Sustainable Tourism – Going green in the Eden Valley

We know that holidays can take an Eco toll on our planet, especially when you add in the impact of jet travel.  Here at Dufton Barn Holidays we want to try and do as much as we can to make your stay as green as possible.  We know we aren’t perfect, and we are always looking at ways to improve, but we want to give our guests the best chance of reducing their carbon footprint, whilst at the same time making the most of their holiday.

Understandably, due to our rural location, many of our guests arrive by car, and if you do, once here, you actually don’t have to use your car again until you leave.  We have a pub and café in the village, and a bakery just over a mile away in nearby Long Marton.  Most of the big supermarkets will deliver your on-line shop to the village, and you can even arrange with local newsagent, Dents of Appleby, to have your favourite newspaper delivered to the village bus stop for you to walk up and collect at your leisure.

The area is a walking and cycling idyll.  Here you can cycle along quiet country lanes or for the more adventurous attempt iconic cycling routes like Great Dunn Fell, the UK’s Mont Ventoux, or cycle up Hartside Pass to Alston, both with stunning views over the Eden Valley.  For those that love to walk we have provided enough self-guided walks from the doorstep to fill your week twice over, including the famous High Cup Nick and the ever-present Dufton Pike. In fact, this area is in the North Pennines AONB and so we have plenty of stunning scenery where you can enjoy the local fauna and flora including deer, red squirrels, wild flowers and varied bird life.

If you do want to leave your car at home, then Dufton is a mere 3 mile taxi ride from Appleby station on the Settle Carlisle line with connections to both the East and West Coast mainlines.  The village is also a key staging point on the Pennine Way National Trail if you choose to arrive by foot!

Both properties were originally constructed in 1882 of thick local sandstone, which makes them warmer in winter and cooler in summer (these Cumbrians knew what they were doing).  However, whilst we were renovating, we took the trouble to ensure that both had fully insulated walls and roof-space with 100mm boarding.  The electricity we use comes from 100% renewable sources, and both properties have showers to make our water usage more sustainable.  We have a log burner in each and the logs we use are supplied from locally grown wood that is harvested through sustainable management of local woodlands.

The welcome pack we provide in Shepherds View is made up exclusively of Cumbrian produced goods including half of the products from within a radius of 3 miles of the property.  We provide coffee pods and Cumbrian Tea bags that are compostable and we offer guests the ability to recycle plastic, paper, glass and cans, as well as providing a kitchen compost bin.

We hate plastic waste so we have tried to reduce our single use plastics in the bathroom with refillable products from the Bath House (Sedbergh, Cumbria) as well as providing milk in reusable glass bottles.  We do all our own laundry on site on an Eco Wash and air-dry whenever the weather allows. We also use Eco cleaning products wherever possible.

For the future?  We still have a long way to go and we are always looking to make a greater contribution, but we hope that we play some small part in offering a more sustainable holiday.

 

We are pleased to introduce…The Pennine Potting Shed!

After 6 months of blood, sweat and tears (mainly by the builders!) we are delighted to be opening our second addition to the Dufton Barn Holidays portfolio.  The Pennine Potting Shed is exactly what it says…a converted potting shed in the corner of our garden.  It’s a perfect place to stay to explore the beautiful Eden Valley, or to rest up for the night when walking the Pennine Way as, of course, Dufton is a key staging point on this iconic national trail.

The project started back in November and we were excited to be working with the same builders that developed Shepherds View – Parkin Bell of Warcop.  Different building, different challenges, with a lot to fit into a small space, but PB as always were up for the job, and as always had plenty of great suggestions as the work went on.  Needless to say the original concept differed quite considerably to the finished article, but in a good way!

We started by extending the potting shed by 1.5m to give us extra living space.  This meant that the whole of the roof needed to be re-slated, and properly insulated, but we were able to reuse most of the original slates on one side.  Then the stone that we removed from the feature window in Shepherds View was used to dress the new extension.  The floor and walls were properly insulated as well, and the original flags were then used outside in the private garden.  We’ve also reused and reconditioned an old log burner, the original doors, and an old fire mantel.  If you want to see how you will have to come and stay!

In the end we have created accommodation that we believe is a little bit quirky compared to other options  on the Pennine Way and still delivers a great experience.

