is signed posted on the far side.

Walk on the left after crossing the stile and follow the clearly marked route over the fields to a gate and onto a track. Turn right and continue walking on to join the narrow country lane that leads from the village into Grisedale, turning left. Looking over the wall you will see the Grisedale Beck flowing, hurriedly white topped, through this very deep wooded area. Climb the hill and, prior to the first gate over the road, turn right along a country lane. Where it turns right take the gate ahead and climb the steep grassy slope. Looking backwards you can take in the view of the dale below you. Go through the gate in the wall and look for a four pointed signpost.

Turn left following the clearly marked direction of Grisedale. Walk along this path high above the beck, as it continues into the dale. Pass through an iron gate in a fence. Continue on along the footpath, before going through another iron gate, with pine trees below to your left. To your left, across the vale, you can see Birks and St Sunday Crag. Ahead and above are the mountains at the head of the valley.

Upon reaching a ruined shepherd’s hut, take the left turn just before a wooden gate. Descend via the stone wall, then following the green trod (an old sheep droving road) which today is rather unclear to see these days. Continuing on where the path goes left around a small knoll until you find the gate in the wall. Once through the gate you will see a footbridge crossing the Grisedale Beck. St Sunday Crag is now clearly visible before you and cross reference with your map will help you know your exact spot. Its at times like this you truly get to understand the area where your walking and become familiar with your surrounding. This can really help if the weather turns bad and especially if you go on to do high level more arduous local walks.

Once across the Grisedale Beck footbridge follow the narrow path left until you join the more substantial wider pathway. As you now continue to walk upon your homeward part of your walk and return to Patterdale, take a minute to look across the Grisedale valley towards the crags and beyond towards Striding Edge. Further on you will pass Elmhow farmhouse on the right of the pathway and above you will see Elmhow and Harrison Crag. On your left you should take a minute to look at the waterfall and if there has been rain on previous days you should see plenty of white water running over fall which makes it so much more worth while seeing.

If during any stay in the Ullswater Lake area there has been plenty of rain I would always recommend visiting Aira Force waterfall for a walk.

Continuing on you will come to an arched stone bridge on your left which spans the Grisdale Beck. Keeping to the footpath eventually you will come to a gate which completes the circular route that is Grisedale. It is at this point you have completed the walk and have a choice as to whether to make it a figure of eight so as not to retrace your own footsteps. So to go a different route follow the road down into Patterdale and turn right along the main back to the car park.

Kings How and The Bowder Stone

Kings How and The Bowder Stone

Kings How and The Bowder Stone

Kings How and the Bowder Stone Walk Borrowdale

This is a pretty little walk fit for a king. Kings How is not particularly strenuous or demanding but a pleasant interlude if you have a couple of hours to spare.

We parked at the National Trust car park on the B5289 on the left as you come from Keswick, just past the village of Grange on the right and opposite Holmcrag wood. Kings How Grid reference: NY 253168 .We paid for 3 hours which was ample and cost just over £5.

Kings How Car Park

We turned left out of the car park along the road and almost immediately there is a National Trust sign indicating the Bowder Stone to the left. There is a clear track leading to the stone.

The stone is about 30 foot high and 50 feet across. It weighs around 2000 tons and is remarkable as it balances on one corner. As the rock is not local it is thought most likely that it landed here in the ice age carried from Scotland by the glaciers.

The rock is popular with climbers and is also accessible to most by a sturdy wooden ladder that takes one to the top. Once up there you find yourself on a fairly narrow ledge looking across to the woods.

It is a pleasant distraction in the clearing surrounded by woodland and in March the daffodils were out making it picture postcard pretty.

Continueing our Kings How walk from the Bowder stone it is an incessant if not steep climb up to King’s How. It was mid/late March when we went and the stubble of last year’s bracken studs the hillside along with the odd fallen and stripped branch. It is easy to imagine the ferns that must upholster the hillside as you walk through it in the spring and summer. As you near the peak if you look behind you there in contrast to the more autumnal colours of the fell the village of Grange surrounded by its lush green fields appears like an emerald cut in a diamond shape.

