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The stream which flows over Aira Force is Aira Beck, which rises on the upper slopes of Stybarrow Dodd at a height of 720 metres and flows north-easterly before turning south, blocked by the high heather-covered slopes of Gowbarrow Fell.
When entering Blackwell you will be seeing the very details that the Holt family would have seen over 100 years ago; you will look out over the lawns and Lake to the same magnificent views of the Coniston Fells and experience the tranquil atmosphere that the family would have loved.
Blackwell is one of Britain’s finest houses from the turn of the last century. Designed by M H Baillie Scott, as a holiday retreat for Sir Edward Holt, a wealthy Manchester brewery owner Blackwell survives in a truly remarkable state of preservation retaining many original decorative features. The period rooms are carefully furnished with the blend of Arts and Crafts furniture and early country-made pieces advocated by Baillie Scott, containing furniture and objects by many of the leading Arts & Crafts designers and studios – furniture by Morris & Co and Voysey, metalwork by W A S Benson and ceramics by Ruskin Pottery and William de Morgan.
Visitors are encouraged to sit and soak up the atmosphere in Blackwell’s fireplace inglenooks and are free to enjoy the house as it was originally intended, without roped-off areas. The inviting window and garden seats offer stunning views of the surrounding Lakeland scenery.
Impressive and formidable, Carlisle Castle amply repays exploration of its absorbing 900-year history. Long commanding the especially turbulent western end of the Anglo-Scottish border, Carlisle has witness many conflicts and sieges. The earliest castle (on the site of a sequence of Roman forts dating from the 1st to 4thC AD) was of earth and timber, raised by King William Rufus in c.1092. During the following century it was refortified in stone, possibly by Henry 1. The 12thC stone keep is the oldest surviving structure in the castle, which was frequently updated as befitted a stronghold always in the front line of Anglo-Scottish warfare. In 1315 it triumphantly saw off a determined Scots attack. The rounded 'shot-deflecting' battlements of the keep were added when Henry V11 adapted the castle for artillery in c. 1540.
Elaborate carvings in a small cell, by captives held here by the future Richard lll in 1480, vividly demonstrate that Carlisle Castle was also a prison. Mary Queen of Scots was confined here after her flight from Scotland in 1568: but in 1596 the Border reiver Kinmont Willie Armstrong managed a daring night escape, to the fury of his captors.
Carlisle played its part in the English Civil War. Besieged for eight months by Parliament's Scots allies, its Royalist garrison surrended in 1645 only after eating rats and even their dogs. A century later in 1746, the castle became the last English fortress ever to suffer a siege, when Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobite garrison vainly attempted to hold off the Duke of Cumberland's Hanoverian
army. The fortress became their prison: many died here, and others left only for hanging or transportation.
Housed in the keep is a model of the city in 1745, and an exhibition on Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite rising of that year; visitors can also see the legendary 'licking stones', which parched Jacobite prisoners desperately licked for moisture in order to stay alive. Admission also includes entry to the King's Own Royal Border Regiment Museum. Another feature of the site is the Carlisle Roman Dig, a fully accessible exhibition displaying the finds from recent excavations.
Guided tours (available during school holidays at a small extra charge; groups please pre-book)
While living in Dove Cottage from 1799 - 1808, William Wordsworth wrote the most famous and best-loved of his poems including, “I wandered Lonely as a Cloud” and Dorothy Wordsworth wrote her, “Grasmere Journals”. Come and see what inspired them, the beautiful landscape and their simple way of life.
Take an entertaining guided tour of Dove Cottage and hear about the Wordsworths’ daily life and stories about their famous visitors.
Entry includes a visit to the Wordsworth Museum and Art Gallery to experience changing displays and exhibitions of historic artefacts, original manuscripts and wonderful pictures by artists from the famous to the obscure.
This hub of art, literature and creativity has a programme of exhibitions and events from craft workshops and free childrens' activities to fine art, photography and poetry.
Victorian style wing on its grandest scale offering visitors of all ages an intimate insight into one of the country's best loved stately homes.
A ring of 38 stones on a grassy plateau surrounded by a magnificent mountain panorama The stones are glacial erratics, dragged here on log rollers and levered into position about 3500 years ago. Another 10 stones form a rectangular enclosure on the southeast side. The circle is thought to be 1000 years older than Stonehenge, and dates from around 3000 BC. It is thought the stones were linked to the seasonal movements of the sun and moon.
Once the new turnpike roads were completed in the late 18th century and the railway had arrived in Windermere in 1847, Victorian tourists came in their droves to experience the landscapes that had inspired the Lake Poets. Gradually Grasmere, Rydal and Ambleside acquired large new hotels to accommodate the new tourists, many dating from the late 19th century. The area was also sought out by wealthy businessmen seeking holiday homes amidst scenic splendour (many of these fine houses have since been converted into hotels or guest houses).
Grasmere has long been associated with a spicy gingerbread, first made by Sarah Nelson using a secret recipe. Its reputation as a sweet delicacy was well known and became an attraction for Victorian travellers coming to see Wordsworth's grave. The old Gingerbread Shop next to the church still makes gingerbread to the traditional recipe, and now sells the famous confectionery all over the world.
''Cockermouth grew up around its castle, with Castlegate, now lined with fine Georgian terraces, the oldest part of the town''
Nearby at Cockermouth a Norman castle was built on a promontory near to where the river Cocker joins the River Derwent. Cockermouth grew up around its castle, with Castlegate, now lined with fine Georgian terraces, the oldest part of the town. At the foot of Castlegate is Percy House, one of the oldest buildings in the town (1598). It is now an art and craft gallery, but many original features survive including an original bread oven, ornate ceiling decoration and plasterwork bearing the Percy coat of arms.
Cockermouth was one of the earliest towns to be granted a market charter (in 1226), and developed as a natural market centre for the buying and selling of livestock reared in the surrounding countryside - a role it still serves today.
Pastoral wealth, coupled with ample supplies of water, gave rise to several water-powered mill industries - corn milling, textile manufacture, rope making and hat production. One of the largest, Derwent Mill, made the well-known Harris embroidery silks and linen threads, and once employed around 800 people. Jennings Brewery (established in 1828 by the Jenning Brothers in Lorton) moved to its current site in 1874, and continues to brew traditional real ales. Water (the brewing liquor) is taken from a well that once supplied the castle with clean water.
The heyday of building was between 1720 and 1830, when many fine Georgian buildings were built It was during this time that William Wordsworth was born, along with other notable figures from history - Fletcher Christian (1764-1793), leader of the mutiny on ‘The Bounty', born near Eaglesfield; John Dalton (1766-1844), inventor of atomic theory, also born at Eaglesfield; and Fearon Fallows (1789-1831), Astronomer Royal, born in Cockermouth.