Kitchen area

The Potting Shed sleeps up to 3 people and 1 dog.  We’ve put in a reinforced adult bunk bed and an additional sofa bed.  Guests also have a cooking area with a double hob, a fridge and a combi microwave. Space to relax There is also a wet room with a toilet and walk in shower.  Boots can be dried on a dedicated boot warmer, and clothes hung up on a Victorian drier above the log burner.  Outside there is a private garden where guests can enjoy the warm Cumbrian evenings – hopefully!

Continental breakfast optionIn addition, we are offering a breakfast option by way of a continental breakfast, with enough food to make up a packed lunch for the long walk ahead.  As a final touch guests can choose treats from the Tuck Box that is under the bed, because you can never have enough chocolate…or crisps…or nuts!

We hope you enjoy your stay and happy walking!

Relax and recuperate

 

Kirkby Stephen – a Town of many surprises, and Parrots!

The vibrant market town of Kirkby Stephen lies in the beautiful Upper Eden on the eastern borders of Cumbria, in what was historically part of Westmorland. The town was the first in Cumbria to receive the ‘Walkers are Welcome’ award and was also a previous winner of the prestigious title of Calor “English Village of the Year”. As you would expect there are numerous pubs and cafes to visit, as well as galleries and craft shops, and there is still a regular thriving animal market. If you are lucky you might also see one of the parrots belonging to a local conservation charity flying about the town.

Less known to the casual tourist is that the Parish Church houses one of only 2 surviving Loki Stones in Europe, Loki being a Norse God. In addition, if you like your historical transport then you are well served in Kirkby Stephen. Cumbria Classic Coaches run 3 regular routes during the summer months, the Stainmore Railway Company are a must for any railway enthusiasts. Of course Kirkby Stephen is also one of the stops on the Settle to Carlisle line.

You are also only a short drive from the famous Tan Hill Inn, the highest pub in England. Often snowed in due to its location, check the weather forecast if you are not wanting to enjoy an extended lock in.

Walks, Poets and Monuments

The Coast to Coast walk runs through the town and, when travelling East, heads up to Nine Standards Rigg, which is the highest point on the skyline at 650m. At the top you will find the stone cairns that make up this striking and popular landmark. They vary in height between 2 & 4 metres and due to frequent rebuilds because of the weather can number anything from 7 to 10 pillars. It is not known who or why they were built, but there are historical records suggesting that they were around at least 500 years ago. This is well worth a walk up, and is not for the faint hearted, but the reward is a superb panoramic view across the Upper Eden.

Across the valley stands Wild Boar Fell with its characteristic profile that can be seen from Dufton Pike. Another challenging walk this is also supposed to be the place where the last boar was killed in England in 1409.

If you are looking for something more sedate and inspirational then the Poetry Path may be for you. Starting from Bollom Lane off Nateby Road the short circular walk along either side of the river Eden has 12 poems carved on blocks of stone addressing the hill farmers relationship to the Upper Eden Valley.

Heading out to the west of Kirkby Stephen another option for a gentle stroll is Smardale Gill and viaduct. The walk here has been made accessible and goes across the top of the iconic viaduct. For great photos you can walk down the left hand side, returning across the viaduct, to make a short circular walk of 3 miles or so.

Source of the Eden

A little further south into Mallerstang can be found the source of the river Eden which flows from here along its 81 mile course to the Solway Firth. It is the only river in England that flows North and has clearly had a huge impact on the landscape it flows through. There is a nice circular walk that takes in the impressive Hells Gill and part of Lady Anne’s Way, before reaching the first of 10 carved stone sculptures that are sited along the length of the Eden – this one is ‘Water Cut’ and stands at a high point along the valley and offers a dramatic photo opportunity with the Upper Eden as a backdrop.

History & Ice Cream

Brough Castle is one of several castles located across the Eden and is located at Church Brough, just north of Kirkby Stephen. Dating from around 1200 it is free to enter and is starkly impressive on a ridge commanding Stainmore Pass, and if you arrived in the area from the East along the A66 you will almost certainly have seen it as you drove through. More comfortable living was added by the Clifford family only to be accidentally burnt following a ‘great Christmas party’ in 1521. Like so many castles in the region it was restored by Lady Anne Clifford in the 17th Century. Equally as impressive is the Ice Cream parlour and tea rooms that can be found next to the castle. The ice cream is all homemade and is a great reward for a day out in this area!

