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5 Great ways to discover quiet corners of the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales

Updated: Jan 9, 2023

why Ravenstonedale is An Ideal Cumbrian holiday location

The attractions of staying in the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales are well known but if you’re looking to find their quieter spots this year, then we think we have the perfect answer here in the Lune and Eden Valleys on the Eastern flank of Cumbria.

Why? Well here in Ravenstonedale we’re neatly positioned between the Lakes and the Dales, within easy reach of both; and yet we’re jam packed with lots of things to do right on the doorstep and with a fraction of the visitors.

Many people’s experience of our patch is limited to the fleeting glimpses of the Howgill Fells from the car window as they zoom by on their way North or South along the M6, but they’re missing out on a treat by not discovering more about this fantastic area. Here are a few reasons why:

· Walking through the “Squatting Elephants”

The local hills here are called the Howgill Fells and with their rounded humpback shapes, legendary hiker Alfred Wainwright affectionately referred to them looking like ‘a huddle of squatting elephants’.

While you’re likely to be joined by other walkers on popular peaks in the Lakes and Dales such as Helvellyn or Pen-y-ghent, here you’re more likely to encounter sheep and wild fell ponies.

Try ascending The Calf which stands a smidgeon over 2,000 feet; or hike to the mysterious Nine Standards Rigg, so-called because of the line of impressive stone cairns on the summit.

If you’re still keen to bag a Wainwright peak, then we’re less than three quarters of an hour away from the Lakeland Fells around Ullswater.

· The Passion For Food

There’s a real sense of pride around here for producing good food using local ingredients.

Within walking distance of The Green we have a handful of lovely pubs including The Black Swan in our own village of Ravenstonedale and The Fat Lamb. In nearby Sedbergh there’s the acclaimed Black Bull hotel serving Asian-fusion dishes which have made food critics swoon and the Thirsty Rambler, a dog-friendly micro bar that often has live music and gin club nights once a month.

Farmers’ markets are held in nearby market towns such as Brough, Orton and Kirkby Stephen where you can pick up a veritable feast, from artisan baked loaves and pies to home-reared venison and local cheeses.

Or if you have a soft spot for marmalade there’s the World Marmalade Awards and Festival in May where you can savour the breakfast treat while enjoying a day out in the historic surroundings of Dalemain mansion near Penrith.

· Historical Days Out

We have our fair share of heritage whether it’s Lowther Castle near Penrith, Brough Castle standing sentry-like on the site of a Roman Fort or the ruins of Pendragon Castle in Mallerstangdale which swirls with legends of King Arthur and a knight who killed Thomas Le Beckett.

Sedbergh’s Castle Haw Tower is a fine example of a Motte and Bailey Castle that has great views and it’s also worth downloading the series of heritage trails for nearby towns such as Kirkby Stephen and Appleby.

· Waterside Delights

We might not have the huge expanses of water of the Lake District but we still have some very special waterways. So why not leave the likes of Aira Force waterfall on Ullswater to the crowds and instead head to Cautley Spout, England’s highest above-ground waterfall via a short stroll from the centuries-old Cross Keys Inn.

Alternatively picnic at one of the sprinkling of tarns in the surrounding hills including the beautifully quiet Paradise Tarn, just a short walk from The Green, where you can sit and enjoy the herons as they stand watch!

A true delight is the Poetry Path along the River Eden from Kirkby Stephen where you can find 12 poems carved into stones at intervals along the riverside, all of them dedicated to the hill farmers’ relationship with the landscape around the Upper Eden Valley.

· Wildlife and Space

Our wide open spaces and quietness provide a fantastic haven for nature and are ideal for letting the children go ‘free range’. In and around The Green we regularly see red squirrels and fell ponies and there’s a real sense of seclusion in the hills and valleys.

For wild flowers and butterflies there’s Waitby Greenriggs Nature Reserve in the cuttings of the old railway line while a visit to Sunbiggin Tarn with its views across to Wild Boar Fell has to be a must for anybody interested in migratory and resident birdlife!


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