Kings How Borrowdale

As you turn a corner and just below the summit you happen upon a plaque with some indistinct lettering which has inscribed: “In Loving Memory of King Edward VII, Grange Fell is dedicated by his sister Louise as a sanctuary of rest and peace. Here may all beings gather strength, find in scenes of beautiful nature a cause for gratitude and love to God, giving them courage and vigour to carry on his will.

Princess Louise was the daughter of Queen Victoria and sister of King Edward V11. As the president of the National Trust at the time she made Grange Fell a memorial to her brother at the time of his death in 1910.

If Grange was an emerald, then by now if you look to your left Watendath Tarn is every bit a light blue sapphire glinting in the spring sunlight.

Having reached the summit from which can be seen beautiful views over Grange, Derwent Water and Keswick with Borrowdale Valley, Scafell and Great Gable to to the South we make our way back down the other side by the distinctive track which eventually leads us straight back to the car park.

Kings How and the Bowder stone is a jewel of a hike in the crown of Lakeland walks.

Latrigg Walk

Latrigg Walk Keswick

Latrigg Walk Keswick

Latrigg Walk

Latrigg is an iconic Lakeland fell- walk and one of the lowest fells in the Lake District. It’s an all year round climb, which is very popular due to its convenient location overlooking the town of Keswick. The summit of Latrigg rewards the walker with beautiful views down the Borrowdale valley, Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite Lake, and the Helvellyn range can be seen.

You can start a walk to the summit of Latrigg from practically anywhere within the town of Keswick and its multitude of Guest Houses with good parking available throughout.

Walking from the leisure pool making your way to Spooney Green Lane, a bridleway is clearly signposted leading to Skiddaw. The bridleway crosses the A66 and makes its way to a wooden 5 bar gate and kissing gate. Passing through the gate the path ascends the western slopes of Latrigg with views towards Skiddaw and Bassenthwaite Lake. The total ascent of Latrigg is approximately 1,000 feet with the main footpath following the western flank before it turns back towards Keswick and the summit.

For many the challenge of Latrigg is to ascend by the more strenuous routes which are not on the Ordnance Survey maps. Along these routes you may even find people out running from Keswick to the summit and back again!!

First Route to the Summit of Latrigg

As you follow the footpath upwards you will come to a small island and here you can leave the well trodden Ordnance Survey route and head off North Easterly through the pine trees. We followed this route which traversed the fell until we came to the end of the woodland area and a fence line. Along this path there are some wonderful views of Keswick and Derwent Water. Upon reaching the fence we jumped over and followed it until we reached a gate on our left.

Once through the gate it is a short walk to the summit of Latrigg and the small wooden bench seat which marks the summit. On a quiet day you may find the seat empty but we where not so lucky.

Second Route to the Summit of Latrigg

Look for a path, which turns acutely off to the right from the main Ordnance Survey track and follow this as it gracefully and partially zigzags a course to the summit of Latrigg.

On leaving Latrigg following the summit ridge North Easterly towards Blencathra and Threlkeld returning back the way we had climbed from our original approach via the fence line. Here the footpath is easily followed and on good ground as you make your way downwards and onto the road.

To make for a longer and more interesting walk we continued downwards onto the disused Keswick railway walk which is distinguished by a 5 bar gate, with a kissing gate adjacent. There is also a sign post here. Also of note is the fact that you should be able to see a wonderful old railway bridge from the gate and sign post. There is also a shelter of stone construction in which you will find the Cumbrian way of spelling 1 through 10.

Taking the railway footpath we continued on our walk away from Keswick and headed towards the Lakeland village of Threlkeld. You will find the railway path to be good quality and relatively flat, making it good for cyclists and walkers.

The railway footpath is approximately 3 miles long and was created by the Lake District Park Authority following the acquisition of part of the former Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway which closed in 1972. Over the railway footpaths 3 mile length between Threlkeld and Keswick there are 8 redundant old railway bridges which cross over the River Greta making this a wonderful walk.

We followed the railway footpath until it met the A66 and here we turned off and walked along the main through fare through the village of Threlkeld until we arrived at the Horse and Farrier where we had our lunch.

After lunch we returned the way we had come back down to the railway line path and walked along its length back in to Keswick.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of Latrigg Walk please visit Latrigg Walk on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

Latrigg is a great easy walk for all to enjoy.