There is also a nod to the legend of King Arthur in the area. Heading out south along the Natebyroad from Kirkby Stephen you will come across Pendragon Castle. Again, no more than a ruin, but nevertheless still fun to explore this castle which is reputed to have been founded by Uther Pendragon, King Arthur’s father.

Magnificent Stately Homes & Gardens of the Eden Valley

Venturing out west of Dufton to Penrith and the surrounding area there are a remarkable number of visitor attractions well worth the trip.  The Eden Valley has some lovely stately homes and gardens and many of these can be found in this area, and are also host to some popular annual events.

Brougham

English Heritage operate Brougham Castle, which is just off the A66 prior to reaching the Kemplay Island at Penrith. The castle was founded in the early 13th century and enjoys a picturesque setting beside the River Eamont.  A short drive from here is the small village of Brougham and at its centre is Brougham Hall, which is a large complex of fortified buildings that now houses a number of craft workshops, and an interesting place to visit.  It is free to enter and wander around and boasts an excellent coffee shop, Café 4 Eden.

Lowther Castle

In its pomp Lowther Castle originally boasted a room for every day of the year and its gardens were the envy of the north.  However, after the 60 year tenure of the Yellow Earl, who squandered a vast family fortune, the castle was abandoned in 1936, and then part demolished in 1957 and left to ruin.  Since 2008 the 20 year landscape masterplan of restoring the gardens has begun and there are now plenty of reasons to visit across the gardens’ 130 acres.  Not only can you enjoy exploring the gardens along formal and informal walks, but you can also hire bicycles (including electric) to enjoy a number of Estate cycle trails.  When you have finished there is also a café to visit, either at the main building or alternatively the intimate Walled Garden Coffee Shop at the bird of prey centre.

 

Dalemain House

Probably one of the most beautiful and impressive stately homes in the North West with a superb Georgian facade, and also home to the world famous Marmalade awards.  The house is well worth exploring, as are the gardens which are home to the famous Himalyan Blue Poppy, which is particular to Dalemain.  You can also take tea in the Mediaeval Hall Tearoom, and enjoy scones made to a secret recipe.

Not to be missed – May to July for the Blue Poppies, Cumbria Classic Car show in August, and not forgetting the Marmalade awards during National Marmalade Week in March.

 

Hutton in the Forest

Dating back to 1350 Hutton-in-the-Forest boasts a house, gardens and woodland that can be explored.  It is one of many such defensive structures built in Cumberland by wealthy families aware of the threat from the North.  The original Pele Tower was added onto by successive generations and today the house boasts six distinct architectural periods spanning 600 years.  It is a superb illustration of how country houses developed in the North of England.  The house and tearooms are open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, with the gardens every day except Saturday.  Hutton hosts many events during the year including a Plant & Food fair and a Classic Car show (check the web-site for details) but the most established is Potfest in the Park, which is a 3 day festival of all things ceramic.

Not to be missed – end of July for Postfest, May to July for the gardens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exploring Ullswater and the Surrounding Area

It may not have the size of Windermere but Ullswater, as the second largest lake in the Lake District, could be said to have much more to recommend it.  Surrounded by stunning mountain scenery it’s 7.5 mile length makes it much more compact, meaning that with a little footwork it isn’t difficult to get magnificent views through gaining some height.  Not that walking is the only way of getting great pictures.  There are several key stopping off points including the villages of Glenridding in the South, Aira Force, and Pooley Bridge in the North, and there is no better way to see the lake than by being on it with the various options on offer.

Pooley Bridge

At the northern tip of the Lake, Pooley Bridge is only 25 minutes drive time from Shepherds View, making it a great day out without having to venture too far into the busy Lakes.  For many this is the starting point of any Ullswater adventure and there are good options for food and drink dining out in the village.  Highly recommended is a visit to Chestnut House, oUllswater Steamerspen 7 days a week, which is an eclectic food and drink emporium, specialising in all things Cumbrian, but also carrying over 400 gins, whiskies, rums etc. – in fact something for every taste.

Pooley Bridge is also the main starting point for Ullswater Steamers, which is an award winning Lake District attraction with over 160 years of operating cruises across the Lake.  Here you can choose to connect to some of the most iconic walking routes in the Lake District or simply enjoy the view across the Lake as you sail to Glenridding and back.

