A day in the country

Today my blog by necessity be a little different. Partly this is due to my writing this on a little iPod but equally because I am at the beginning of a weeks holiday in the Lake District.

The Lakes are in the large county of Cumbria 325 miles northwest of London. It is a haven for hikers, campers and lovers of outdoor sports as well as those who just want to get away from it all this being the area with large forests, lakes and the highest mountains in England though not Britain as a whole.

There are more tourists than locals and more sheep than tourists. Many come here and are inspired by the scenery be they artists or writers. I came here as it is everything London is not.

Map of the Lakes

At the North West of England lies The Lakes

Yesterday we went for a drive and visited a folly. Follys were usually built by aristocrats or wealthy industrialists either to make their land more quaint or ancient or merely to just show off their wealth. These are more common than you might think in GB and can come in the shape of caves, fake castles or ruined Roman temples or simply tall brick towers like this one near Egremont.

Folly in Cumbria

We then drove on to the tiny village of Calderbridge and parked up the car next to the old church. Taking a public footpath we went through some woods along Calder river and came across a privately owned but clearly run-down country home hidden in a valley surrounded by wooded cliffs.

Calderbridge Hall

Calderbridge Hall

Behind the house and largely hidden away from the public was an ancient monastery built by the Normans in the 11thC which lasted until King Henry VIII enacted his policy of closing monasteries throughout his realm.


Above the magical and ethereal abbey

The abbey was then deliberately ruined and much of the stone used to build the house, it’s owners keeping the ruin as their own folly.

Medieval Oven

Oven for the monks of Calderbridge Abbey

We had a picnic under a giant oak watching the river flow by and entranced by the beauty of the valley and abbey and the mystery of the house.

Oak in meadow

Another candidate for my favourite tree.

River Calder

River Calder with the wooded cliffs opposite.


Oak by the River Calder

Tea and biscuits under the old Oak Tree

With much more to see we headed back to the car knowing we could have stayed all day. We went to Seascale and enjoyed an ice-cream, a spot of kit flying and a dip in the sea on this deserted beach.

Flying a Kite

Kite Flying at Seascale


Amidst all this beauty was a memorial to the dozen people murdered in a shooting spree here and in neighbouring villages by a gunman in 2010.

Cumbrian Shootings Memorial

Memorial to the dozen victims of the Cumbrian Shootings.

Finally we drove on to the village of Ravenglass, a picturesque fishing village by the sea.

The tide is out at Ravenglass

Where has the sea gone. Maybe it is in the pub with all the tourists?!?


Ravenglass Main Street

The old and beautiful main street of Ravenglass where the road literally goes into the sea.

Fishing still goes on here and nets still get attached to the walls of the house as well as fish and lobsters caught by boats.

Fishing ropes and nets

These ropes and nets are flung over the back gardens of the houses of fishermen as the sea comes right to the wall when the tide is in.

Crab and Lobster Pots

They are all empty, someone got there first I guess.


A short walk from the sea front takes us to a heritage steam railway which journeys 7 miles through the mountains.

Ravenglass Railway Station

No trains here on Sundays.

La'al Ratty the Steam Engine

All aboard at the Ravenglass and Eskdale heritage steam railway.

Walking on another few hundred yards takes us to the old Roman bath houses. There aren’t many places in Britain where Roman buildings still exist above just a few feet high but here are some.

Roman Bath house

Roman Bath House at Ravenglass, originally just part of a huge complex.

Originally there was a Roman castle here but over the 2000 years this had disappeared.

Roman Ruins at Ravenglass

Roman Ruins at Ravenglass

Like the Romans that was as far as we went for one day at least. We drove back to where we are staying through blissfully empty lanes exhausted but thinking of all we had seen and especially the abbey.

About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including several #1 sellers. I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. I run my private tours company with one tour stated by the leading travel website as being with the #1 authentic London Experience. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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