Tag Archive for: things to do

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, and we also have ready meals for sale as an evening meal option.  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.

National (Trust) Treasures

On 12 January 2020 The National Trust celebrates 125 years of protecting and caring for special places across the UK. Beatrix Potter was a great supporter and needless to say Cumbria has its share of beautiful places to visit with whole areas of the landscape in the ownership of the Trust. Here is a selection of some of those that are close by to Shepherds View.

Acorn Bank, Temple Sowerby – CA10 1SP – 7.5 miles – 15 mins
Only a short drive from Shepherds View along quiet country roads to avoid the A66. Best known for its comprehensive herb collection and traditional fruit orchards, Acorn Bank is a tranquil haven with a fascinating industrial past. You can discover more about the history of gypsum mining on the estate or wander along the Crowdundle Beck. In the house you can book on to a free daily guided tour. Open through the year but check specific times.

Aira Force, Watermillock – CA11 0JS – 22 miles – 35 mins
Ullswater and Pooley Bridge are great places to visit in themselves and Aira Force is one of many jewels in the crown of this beautiful lake. There is more here than just an impressive waterfall, as there are a network of trails from the lakeshore to the top of Gowbarrow summit, and fabulous views across Ullswater. You don’t even have to arrive by car as Ullswater steamers has a pier here. It’s also a great rainy day visit as the site is beneath the woodland canopy and the falls become even more impressive with more water! Open Dawn to Dusk for the countryside – check times for the tea-room.

Sizergh, Kendal – LA8 8DZ – 36 miles – 50 mins
Taking a trip to Kendal will take you a lovely scenic route over Orton Fell and past the towering Howgills. Sizergh is an imposing medieval house at the gateway to the Lake District with rich gardens and estate. The House closes for the winter, but the park and gardens including the café remain open, so do check on opening times before setting out. There are also a series of events on through the year.

Allan Bank and Grasmere – LA22 9QB – 38 miles – 1 hour
Head toward Keswick and then on to Grasmere is an inspiring drive as you start to see the full majesty of the Lake District. Allan Bank house is set on a hill with views over Grasmere lake and fells where Wordsworth once found inspiration. There are plenty of walks around the area, and red squirrels in the grounds. The welcoming village of Grasmere is a short 10 minute walk away. Check opening times as the house operates winter and summer opening times.

Townend, Troutbeck – LA23 1LB – 41 miles – 1 hour 5 mins
Either on from Grasmere or up and over the Kirkstone pass from Ullswater. This is a traditional Lake District stone and slate farmhouse but full of quirky objects and fascinating stories of more than 400 years of history. Beatrix Potter described the Troutbeck Valley as her favourite. Open Wed to Sun (March to October) from 1-4pm with guided tours at 11am and 12 noon on FCFS basis. Garden open every day from 10am

Allen Banks and Staward Gorge, Hexham – NE47 7BP – 38 miles – 1 hour 15 mins (via A686)
The A686 to Alston up Hartside Pass is a fabulous route to take to Allen Banks, with magnificent views across the Solway Firth at the peak of the climb. At Allen Banks itself you will find beautiful walking at any time of the year through woodland and following the course of the River Allen. The area is particularly well known for its carpet of bluebells in spring, and home to over 70 species of bird and the occasional red squirrel. Well worth the trip out as the area is within the North Pennine AONB. Open dawn to dusk with pay and display parking.

Hadrian’s Wall and Housesteads Fort, Hexham – NE47 6NN – 57miles – 1 hour 12 (via A69)
Only a short distance further on than Allen Banks is this renowned UNESCO World Heritage site. The quickest route is via the M6 and A69 but do take the A686 one of the ways. With breathtaking landscapes choose from invigorating walks along the wall or discover the archaeological past amongst the remain of the Fort. Hadrian’s wall is open all day, but check times daily for the fort.

Tag Archive for: things to do