If you are looking for a more personal lake experience then by heading down to the shore-line you will find Lakeland Boat Hire, who rent out a range of motor boats, rowing boats and Canadian canoes – no experience necessary.  Similarly, based at Another Place Hotel, Ullswater Paddleboarding offer lessons, adventure tours and board hire for those looking to get really close to the water!

Aira Force

The main road from Pooley Bridge to Glenridding skirts around the western shore of the lake.  No visit to Ullswater would be complete without a visit to the most famous of Lake District waterfalls at Aira Force.  Owned by the National Trust the site offers a glimpse of a landscaped Victorian park and arboretum, which was begun in 1846.  There is a lovely circular walk through this woodland, but the beauty of this place is that it is especially great to visit when it is raining as you will see the waterfall at its best!  William Wordsworth is also supposed to have written his most famous poem ‘Daffodils’ after a walk along this part of Ullswater.

 

Walks

There are many lovely walks across the Ullswater area, but 2 of our favourites are at Hallin Fell and along the Ullswater Way.

Hallin Fell lies just above Howtown on the eastern edges of Ullswater.  Parking is limited, but getting there early enough allows you to park at St.Peter’s Church, although you could come by steamer.  The walk then takes you down to the shore in an anti-clockwise direction, before ascending back around to the top of the fell for glorious views across the lake and to the surrounding fells.

The Ullswater Way is a 20 mile route around the lake and has various stopping off points for bus and boat so that you don’t have to do it all in one go if you don’t have the appetite.  Our recommendation would be to walk along the Howtown to Glenridding section, which is roughly 7 miles, with stunning views of the lake and fells along the way.  Depending on where you park you will need to use the steamer for one half of your trip – our recommendation would be to use the steamer first so that you are walking back to your car without any timetable deadlines!

Glenridding

At the southern end of Ullswater the village of Glenridding is a popular starting off point for walkers going up England’s third highest mountain Helvellyn.  However, if you are looking for a more sedate experience then you can browse the shops and even visit the 2 rosette Inn on the Lake Hotel for afternoon tea or drinks in its grounds.  Similar to Pooley Bridge this is a stopping off point for the Steamer and you can also hire boats from St.Patrick’s Boat Landing.

The historic market town of Appleby In Westmorland

Appleby Town Centre

The name of Appleby comes from the Norse for ‘place with apple trees’ which when you consider the town lies at a strategic crossing of the River Eden makes sense, at least biblically!  The town boasts plenty of history both old and new, from the well-preserved Norman Keep at the top of Boroughgate to being the honorary quidditch town of the Appleby Arrows.  Apart from the famous horse fair on the first weekend of June the town is rarely busy, and it is a lovely place to stroll either along the river bank or through the town.  The town is literally a snapshot of a typical English town centre with everything you could possibly need, but without the big brands, and is still thriving.  There is plenty of free parking available, but don’t forget your parking disc (supplied in the cottage).

Heritage

Norman Keep at Appleby CastleAppleby is steeped in history from across the ages, predominantly with the castle that overlooks the town from the top of the main thoroughfare of Boroughgate.  The mansion house was the preferred residence of Lady Anne Clifford in the 17th Century and her legacy is stamped across the Eden.  There are daily tours available in the summer months, and for the first time in 20 years the Norman Keep will be open to visitors from summer 2021.  Halfway down the street, past High Cross are Lady Anne’s alms houses, before you reach the Moot Hall and the tourist information centre.  Finally, as you pass Low Cross you reach St Lawrence’s Church which originates form the 12thCentury, and houses the tomb of Lady Anne.  Appleby is also a stopping point on the famous Settle-Carlisle railway line, considered one of England’s most scenic railway journeys.

You can download an Appleby Heritage Trail to ensure you don’t miss any of the history.

Shopping

The town is still fortunate for having local shops selling genuine local produce which are well supported by the town residents, including 2 butchers, a bakery and a green grocer.   For more general shopping top ups there is a good-sized Co-op and a Spar.  Every town needs its selection of gift shops and Appleby has its share including Blue Poppy (see photo), Jak & Co and the Courtyard Gallery.  Coupled with a small chemist, a post office and even a traditional sweet shop there should be something for everyone.  Finally no visit is complete without a visit to the wonderful Pigney’s, which literally sells everything you could possibly need from a traditional hardware store!

Anyone for Coffee?

