Days Out and Happy travels from Crake Trees

An easy dip into the delights of The Eden Valley means a 10 minute drive, or a half hour bike ride to Acorn Bank, Temple Sowerby.
 National Trust owned, but somehow escaping the corporate image of that grand organisation.

Acorn Bank is a distinctive red sandstone mansion set in farmed parkland with the most wonderful gardens, woodland walks to a working mill. All in all a wonderland of contrasting nature and architecture.

The Eden Valley is a feast of unorganised fun for children. But you need to do some research as all our stuff is not really targeted at the children’s market. Meaning that children and folks of all ages can enjoy the delights of say, Acorn Bank Gardens, Brougham or Brough Castle, The Watermill and Long Meg Stone Circle at Little Salkeld, Lowther Castle and gardens or indeed The Railway between Appleby and Settle.

So, we shall start with Acorn Bank.

Park up and pay your entry (free to Nat Trust members) in the house. There are very short tours to explain its history as a Base of The Knights Templar to the plans for restoration.

Through the shop, a mix of National trust standards to some local delicacies, to the café. Eating in the tiny courtyard sun trap is the best bit, especially for little ones, as often a hen will join you at the table!

We generally rush through to the gardens, as Bill and Ted need to check out the newts in the round pond and the tiny frogs in the fountain.

The gardens could take a full afternoon, with the largest herb garden in the north, the experimental  vegetable growing, the Penrith beekeepers aviary and the apple orchard with literally hundreds of varieties all looked after so well, named and looking glorious.

Now through the walled garden gate that reminds me of Alice in Wonderland to the Cowdundle beck and woods below. Enter another world, a total escape as you follow paths to the river, find tiny woodland people’s houses, and at last reach the roar of the mill and the mill farmyard.

So much to see, however long you spend here, you will leave feeling refreshed and relaxed.

Brougham Castle Lady Clifford Penrith

Its a wonderful unexpected castle that pops into view as you speed northwards along the A66.

English Heritage is in charge. But there is very little presence of wardens, guides or such like.
You just turn up, pay the entrance fee and explore the grand ruins.

The castle was founded by Robert de Vieuxpont in the C13th and passed by marriage by the end of the century into The Clifford family, who also owned Brough, Skipton, and Appleby Castles.

Our most famous feminist, Lady Anne Clifford, eventually gained her rightful inheritance in the C17th and started a massive scheme of restoration and philanthropic development of castles, estates and churches. All along the route of her mid and later life wanderings between her estates in Westmorland and Yorkshire.

There are interpretation boards dotted around the castle and keep, but really basic so your not overloaded with information. The tiny shop has some good local history booklets , ice cream and a coffee machine.

So fetch a picnic, keep a eye on the children as they climb the hundreds of steps up the towers and relish the views of your domain right up the Eden Valley.