Brougham Hall

Brougham Hall Near Penrith

Brougham Hall Near Penrith

Brougham Hall

Brougham Hall (pronounced Broom Hall) was the historic home of the Brougham family before falling into ruins in the 1930’s. The hall is situated but a short drive from Brougham Castle and a mile south of the market town of Penrith. There is currently free parking in a small car park situated just outside of the main entrance to the hall.

A fortified home has existed upon the elevated site since the late 1400. The Broughams of Brougham (Westmorland) became extinct in 1608.

The oldest part of the hall is the Tudor building, which dates back to around 1500 and was once the scene of a bloody battle between the English and the Scots. Brougham Hall was extended and enlarged between 1830 and 1847.

Brougham Hall and Lady Anne Clifford

Brougham Hall had been repaired in the 17th Century by Lady Anne Clifford, and then became the home of her agent, John Bird. A James Bird purchased the estate in 1676. In 1726, it was repossessed and purchased by Commissioner John Brougham of Scales Hall (Cumberland), who brought the estate back into the Brougham family. His great grandson Henry Peter later became Lord Chancellor of England.

Rebuilding of Brougham Hall took place in 1829 – 1847 and again in the 1860s when Lord Brougham, the Lord Chancellor, lived in the home. It became known as the Windsor of the North due to the visits by King Edward VII and the future King George VI. The hall being on route to Balmoral Castle in Scotland played host to Royalty on a number of occasions.

During the early twentieth century there was a secret tank development facility at Brougham Hall. The project was known as Canal Defence Light (CDL). A plaque at the hall remembers the men who worked there during the war. There is also a bunker that was used during World War II.

Sadly it was the 4th Baron Brougham and Vaux, Victor Henry Peter Brougham, who is responsible for the demise of Brougham Hall. Acquiring the hall at an early age, and his worldly inexperience and early wealth saw his spendthrift lifestyle and professional gambling mount up debts leading eventually to the sale of its treasures and ultimately the Hall itself.

Neighbour, Major  Cowper, who had a grudge to bear against the Brougham’s took advantage Victor’s mismanagement and bought Brougham Hall and estate in 1934. He revengefully presided over the stripping and sad demolition of Brougham Hall. Between the two great wars, many large British Houses went the same way as costs escalated and the landed gentry came to terms with a new social order.

Brougham Hall and grounds are reportedly haunted by sounds of soldiers battling in the middle of the night, world war soldiers marching and various people who were employed at the property including a woman called Emily and a boy who died there. Henry Brougham who lived there in the nineteenth century was reported to be highly interested in spirituality and his spirit and that of his brother William are also said to have been felt by visitors to the hall.

The hall was investigated in the Living TV series Most Haunted, where the team supposedly communicated with the spirits of Emily, the boy and Henry Brougham during a séance and moved a heavy table across the room without explanation.

Today with a restoration program underway which began in 1985, with volunteers helping, the hall is open to visitors throughout the year. There is a range of craft workshops, a tea room and a gift shop established within the impressive outer walls.

Brougham Hall Door Knocker

Of great interest is the very unusual door knocker at the hall which is located within the outer walls upon an old wooden door, near the road, opposite the car park. With only four examples of this door knocker, a 12th century design, exist: two in Durham and two from Brougham.

The original graced the north door of Durham Cathedral from 1172 to 1977, when it was removed to the safety of the Cathedral Treasury and replaced with a replica, cast by the British Museum.

Both the Durham rings where made of bronze with the original Brougham ring made of iron. The Brougham Hall ring survived the War but was stolen, crated and sent to Sotheby’s for auction. In an attempt to replace it, Collier’s foundry in Sussex in1993, began the laborious task of drawing a replica from which the monster’s head was carved in wood. A sand mould was taken from the wooden head and finally cast in bronze in seven pieces.  Thus a new replacement door knocker was made for Brougham Hall.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of Brougham Hall please visit Brougham Hall on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

I hope you enjoy your visit to Brougham Hall as I did and Brougham Castle is only a short distance away by car or you could even walk to the castle.