There are many great places for food and drink in Appleby.  A personal favourite is the Appleby Hub Café which is an artisan-style café with good vegetarian and vegan options, situated next to the town car park.  However, there are several others on the high street including Bojangles, Couryard Gallery, the Eden River Café, and the Appleby Tea Room.  For a more substantial meal then the Crown and Cushion or the Tufton Arms Hotel are good options, and Ashiana serves good quality Asian cuisine.  If takeaway is your thing then you literally have everything available within a short distance of the town centre including fish and chips, pizza, Chinese and Asian options.

And finally

The town has all of those other essentials that can crop up whilst you are away but hopefully don’t.  There is a an excellent doctors surgery, 2 dentists, and Boots the chemist as mentioned earlier.

If you even fancy a swim then there is also a public leisure centre, which occupies the site of the old town gas works.

The beautiful village of Dufton in the Eden Valley

Driving into Dufton you immediately feel the appeal of this sleepy fellside village. The village is dominated by views of the impressive Pennine range including Cross Fell, Great Dun Fell with the radar station, and Dufton Pike. Whilst in the village itself the distinctive sandstone buildings flank the village green with the iconic fountain and the pub in the centre of the village. Dufton is on the Pennine Way and is the key staging post between Alston and Middleton in Teesdale, so if you like walking or just looking at beautiful scenery then you will be perfectly at home here. However, there are several other features of the area that make this such a unique place to visit.

Food & Drink and Events
The Stag InnAt one time there were several pubs in the village to support the many miners working in the area. Now there is only one, the Stag Inn, but with an excellent range of food and drink available Dufton is none the worse for this reduction in choice. For alternative refreshment the Post Box Pantry café offers a variety of food and drink choices from 10am to 4.30pm from Easter through to October. Additionally, the village hall also puts on occasional events for the benefit of locals and visitors alike, including Art in the Hills in July and the High Cup Nick fell race in late February. Visiting the village on the last Saturday in August gives the treat of the Fellside Royal Show which showcases all that is great about this beautiful rural area.

Industrial Heritage
Much of the recent history of the village centres around lead mining and the London Lead Company, the Quaker run philanthropic mining company, controlled the mines in this area. They were responsible in developing the cottages and layout of the village and also introduced a water supply system with supply points including the central fountain/trough at the heart of the village, which was built c.1858.

Dufton fountain

Geology & Walks

Resting on High Cup Within a short distance of the village green it is possible to see the impact of many of the geological events that have created the scenery of the British Isles. Dufton Pike, Knock Pike and Murton Pike are the result of volcanic activity, with the valley of High Cup a magnificent example of glacial and river erosion. More information of what can be seen can be found here, and what better way to enjoy them than to take one of the many local footpaths up or around these features. Running behind the village is the serene Dufton Ghyll, a stream that flows through a river cut sandstone valley, the perfect place to see red squirrels playing at any time, and bluebells in May.


Helm Wind

Dufton is famous for it’s Helm Wind, which is the only named wind in the British Isles. It blows down from the Cross Fell escarpment and is a fierce easterly wind, sometimes lasting for days, and strong enough to blow sheep off their feet. It is caused due to the particular combination of circumstances in the area and can appear all of sudden at any of time of the year, with a cap of cloud called the Helm Bar forming across the fells above the village and often accompanied with the sound as if of a jet engine. Bizarrely you can drive 5 or 6 miles either side of the village or downinto Appleby and not even feel the effects of the wind!Helm Bar

Pedal, Power, Pamper – activity days out in the Eden

For those people who want a little bit more from their holiday here are a few suggestions of some activity days out in the Eden.

Relaxing Spa Days

For a fully relaxing day out why not book a spa day for 2 at the award winning Aqua Sana Spa.  Part of the Center Parcs resort at Whinfell Forest, you will find the Spa a short drive from Shepherds View along the A66 towards Penrith.  They offer various packages with a range of treatments for full and part day and have over 16 spa experiences.  Highly recommended!

www.aquasana.co.uk/spa-locations/whinfell-forest/about

Ullswater Steamers

Ullswater is one of the jewels of the Lake District and has so much to offer visitors to this area.  Central to this are the award winning steamers that ferry visitors across the 8 miles of the lake.  Drop off points include the village of Pooley Bridge, Aira Force waterfall, Howtown and Hallin Fell, and the Ullswater Way.  Why not park at Glenridding and sail across to Howtown before walking the 7 or so miles back to your car along the Ullswater Way.  From experience its better that way round if you don’t want to miss the last boat!!
www.ullswater-steamers.co.uk

