Cartmel, Cumbria Sunday 28th February 2016

Today’s Walk

Strenuous Leader:   No leader today

It is a do-it-yourself job today. An O/S map will be available

Moderate/leisurely Leaders : Margaret Black & Steve Balenski   Distance : 6.5 miles

This is a level walk to start with setting out across the racecourse and a well-defined footpath, part of which is the Cistercian Way. It then follows a mixture of fairly gentle ups and downs, crossing over farm fields and pasture land intermingled with some lane walking. Having skirted around the gentler end of Hampsfield Fell it is then steeply downhill back into Cartmel.

Easy Leader : Philomena Walker   Distance : 4.5 miles

The walk starts off across the racecourse, then through the woods, crosses fields and lanes and back to Cartmel.

Notes On The Area

This unspoilt village is situated in a quiet valley in one of England’s most outstanding areas of natural beauty and is just over two miles from Grange. It is on the southern fringes of the Lake District, between the mountains and the sea. The village huddles around a massive priory church, which was part of a monastery founded in 1188 by William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke. When the monasteries were dissolved by Henry VIII in 1536-1540 the priory was saved because it doubled as the parish church.

The monastery fell into ruins, except for the gatehouse which now forms an attractive entrance to the village square. It was built at about 1330 as a fortified tower for the priory. At the dissolution it was being used as a courthouse; from 1625 to 1790 as a school, and is now a craft shop. The nearby obelisk is 18th century. For some reason, when the tower was heightened in the 15th century, it was built on a diagonal, giving the church a distinctive appearance. Inside there are intricate carvings dating from 1450 on the tip-up seats of the choir stalls. In 1618 the church was re-roofed and the screen carved. The archway of the north door has elaborate dog-toothed moulding.

Although Cartmel is an old village it is a thriving place. Once again it triumphed in 2015 at the Cumbria Britain in Bloom, winning a number of awards.

There are second hand bookshops and craft galleries around and near the square, several village pubs and a couple of cafes and speciality food and drink businesses including Hales Chocolate, Cartmel Cheese, an artisan bakery, a micro-brewery, the well-known sticky toffee pudding and also a Michelin restaurant L’Enclume. Cartmel Racecourse holds meetings at the Spring and Summer bank holidays. They are very relaxed and informal affairs. Bring your deckchair and parasol on a nice day.