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Towns & Villages
Windermere, originally a small hamlet called Birthwaite, came to prominence with the completion of the railway link from Kendal in 1847. The railway terminated at Windermere to avoid the steep descent to the lakeside at Bowness and proved to be highly lucrative, bringing in 120,000 visitors in its first year, mainly from the industrial towns of Lancashire and Yorkshire. Horse-drawn carriages were laid on to ferry passengers to and from the station to the lakeside, whilst hotel-based charabancs (early motor coaches) took guests on local sightseeing excursions.
Up to the 19th century, Bowness-on-Windermere was a fishing village. With the extension of the railway to Windermere and regular influxes of Victorian visitors, the commercial opportunities were soon realised. A host of hotels, villas and boarding houses rapidly sprang up to accommodate the tourists, all vying for a view of the lake. In 1869 the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway was built and linked to ferry services from Lakeside, cementing Bowness’s position as a fashionable day trip resort.
Moving forward to more recent times, the Lake District was designated a national park in 1949, and more recently the county of Westmorland was forever removed from the map. Together with the moving of the Lancashire boarder in 1973 Cumberland and Westmorland became Cumbria and our local South Lakeland District Council was formed.
The village manages to retain many aspects for a community – schools, banks, petrol stations, supermarkets and post offices are all close by. There is of course a wealth of restaurants, shops and hotels to cater for everyone’s needs and every budget. Set close enough to the M6 motorway being less than 20 miles away and the gateway to the Southern Lakes, Windermere is well placed to take advantage of the breathtaking scenery, lakes, mountains and all the activities which this beautiful landscape can offer.
Surrounding Windermere are the beautiful villages of:
Staveley is a pretty village, surrounded by rolling countryside interspersed with valleys, woods and drystone walls. The bustling village nestles at the foot of the secluded Kentmere Valley. Its history is shaped by two rivers: the fast-flowing river Kent and the smaller river Gowan. This abundant supply of water once powered 8 mills. Today, Staveley Mill Yard, the former bobbin/wood mill, is home to over 20 small enterprises and workshops including the UK’s largest cycle store, a unique cookery school, Hawkshead Brewery, an ice-cream parlour, artisan bread maker and the famous walkers’ café, Wilfs.
Staveley is a handy centre for walkers, with easy access to the fells, particularly the Kentmere Horseshoe. Craggy Wood, Longsleddle Woods, and Spring Hag are all within easy walking distance, while a 15 minute steep walk up Reston Scar provides spectacular views over the South Lakes. Nearby Dorothy Farrer’s Spring Wood is a nature reserve. In the past, the wood produced timber for bobbins, charcoal and basket making. Today, the wood is still coppiced, but managed for wildlife conservation instead.
Staveley Carnival takes place every two years and consists of a weekend of colourful celebrations where you can experience everything from music and dance through to community arts music and a carnival atmosphere. Everyone is welcome to visit and get involved.
The mills at Staveley date back to 1341. At its high point, the wood mill employed around 200 workers.
Excavations uncovered two Viking boats in Kentmere Tarn; one of which is in Kendal Museum, the other in the National Maritime Museum in London. St James Church has a magnificent stained glass window depicting the crucifixion and ascension of Jesus. Of the original church, only the 15th century tower remains, along with a medieval font.
Staveley still retains all the services a village needs from shops, pubs, restaurants, a post office, petrol station and school.
Set amidst the charm of the Lake District, close to the fringe of Windermere, this attractive village makes an inspiring choice from which to forage further into a magical heartland of the lakes, lofty towering peaks and lonely gorse clad moors.
Interestingly, Backbarrow was the home of the famous ‘dolly blue bag’ dye, widely used by housewives in the twentieth century. There are many reminders in the area of the regions long tradition of association with the cotton and flax industries.
The village is set on the banks of the River Leven which for decades provided the source of power for the various industries in the Leven Valley. It is also close to the delightful heritage steam line, The Lakeside and Haverthwaite railway which runs through lovely scenery. Morecambe Bay is within easy driving distance and offers a pleasant, seaside alternative for those who tire of Lakeland grandeur.