Lakeland Boat Hire

An alternate and fun way to see Ullswater is using your own power.  Situated at Pooley Bridge, Lakeland Boat hire have a variety of boats for hire on a first come first basis.  Here you can hire motorboats, rowing boats and Canadian canoes.  Personally we prefer the motor boats as its not so hard work!
www.lakelandboathire.co.uk

Whinlatter Forest –

Rising above Keswick, Whinlatter Forest is England’s only true mountain Forest.  With 3 mountain bike trails, 9 walking trails, 2 running trails, Segway, Go Ape, and bike hire there is plenty to offer the activity enthusiast.  Coupled with unrivalled views to Bassenthwaite Lake, Derwentwater and Keswick this makes the Forest a fabulous place to visit.
www.forestryengland.uk/whinlatter

Lowther Cycle Hire

If you didn’t bring your own bike then you can still cycle some of the loveliest parts of the area with bike hire at Lowther Castle.  They offer mountain and electric bike hire for full and part day, and there are routes up Askham Fell where you can get spectacular views across Ullswater.  You also get a discount to the Castle grounds on production of your hire receipt.
www.lowthercastle.org/cycling-walking/cycle-hire/

Keswick Adventures

Finally for the ultimate adrenaline junkies then Keswick Adventures will be for you.  Based in Keswick they offer a variety of activities including canyoning, Ghyll scrambling, paddle boarding and via ferrata to name but a few.
www.keswickadventures.co.uk

The North Pennines (AONB) – a special place to visit!

A special place to visit!

The North Pennines is one of England’s most special places – a stunning, upland landscape of wide-open moors, flower-rich hay meadows, intimate woods, inky-black night skies, charismatic wildlife, fascinating industrial heritage, tumbling rivers and dramatic waterfalls.

Here you will find a peaceful, unspoilt landscape with a rich history and vibrant natural beauty, and at almost 2,000 sq. km it is the second largest of the 46 AONBs (in England, Wales and Northern Ireland). It is surely one of the most peaceful and unspoilt places in England.

Beneath your feet

In recognition of its world class Earth heritage and efforts to make the most of this for tourism and education, it is also designated as a UNESCO Global Geopark. The impressive landscape of the North Pennines – from High Force on the River Tees to the sweeping valley of High Cup Gill above Dufton – are the product of millions of years of geological processes.

Rocks are the building blocks of the wonderful North Pennine landscape. The area’s fells and dales, and the rocks, minerals and fossils of which they are made, tell a fascinating story – one which stretches back hundreds of millions of years. The geological story of the North Pennines tells a story of deep oceans and violent volcanoes, colliding continents and molten rock, tropical seas and lush rainforests, hot water and minerals, desert dunes and vast ice sheets.

Over the past 500 million years the North Pennines has travelled over the surface of the globe and been shaped by many environments and processes. Volcanoes, tropical seas, rainforests, molten rock, deserts and ice sheets have all helped create today’s landscape. By exploring the fells and dales, you’ll discover the North Pennines’ remarkable journey through time, and a rich industrial heritage linked to the area’s rocks and minerals.

Jewel of the North

The area is famous for its distinctive landscape of high moorland, peat bog, and broad, dramatic, dales – including the upland stretches of the Tees, Wear and Tyne rivers. It shares a boundary with the Yorkshire Dales National Park in the south and extends as far as the Tyne Valley, just south of Hadrian’s Wall, in the north. Parts of the area are in the counties of Durham, Cumbria and Northumberland.

Tumbling waterfalls, sweeping moorland views, dramatic dales, stone-built villages, snaking stone walls and friendly faces – are what visitors to the North Pennines AONB and UNESCO Global Geopark can expect to find.

People and places

The character of the North Pennines landscape is inseparable from the people and places found here. The differing nature of settlements, from the distinctive red sandstone villages at the foot of the North Pennines escarpment to the white farms and barns of the Raby Estate in Teesdale, has a significant impact on landscape character.

Past times

About 12,000 people live in the North Pennines today – less than half the number who lived here 150 years ago in the heyday of the lead mining industry. The rise and fall of mining has left an indelible imprint on the landscape, not just in terms of the physical remains but also in the pattern of local settlement. The social history of the miner-farmers is also an intriguing element that contributes to the story of the North Pennines.