Sergeant Man

Sergeant Man Grasmere Walk

Sergeant Man Grasmere Walk

Sergeant Man Walk

The most popular routes to climb Sergeant Man are either from Great Langdale via Stickle Tarn, or by a variety of routes from Grasmere village. For this particular walk to Sergeant Man I chose to ascend via Easedale Tarn as this is one of my favourite shorter low level walks from Grasmere.

Starting from the village of Grasmere, take the lane that leads up to Easedale Tarn which is a good straightforward walk. There are more details of this section of the walk and photographs on my ‘Easedale Tarn walk’.

Sergeant Man From Easedale Tarn

On arriving at Easedale Tarn, you will see the rugged mountain scenery that is from right to left Tarn Crag, Slapestone Edge and Bells Knott on the opposite side of the tarn. On a quiet day for Lake District weather and smooth waters upon the tarn, the serenity and peacefulness of the setting is wonderful with the mountains reflected within the cold waters.

Leaving the tarn behind us and continuing upon our walk to Sergeant Man, we follow the clearly marked footpath which meanders its way upwards between the lofty heights of Bells Knott on your right and Blea Crag on your left. Here underfoot the ground can be sodden due to the large rainwater catchment area.

As you ascend from the tarn making your way towards the crossroads at Blea Rigg, do take the time to look back as the views are absolutely stunning and get better and better as you climb higher and higher towards our ultimate destination of Sergent Man. The upward path climbs here and can be arduous whilst on occasion turning to stepping stones as you cross wet patches of ground. In general the path follows the stream on your right so at this point it is easy to navigate.

After leaving Easedale Tarn, the first crossroads you will arrive at, will take you down and around Codale Tarn and then onwards to the summit of Sergeant Man, although we continued on towards the crossroads at Blea Rigg. At the crossroads we took the right hand path.

The path to the summit is clearly marked out as you cross with relative ease along the small grassy footpath, passing the 50 foot slab of rock mentioned by Wainwright. Now simply follow the track as you make your final steps to the summit which should be clearly visible before you and maybe lunch.

Should the Lake District weather be kind to you now here you will be rewarded with some great Lakeland vistas worthy of any walk you will undertake and you should see some of the famous high peaks of the Lake District. On a bad day they may be shrouded in mist and cloud. Below the summit of Sergeant Man Stickle Tarn should be clearly visible weather permitting.

The Summit Of Sergeant Man

Whilst at the summit of Sergeant Man you should be able to clearly discern the famous fell of High Rise but a short distance away, should you wish to bag another of the 214 Wainwright fells.

Making our way back to Grasmere we chose to return to the crossroads at Blea Rigg and then onwards, continuing along the higher ground towards Castle How. The high ground of Blea Rigg offer great views looking down upon the 3 local tarns and the village of Grasmere.

There are 3 possible descents from this point with the first putting you back down towards Easedale Tarn and the third putting you back near the village centre. We chose on this occasion to take the second pathway following Blindtarn Gill.

This path is poorly marked and resulted in some off track rambling through lots of bracken and small shrubs. With good weather the farm buildings at the bottom of the path were clearly visible. Aiming for them, we soon reached this point and our original path we had commenced our walk upon.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of this Sergeant Man walk please visit Sergeant Man Walk on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

Sergeant Man Walk Video

There is an abundance of walks from Grasmere and Sergeant Man is a great high level walk to enjoy.

Long Meg Stone Circle

Long Meg Stone Circle

Long Meg Stone Circle

Long Meg and Her Daughters Stone Circle, Penrith

Long Meg and Her Daughters stone circle, which is also known as Maughanby Circle, is a Bronze Age stone circle located near to Penrith in Cumbria, North West England. Long Meg is a mile or so to the north of the Lakeland village of Little Selkeld off the A686 Penrith to Alston road, and there stands this impressive stone circle.

When visiting the site, a track runs through the circle to a farm and it is possible to park a vehicle on the verge in the field containing the stone circle.

The stone circle of Long Meg is the sixth largest example known from this part of north-western Europe, whilst the third largest stone circle in England after Avebury and Stanton Drew. The site is also thought to be one of the earliest, dating from the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age.