The area is ideal for walking, climbing, water-sports, fishing and there is a wealth of interest for the botanist.
The Troutbeck valley lies mid-way between the towns of Windermere and Ambleside, cradled by the slopes of Wansfell and Applethwaite Common, following the Trout Beck (river) all the way down to the shores of Lake Windermere. Most of this area is grazing farmland and woods along the valley bottom, populated by a few scattered farms, cottages, larger houses, and the village of Troutbeck itself. Almost every building in the Troutbeck valley is over 100 years old, and many are over 300 years old. The whole Troutbeck valley lies within the Lake District National Park. Most of the village is a Conservation Area and there are many Listed and National Trust owned buildings.
The surrounding landscape is exquisite. The peaks of Yoke, Ill Bell, Froswick and Thornthwaite Crag rise steeply to over 2500 feet to dominate the head of the valley, and the Trout Beck runs through woods and farmland to plunge through steep ravines just before entering Lake Windermere at the foot of the valley.
The village of Troutbeck itself is really a collection of tiny hamlets strung out for about one and a half miles along the old valley road. It is a truly unique village, full of vernacular architecture in an unspoilt valley setting. It has three traditional pub/hotels, a well-used and recently refurbished village institute, one church, about six B&Bs, and a highly-regarded village shop and tearoom. The village shop is supplemented two days a week by a visiting post office service that provides vital services for many village residents.
Troutbeck’s Shop, Tearoom and Village Institute are widely regarded as the heart of our village.
Within the whole of Troutbeck ward there are about 260 properties. In the most recent survey around the main village itself we counted 105 houses, of which 42 were second-homes or holiday cottages, and 63 were full-time residences, including 15 long-term rental homes. And in the Troutbeck valley there are 6 tenant farms – most owned by the National Trust. Several of our second-home owners have visited Troutbeck for decades and make an active contribution to our village community. But many are landlords renting their holiday homes to weekly visitors.
Although highly popular with tourists, Troutbeck has no official car parks, and just one village shop and tearoom; many visitors arrive on foot via its network of footpaths and bridleways. Visitor attractions in the Troutbeck valley include seven hotels, one Youth Hostel, a National Trust Property at Townend, and a large caravan and holiday chalet park at Limefitt which dominates the riverbank opposite Jesus Church.
Troutbeck is a wonderful place to live in, not just to visit.
Ings is a small village just a short distance on the A591 from the town of Windermere. The river Gowan meanders in the area. There are a number of country walks close by. A nearby caravan park provides holiday accommodation.
The local pub, the Watermill Inn, was awarded the Campaign for Real Ale Cumbria Pub of the in the past and has won numerous other awards.
The village church, St Anne, was built in 1743, and its architecture reflects the style of the time. Of note are the carvings of the reredos, pulpit, and lectern. The chancel floor is of Italian marble. It was funded by Robert Bateman, once a local, who became a wealthy merchant. The east window of the church represents the transfiguration.
This small village has a petrol station, a pub and the local secondary school. It lies between Windermere and Ambleside with Troutbeck being very close by. The houses in this village are a mix of old and new properties.
The Parish of Crosthwaite and Lyth lies 5 miles west of Kendal, 5 miles north of Grange-over-Sands and 3 miles south of Bowness-on-Windermere. The M6 motorway is 5 miles from the parish. Manchester Airport is 82 miles to the south.
Crosthwaite derives its name from the old Scandinavian word, “thwaite”, meaning a clearing in a forest or a piece of land, which has been enclosed. This was blended with “Cross”, which may reflect the earlier Christian connections with the Irish or Angle missionaries of the sixth or seventh century. The Norsemen also gave the Lyth Valley its name; “hlith” means sloping hillside.
This quaint village once served as home to mill and industry workers; rows ofcottages dating back to the 17th century still stand today. Crook is a quiet place set in rolling countryside with a village pub and with history and folklore, legends and tales.