Nature galore

The North Pennines is a hotspot for nature – famous for the variety and profusion of plants and animals which find a home here. Eighty percent of the area benefits from nature-friendly, traditional farming practices, which means that the AONB is a haven for wildlife.

Sparkling night skies

The North Pennines is officially the darkest mainland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Here we have some of England’s darkest night skies. The area’s inky black skies mean that jaw-dropping stargazing opportunities are aplenty, on a clear night – with the opportunity to see thousands of stars overhead compared to the handful you would see from towns and cities. See our home galaxy, the Milky Way, in all its shimmering glory, along with distant galaxies and sparkling star clusters. You will find lots of officially designated Dark Sky Discovery Sites too – so come over to the ‘dark side’ and enjoy our stunning skies.

Alston and the Cumbrian North Pennines

The countryside around Alston, England’s highest market town, provides some of the area’s finest walking country – including the lofty Cross Fell – the highest English hill outside the Lake District. The striking North Pennines escarpment is a dramatic backdrop to the attractive, red sandstone-built, fell foot villages.

Kirkby Stephen in the south of the area is a traditional, bustling market town full of historic buildings and cobbled yards – a good launch pad for climbing Nine Standards Rigg.

In the North Pennines you’ll find:

  • Peace, tranquillity and space to catch your breath
  • England biggest waterfall – High Force in Upper Teesdale
  • Almost 40% of the UK’s flower-filled upland hay meadows
  • Inky-black night skies – some of the darkest in England. The North Pennines is the darkest mainland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • 80% of England’s black grouse
  • Short-eared owls, ring ouzel, snipe and redshank
  • 22,000 pairs of breeding wading birds in the spring and early summer
  • Red squirrels, otters and rare arctic-alpine plants

4 great reasons to make Shepherds View the base for your next staycation

As we all get used to the new norms of a post lockdown world there has been a massive surge in people looking for staycations in the UK. Many have turned to the standard honey-pots of Devon and Cornwall or the Lakes, which can only lead to an increase in these areas of visitor numbers and indeed prices. It’s time to think again and look a little further afield at an area of equal beauty, but far less crowded, the Eden Valley on the eastern edge of Cumbria.

Shepherds View could be just what you are looking for and here are 4 great reasons why:-

1. Stay In!

You don’t have to be big on the outdoors to come here. We’ve got the Visit England 5 star gold award for a reason. If your idea of a good holiday is finishing off some books in peace and quiet then why not sit in our feature window with a glorious view changing in front of you by the hour. We are complimented on our well-equipped kitchen so you won’t have to remember to bring with you any of your essential kitchen utensils. Take a well-earned soak in our jacuzzi bath and enjoy one of the hydrotherapy programmes, or binge watch a couple of series on Netflix with the log burner keeping you toasty. Whenever the weather allows then we have a private garden for you to sit and relax in as well.

Did we mention the bed? The superking with Hypnos mattress is frequently mentioned by guests and is designed to give you a great nights sleep ready for tomorrows adventures (or relaxation)!

2. Leave the Car!

You don’t have to drive anywhere if you don’t want to. There are numerous walks from the door of differing lengths and ability, and we’ve written them up for you so that you get a flavour of our beautiful area. Of course, you might want to walk up the jewel of the Pennines, High Cup, but we’ve got you covered on this one as well, even suggesting a quieter alternative route to the more popular way. If cycling is your thing then we have safe storage for you, and we’ve drawn out some of our favourite cycle routes for you along the quiet lanes linking the pretty fellside villages.

3. Take the Car!

If you want to explore then Dufton is such a great location to drive out from. Ullswater, with all it has to offer is only 25 minutes drive away, and Keswick on Derwent Water only 45 minutes. Similarly, if you want to go to High Force in Teesdale then you are only 45 minutes drive as well, and the Eden is also on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Other than travelling into the Lakes many of these routes are less busy and so you can expect a much more pleasant journey. Finally if you want to get your eyes tested then Barnard Castle is only a short trip east along the A66!

4. Eat Out!

We are lucky enough to have a great pub, the Stag, in Dufton. Only a 2 minute walk from the cottage if you don’t feel like cooking then you can’t go wrong here. The pub has a great reputation for good wholesome food and great beer, and what could be better after a long walk or bike ride!