WELL COTTAGE: THE SURROUNDING AREA
Gosforth is Viking country. Or at least it used to be. The bronze
age farmers that were in the valley since time immorial were over-run
and scattered by the marauding Vikings who, unlike the Romans had
to come from the south, dropped in from the north and claimed the
area for themselves. The Viking was a generic term for the peoples
of Denmark, Sweden and Norway and contrary to popular belief they
did give a lot to Britain, remnants of which can still be seen in
The village of Gosforth today
Towards the end of the 8th century, Britain and the Vikings collided
and for the best part of 300 years, continued to do so. In periods
of peace, the Vikings farmed the land, tamed the marauding forests
and carved monuments in honour of their gods and homelands, some
of which still stand. Gosforth Cross, or the Wheel head cross, is
the tallest Viking cross in England; it has stood since the year
940. For over 1000 years then, this cross has faced down the elements,
marauding armies, mourners, fires and over keen and eager sundial
makers who used the last 3 as bases for clocks.
The tallest and oldest Viking cross in England
It is testament to the craftsmanship that such a relic still stands
and you should go and see it and look back in time. St Mary’s
Church, which is home to the cross, has the head to a similar cross
that was cut down for a sundial in 1789 as well as other Viking
relics including 2 hogback tomb lids inside the church. You are
welcome to take a look around or perhaps go to one of the services
that are held in the church on a weekly basis.
Gosforth in Spring
As a starting point for exploring and discovering the Lake District,
there are not many places that match the location of Gosforth for
choice and access. It is a small village with the amenities that
go with such status. It still holds the romantic charm that coats
so much and so many of the small villages that flutter in and out
of the majestic countryside of the lakes. Stone, sandy coloured
houses lap at the feet of bleached white public houses in a testament
to the slow, tranquil and romantic village life Gosforth has to
The Globe, one of Gosforth's four pubs
The street layout is based around a cluster of three pubs, a cafe,
and village shop in the centre of the village. The road going north
heading deep into the lakes of Borrowdale
and Keswick (40 mins). The road south heads to the beautiful Eskdale valley and the lunar landscape
of Waswater in the mighty Wasdale valley,
reached in ten minutes by car. The coast is five minutes west.
Wasdale and Wastwater as viewed from the road
Upon arriving through the wooded landscape and first setting eyes
on Waswater you are confronted by the alien nature of it. The steep
scree slopes that end abruptly in the dark deep water (Waswater
is the deepest Lake in England) add an almost Jurassic feeling to
the valley as it rises up to the summit of Scarfell, the tallest
mountain in England.
Things to do
Gosforth and its surrounding area is a treasure trove of walks
and footpaths and Bridleways that any devotee of the great outdoors,
and even those who are not, should, to use Viking terminology, plunder.
Within half an hour of Gosforth you can be geared up and at the
foot of Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. Walks do
not come much more challenging than this!
Gable, with Scafell round to the right
Obviously not everybody is so hardy, and closer to Gosforth there
are family walks and gentler strolls that take a few hours yet will
lead you to secluded spots all of your own. Take the River
Bleng walk straight out of the village for example.
The River Bleng walk is 4 miles over easy terrain. It can take
as little as 1 to 2 hours but you are entirely welcome to spend
the whole morning or afternoon, or even make a day out of it.
Walking through forest by the River Bleng
Follow the road out of the village, past the church and follow
the meandering road until you reach a footpath sign which points
you up a lane. Follow the lane until you reach a small wooded area,
which will be given away by the sound of a waterfall.
With the Lion and Lamb pub on your right hand side, head out towards
the Church but head right just past the Library and towards the
Eskdale Valley and Waswater. Along this road you are faced with
all manner of footpaths and Bridleways. The first you encounter
will take you on soft tranquil walks in the fields and lanes around
Gosforth. The later ones will take you through the woods and on
to Waswater itself.
This is a pleasant walk that leads on to the hill over Gosforth
with great views of the surrounding hills and mountains and as far
as the sea in Whitehaven.
From the St Mary’s Church, head towards the Gosforth Hall
Hotel and walk past the right had side, through the car park and
over the gate. You will now be faced with what looks like someone’s
garden, do not e put off by this and head through them for 25 metres
until you reach a gate with a head on.
After the gate, head under a tree with a swing hanging quietly
from it, over a stile and past a croquet pitch on your left hand
The footpath is then very identifiable and well kept. It is about
a mile to Wind Hall.
Bluebells in one of the woods at Gosforth
www.offroadadventures-online.com is a website for keen cyclists and offers
detailed maps and time scales for half day, full day and multi-day
off road adventures in the Lake District. It offers safety advice,
times of year best suited and possible risks involved. It is ideal
for anyone searching for routes and do not want to spend days searching
If you head out of Gosforth and head towards Eskdale and Waswater,
you can do a ride that takes you to the lake, arches around the
west side of it and then follow the signs back to Gosforth. This
is a 10 mile ride that encompasses flat, steep and fast road descents.
Horse Riding on Cold Fell
Nearby on Cold Fell is horse riding at
Bradley's Centre (01946 861 354) - this is a twenty minute drive
from Gosforth. For those wanting to take the outdoor life a step
Climb takes small groups on canoeing or climbing expeditions.
The Ravenglass and Eskdale Ratty
Muncaster Castle with its Owl Centre and Gardens is nearby and
the Ravenglass and Eskdale Steam Railway is well worth a trip as
it winds its seven-mile journey from the coastal village of Ravenglass
through beauitful countryside to Eskdale.
Courses in Cumbria provides a list of courses. Within a few
miles of the cottage are:
- Scafell Pike - England's highest mountain
- Wastwater - England's deepest lake
- Hundreds of riverside, valley and mountain walks and climbs
right from the door
- Ravenglass & Eskdale Miniature Railway: www.ravenglass-railway.co.uk
- Muncaster Castle, with its azaleas, rhododendrons and Owl Sanctuary:
www.muncaster.co.uk & www.owls.org
- Hardknott Roman Fort & Ravenglass Roman Bath House
- Ravenglass fishing village
- Fishing on river or stocked pool
- 4 pubs in Gosforth
For further information about Gosforth and Wasdale, please visit www.gosforthandwasdale.info.
Within one hour's drive are most of the Lake District's attractions,
- Boating on Derwentwater, Coniston and Windermere
- Windermere, with its Steamboat Museum, marina, water skiing
- Horse riding and pony trekking
- Dozens of historical houses and castles open to the public
- Wordsworth's birthplace and
his homes, Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount
- Cumbria's coast with sandy beaches
- The 'Theatre by the Lakeside' at Keswick: www.theatrebythelake.com
- The Lakeland Sheep and Wool Centre:
- Shopping at Ambleside and Kendal
- South Lakeland Wild Animal Park: www.wildanimalpark.co.uk