There is a handful of roadside houses and the Holy Trinity Church, this was built in 1875 from stone quarried from an outcrop just across the road. Along the road there is Bryan Houses Farm, this used to be the home of Jonas Barber, a well-known maker of grandfather clocks, 300 years ago. Winster House is a fine looking Georgian house with a huge barn, prominent in the Winster landscape on the edge of a wood.
Close to the village of Staveley, Kentmere is a small hamlet with farm buildings scattered on the hillsides. The river Kent flows through Kentmere and is the swiftest flowing river in the country, dropping 1000 feet in 25 miles and once provided the power for 90 mills around Kendal. For those really seeking the rural landscape Kentmere is a beautiful valley with dramatic views, only 4 miles from Staveley and yet it feels “in the middle of nowhere”.
Underbarrow takes its name from Helsington Barrow, a 700ft high limestone ridge that overlooks Kendal. It has an array of cottages, farms and modern bungalows. The Punchball at Underbarrow is the local public house which serves fine foods and ales.
“Underbarrow and Bradley Field… This is the last division that remains to be spoken of in the parish of Kendal. Underbarrow hath its name from its situation under the barrow, hill, or scar, which extends from north to south all along in this division. That part which is called Bradley Field received its denomination from a family of the name of Bradley, which came from Bradley in Lancashire. There was an ancient chapel at this place [Underbarrow]. In the year 1708, this chapel was rebuilt at the expense of the inhabitants of Underbarrow only (for Bradley Field is not in the chapelry)”.
A small village just north of Newby Bridge at the southern end of Lake Windermere and as the name suggests on the side of the Lake, well actually the eastern side to be precise. As small cluster of houses, the odd hotel and home to the aquarium of the lakes, the lakeside Pier for the steamers and the lakeside to Haverthwaite steam railway. A great base to explore the quieter side of the Lake with Grizedale forest, Satterthwaite and Hawkshead all a few miles north.
The starting point of the popular tourist attraction Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway, Haverthwaite is a small village located near the southern end of Windermere within the boundaries of the Lake District National Park.
Bowston can be found about 4 miles north of Kendal, a small village beside the River Kent. Linking Windermere to Yorkshire, Bowston is located on the Dales Way, making it a popular destination for walkers.
The pretty Lakeland village of Bouth is about 2.5 miles away from the foot of Windermere and approximately 4-5 miles from the market town of Ulverston,. With easy access to the M6 via the A590 and yet a world away from the hustle and bustle of modern life!
High & Low Cunsey
The beautiful hamlet of Cunsey enjoys a rural location on the western shores of Lake Windermere. 2 miles from the village of Sawrey made up of Near and Far, with Near Sawrey being famous for Hilltop, the pretty home of Beatrix Potter. Grizedale Forest is 10 minutes drive and the ferry link offers access to Bowness on Windermere.
Staveley In Cartmel
Staveley in Cartmel is a beautiful hamlet, close to Lake Windermere. The area around the lake is known as Fell Foot Park, which is a popular area for picnics. Historically the village lay in the county of Lancashire. The church of St Mary was built by 1618 and extended or restored in 1678, 1793 and 1896-97. The Lakeland Motor Museum is a short drive away.
Finsthwaite is a small village and is located near the Furness fells and the busy tourist villae of Windermere. The lands around Finsthwaite offer excellent walk and the Stott Park Bobbin Mill is a local visitor attraction, the bobbin mill is fed by the waters of High Dam which is also a popular walk.
Crosthwaite is a small vibrant village and offers plenty of community spirit and is located on the outskirts of the popular town of Kendal and is also a short drive away from the bustling Lakeland centre of Bowness On Windermere.
Bowland Bridge is a small Lakeland hamlet set in the rolling countryside of the Lyth Valley, being within 10 minutes of the market town on Kendal and 3 miles from the shores of Lake Windermere, perfect for escaping the pressures of modern life. The historic Hare and Hounds Inn can be found at Bowland Bridge.