As Ella Fitzgerald once sang: “Summertime, and the living is easy.” That song kind of sums up how easy it can be to relax, have fun and simply enjoy a staycation summer here in Ravenstonedale.
So with that in mind we thought we’d share some of our favourite spots and things to do in summer while staying at The Green:
· Best spots for wildflowers
The Coronation Wildflower Meadows at Piper Hole Farm in Ravenstonedale were crowned as such in June 2013 by HRH The Prince of Wales. This wonderful spectacle is at its best in July and when you will see a delightful display of great burnet, yellow rattle, meadow buttercup and pignut.
Smardale Gill is home to Smardale Viaduct and a wonderfully varied nature reserve stretching from Newbiggin almost as far as Kirkby Stephen. Discover a range of unusual plants in the grasslands that have been present since medieval times.
The Orton Fells are a wide, open and sweeping upland plateau landscape of heather moorland and limestone grasslands interspersed with limestone pavements, rocky outcrops, scars and screes. From mid August and into September, the moorland is an unsurpassed attraction when all the tiny flowers of heather burst into bloom and the landscape in transformed into a carpet of pink and purple.
· Best place to view the summer solstice
How about celebrating the solstice atop the summit of Wild Boar Fell with its flat top and impressive tall stone cairns. With beautiful views of the full Howgill range across to Mallerstang Edge and further afield the Yorkshire Three Peaks, it’s worth sitting a while to take it all in.
· Where to let the kids roam free
The sun’s shining and the kids are full of beans but the last thing you feel like doing is getting in the car and driving somewhere. Thank goodness then that we have lots of space within our grounds for youngsters to do a bit of free-range roaming. From lawns to go barefoot on, through to our very shallow beck which is perfect for creating stone stacks, making small dams or simply splashing around. With a BBQ, tables and seating next to the stream we’ve made it easy to while away a sunny day right on your doorstep.
· Best place for a picnic
A very pleasant and low-level tarn known as Paradise just 5 minutes’ walk from The Green. The local birdlife will keep you company along with (if you’re lucky) the local ponies. Have a seat on the grass, open a bottle of something special and unpack your picnic…
· Must-see summer events
There’s something special about seeing the rural community gather for one of the traditional summer agricultural shows, whether it’s the sight of spruced up ponies waiting in a line to be judged, Border Collies working to round-up the sheep, or the pride of those who have been awarded prizes for their pots of jam.
From June to September there are a number of small local shows, each one reflecting the importance of farming in our area and showcasing the skills and passion that go into putting food on the nation’s table. They’re also a lot of fun! Even Ravenstonedale has its own show; this. year on the 16th & 17th of September.
· Best ice cream
Visit Brough Castle Ice Cream Parlour and have the dilemma of which flavour to choose. Mint, fudge, chocolate, pannacotta and hazelnut, violet, cappuccino, mango and passion fruit, bubble gum, cherry yogurt, vanilla or strawberry…so many different flavours you might need to visit twice!
· Best beer garden
For its riverside setting and immaculate garden, it has to be the Black Swan in Ravenstonedale. The Black Swan has won many awards, including AA Pub of the Year, and boasts two AA Rosettes for its food. Outside, there’s a sheltered courtyard for outdoor dining and a delightful beer garden for drinks beside Scandal Beck, complete with free-range hens.
· Best place to listen to skylarks (and other wildlife)
Sunbiggin Tarn is a beautiful place for a picnic, a walk around the adjacent limestone pavement of Great Asby Scar and spotting the local birdlife. Whether you head up on the limestone escarpment or stay low around the tarn listen out for the skylarks; usually tiny specks in the sky, signing their beautiful songs which are always a sign that spring has sprung.
· Best spot for escaping a rainy summer’s day
Around 30 minutes in the car; head to the Rheged Centre at Penrith. A great place for a day out with all the family. As well as bespoke stores including a toy shop, outdoor shop and farm shop, there’s also a café, cinema and external grounds. A great wet weather choice.