Long Meg Stone Circle

Long Meg and her Daughters consist of 51 stones of which 27 remain upright (the largest of which is 29 tons). The stones are set in an oval shape, measuring 94 metres north-south and 109 metres east-west on its long axis. The overall diameter of the circle is 106 metres. It is possible that there may have been as many as 70 stones at the site.

There is an entrance to the southwest that is flanked by a pair of stones just outside the stone circle.

The largest outlying stone is Long Meg herself, the ‘mother stone’ which is 3.6m high and is thought to weigh about 9 tonnes, a monolith of red sandstone 18m to the southwest of the circle made by her daughters. Long Meg is marked with examples of megalithic art, which includes a cup and rings of concentric circles. These carvings face away from the circle, a fact which has prompted speculation that the stone was erected at a different time period from the circle.

It is interesting to note that the four corners of the Long Meg stone are facing the points of the compass and standing some 18.28 metres (60 feet) outside the circle.

When the standing stone of Long Meg is viewed from the centre of the circle the monolith aligns with the midwinter sunset.  It is not known exactly what the stone circle was used for, and yet it was likely used as a meeting place or some form of religious ritual.

The relationship of Long Meg to the stone circle suggests the possibility that it may have been used to sight the midwinter sun.

William Wordsworth wrote “Next to Stonehenge it is beyond dispute the most notable relic that this or probably any other country contains”.

Long Meg and her Daughters Legends

The most famous of the many legends and local folklore that surround the stones of Long Meg is that they was once a coven of witches who were turned to stone by a wizard from Scotland named Michael Scot. It is said that the witches were celebrating their Sabbath when the wizard found them at it and turned them into stone.

It is also said the stones cannot be counted – but, if anyone is able to count them twice and come to the same total, the spell will be broken or it will bring very bad luck.

Another legend of the Long Meg stone circle states that if you walk round the circles and count the number of stones correctly, then put your ear to Long Meg, you will hear her whisper. The name itself is said to come from a local witch, Meg of Meldon, who was alive in the early 17th century.

More fascinating is the folklore that holds sway that if Long Meg and Her Daughters are moved or destroyed terrible misfortune, perhaps even a ferocious storm will fall upon those responsible. Story has it that a Colonel Lacy the land owner, of nearby Selkeld Hall decided to have the stones blasted with gun powder. When the work began a terrible thunder storm erupted from out of clear sky. This was taken by the labourers as a sign of the circle’s Supernatural power to defend itself – they fled in terror and would not carry out the work. The landowner then had a change of heart and left Long Meg and Her Daughters to themselves.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of Long Meg Stone Circle please visit Long Meg Stone Circle on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

I hope you enjoy walking around this ancient monument of Long Meg Stone Circle as I did or even incorporating a visit in with a walk.

Brougham Castle

Brougham Castle near Penrith

Brougham Castle near Penrith

Brougham Castle near Penrith

Brougham Castle is situated some 2 miles from the market town of Penrith and is a fascinating place to visit and explore. It is also possible to determine the outline of the Roman fort on the south side of the castle, making for a fascinating exploration of nearly two thousand years of history, as well as an ideal picnic setting for a family day out within the beautiful river setting.

The castle was founded in the early 13th century on the site of a Roman fort and sits near the rivers Eamont and Lowther. In the castles earliest form it simply consisted of a stone keep, with an enclosure protected by an earthen bank with a wooden palisade. The Norman family of Robert de Vieuxpont built the Brougham castle, the ruins of which can still be seen today. The Vieuxponts were a powerful land- owning family in Northern England, owning Appleby and Brough castle.

Brougham Castle In 1268

By the time of 1268 Brougham castle had passed to Robert Clifford, whose father had become Lord of Brougham when he married Robert Vieuxpoint’s great granddaughter. With the Anglo -Scottish wars which started in 1296 Robert Clifford carried out much work at Brougham to strengthen the defences. The wooden outer defences were replaced with stronger, more impressive stone walls and the large stone gate house was added.

The importance of Brougham and the Clifford family was such that in 1300 Edward 1 was hosted at the castle. The region was often at risk of attack from the Scots, and in 1388 the castle was captured and sacked. Following this the Clifford family began spending more time at their other castles and in particular Skipton castle in Yorkshire.

