24 November 2020

The Lake District in Autumn - Loughrigg Fell and Grasmere

I managed to sneak in another trip away before the second lockdown arrived. We headed to the Lake District where I’d only ever visited in summer before and everywhere was beautiful. I found a walk online to Loughrigg Fell that was described as one of the best autumn walks in the Lake District and it didn’t disappoint; Loughrigg Fell is one of many hills in the Lake District and has an elevation of 335 meters.  

We started the walk in Ambleside and after a few mask-wearing minutes navigating our way through the town, we were soon up in the fells and able to keep our distance from people. The walk, which is just over six miles in total, took us off the main track towards Loughrigg Fell and after a steep ascent we reached the top. There are several different routes to the top of the fell so you shouldn’t be able to go wrong. 

Although it was quite misty at the top, the views looking down were spectacular; you can see several lakes including Elterwater and my favourite – Grasmere. We had dinner overlooking Grasmere Lake and the photos I took don’t show just how beautiful the autumn colours really were.

We dropped down next to Grasmere and the walk takes you back along the shore of Rydal Water, stopping off at Rydal Caves (which we had to skip because it was too busy to go inside!) but are well worth a visit, before returning to the start in Ambleside. 


10 November 2020

Beningbrough Hall

Beningbrough Hall is the first National Trust property I’ve visited since they reopened after the first lockdown. You have to pre-book tickets and arrive at your designated time to avoid the place becoming too crowded. The cafĂ© and house were still open at the time of writing but look likely to close in the next couple of weeks.

The hall is a large Georgian mansion near the village of Beningbrough in North Yorkshire and dates back to 1716. I’ve written a couple of posts about visiting Beningbrough before, so this is really just to share some of the photos I took whilst there including some of a little kitten. Everyone else was walking past him – we were the only ones to spot him hiding in the leaves!


6 November 2020

Gainford Spa

Gainford-on-Tees is a village in County Durham, near Darlington, that had its own spa in the 19th century. The spa is a mineral spring on the banks of the river Tees; the water has a sulphuric smell and was thought to have healing powers in the Victorian era, making Gainford a popular destination. The Victorian fountain was replaced with a replica in 2002 after the original was vandalised. You can access the spa from the roadside where there are parking spaces, or walk the short distance from Gainford like we did.

Other things to see in the picturesque village include the Jacobean Hall, Georgian street houses and the village green that has several conker trees and a stone cross to commemorate Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee in 1897.


3 November 2020

Druid's Temple and Masham

The Druid’s Temple is a small replica of Stonehenge in the village of Ilton near Masham in North Yorkshire. Although it looks like its ancient equivalent, it was only built 200 years ago in 1820.  The walk we did was a 6-mile circular route starting just outside of Masham in the picturesque village of Fearby. Alternatively, the Temple is only a short drive away and there is a carpark at the end of the lane leading up to it. 

You follow the road through Fearby, past the village pub, until you reach a public footpath on your left, the route from here is well signposted, taking you through fields and woodland until you have to walk a while on the road. Ignoring the road sign for the Druid’s Temple, follow the track straight ahead into a farmer’s field, eventually arriving at the lane where the car park can be found. A right turn here takes you to the entrance to the forest; there are several different walks through the woodland surrounding the Temple, but since we had a few miles to walk back, we took the quickest route.

The Druid’s Temple is impressive and does bear a resemblance to Stonehenge; unfortunately, though there were people climbing all over the stones despite the numerous signs. There are other stones dotted about the place too, including a cave and a ‘stone tower’ behind the temple. The woodland overlooks Leighton Reservoir and offers great views of the surrounding countryside. Leaving the Temple, we turned right at the lane and headed back to Fearby. (The way back was poorly sign posted and we did end up getting lost a couple of times!)

Known as the brewing capital of Yorkshire, Masham is home to both the Black Sheep and Theakston’s Brewery. We drove into the market town after our walk but all the of the shops had already closed. You can park in the main square where there is an honesty box for the carpark, surrounded by old Georgian buildings; we also paid a quick visit to St Mary’s Church where we saw an Anglo-Saxon stone cross in the churchyard. The cross is believed to date back to the 8th century.

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