Brougham castle descended over several generations of the Clifford family, however in 1592 the castle was in a state of disrepair. In the early 17th century the castle was briefly restored to such an extent that James 1 was entertained at the castle in 1617.

Brougham Castle and Lady Anne Clifford

In 1643 Lady Anne Clifford inherited the family estates, including Brougham castle, Appleby Castle and Brough Castle, whilst setting about restoring them.

Brougham castle was kept in good order and repair by Lady Anne Clifford and for a short time after her death in 1676. However the Earl of Thanet, who had inherited the Clifford estates, sold its furnishings in 1714.

The then empty shell was left to decay as it was too costly to maintain. As a ruin Brougham castle inspired a painting by J M W Turner and was mentioned by William Wordsworth in his poem ‘The Prelude’.

In the 1930’s Brougham castle was left to the Ministry or Works and is today maintained by English Heritage.

Today Brougham castle features an introductory exhibition, with carved tombstones from the nearby Roman fort. A guide book is available which explains the history of Brougham castle and Brough Castle and includes plans and photographs of both castles.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of Brougham Castle please visit Brougham Castle on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

For me Brougham Castle is one of my favorites and I hope you enjoy visiting it as much as I did.

Brough Castle

Brough Castle Cumbria

Brough Castle Cumbria

Brough Castle Cumbria

Brough Castle is a ruined castle set within the Lakeland village of Brough, Cumbria. The castle consists of a large mound, upon which there is an extensive range of buildings, with a circular corner tower, and the remnants of an older four storey keep. There is free parking available within short walking distance.

The site of Brough Castle was originally the Roman fort of Verterae. Verterae was built to control the lands of the Brigantes and guard the Roman road linking Carlisle Castle with Ermine Street which today is the modern A66. The Roman fort will have covered a much larger area than the present Brough Castle and is now a scheduled Ancient Monument. The impressive Brough Castle stands on a ridge strategically commanding Stainmore Pass on the site of the old Roman fort.

Medieval Brough Castle

The first castle was built by William Rufus in the 1090’s within the northern part of the former fort. One of the first stone castles to be built in Britain the walls showing the herringbone pattern typical of Norman architecture.

In 1268 Brough Castle passed into the ownership of the Clifford family, who also owned Brougham Castle in the area. Robert Clifford carried out work here and at Brougham Castle building a new hall and semi-circular tower, now known as Clifford’s Tower as a residence for himself. The Clifford family, when visiting in Westmorland, would stay at Brough Castle until an accidental fire in 1521 destroyed much of the building. It was not occupied again until Lady Anne Clifford inherited it in 1643.

Lady Anne Clifford undertook restoration work on all the castles she inherited. Following her death the castle passed into the ownership of the earls of Thanet, who made their home at Appleby Castle in Appleby-in-Westmorland. It is from this point in time that Brough Castle began to decline into the ruin you see today, with much of the stone plundered in 1763 when Brough mill was built. The castle is now in the care of English Heritage and is open to visitors with guide books available for purchase from Brougham Castle shop.

Today it is possible to walk through the gatehouse and explore the ruins of Brough Castle with its imposing stone work and information boards explaining the layout of the castle. The keep that can be seen today is built on earlier Norman foundations and it is believed that the original structure was composed of stone and wood. The present keep was built in the 12thcentury.

The Keep at Brough Castle

The interior of the keep at Brough Castle has several interesting features that are visible from the ground such as doorways and fireplace settings that were for the upper floors. There are also some remaining structures such as stairs and passageways within the walls that are now inaccessible behind a locked gate.

I can recommend that you stand upon the high ground at the castle keep looking out towards the west and Brougham castle and Penrith castle and the stunning views. From this vantage point the strategic line of defence becomes apparent along what is now the A66.

The nice thing that stands out for me at Brough Castle is the simple distinguishing fact that the land upon which the castle now stands is owned by a local farmer who has opened an adjacent farm shop café with a small children’s play area comprising of several slides and swings. The café is but a stone’s throw from the castle walls and makes for a great sitting area whilst you enjoy a coffee and reflect on the history of this ancient fort.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of Brough Castle please visit Brough Castle on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

Within sight of Brough castle walls is the church of St Michaels’s which is very picturesque and there is an exhibition with pictures and text about the region.