Staveley, Cumbria Sunday 28th October 2018

Today’s Walk

Strenuous Leader : Carole Rankin   Distance: 10.00 miles

This is an undulating walk with good views. From Staveley thro Craggy Plantation then NE cross country via Littlewood Farm and Frost Hole to Side House. We then climb to Potter Tarn and cross Potter Fell to Gurnal Dubs. At Birk Rigg we go south to join the Dales Way. Returning to Staveley via Beckmickle Ing and Staveley Park.

Moderate Leader: Dave Hatchard   Distance: 7.00 miles

We follow the main road out of the village and go over Barley Bridge pausing to look at the weir. We turn right then immediately left and head up a grassy hillside heading to Littlewood Farm. This part of the walk is a bit steep but well worth the effort. We then head to Potter Tarn and this will be an ideal stop for lunch. We then go to Ghyll Pool and after looking at the waterfall we make our way to Mirefoot, turn right to Hagg Foot and cross the river and make our way back to Staveley. The walk consists of 7 well maintained ladder stiles, open fields, B roads and a footpath along side of the river which was boggy in places.

No leisurely walk today   Distance:
Easy Leaders: Hazel Anderton & Cynthia Prescott   Distance: 7.00 miles

The walk today will start off near the park and then follow tracks and fields as far as the sewage works! We then walk up a lane for a short while before turning off to go up through Dorothy Farrers Wood. After that we walk along the lane and track to some little waterfalls at a place called Side House. Next, we make our way down along fields to a lane. From here we have a problem. We intended walking down through some woods but the paths have been closed. After trying to find a suitable alternative we gave up as time was creeping on and so we took a short route back to Staveley, and even if we extend it by going up to the weir it is only about three and a half miles. We have some alternatives in mind but will decide what to do on the day.

Notes On The Area

Staveley is a large, mainly residential village of grey slate cottages and houses, sandwiched between the River Gowan and the River Kent at the southern end of the valley of Kentmere. It is in south Lakeland about 4 miles NW of Kendal. The area around Staveley has been inhabited since about 4000BC, at a time when trees grew extensively on the fellsides. The first permanent settlers were Celtic speaking British farmers, and they were followed in AD90 by the Romans, who had a road to the south of the village linking Kendal and Ambleside. The village is not to be confused with Staveley in Cartmel. 

The village has a railway station and the line connects to Windermere, and is often used by tourists. 

During the Dark Ages and later medieval times, the village and its neighbours grew, developed and were plundered in much the same way as many other villages throughout Cumbria. But by the time of the Industrial Revolution, the village was quick to expand as transport improved, firstly in textiles. But then Staveley became the bobbin turning capital of Westmorland using the suitable wood in the area, so that by 1851 there were more families working at the manufacture of bobbins than there were engaged in farming. By the 20th century, the bobbin industry had come to an end and new manufacturing industries developed such as diatomite, motor cycles and photographic paper, and today Staveley is still a small industrial village. 

Staveley was granted a market charter in the 13th century, and, also held a three-day fair each year. In 1338 the lord of the manor, Sir William Thweng, agreed to build a chapel in honour of St Margare. St Margarets Church was founded in 1388 but only the tower now remains. A plaque on the tower commemorates Staveley men of the F Company, Second V B Border Regiment, who served in the South Africa Campaign in 1900-01 under Major John Thompson. In 1864 it was decided to build a new church, and this was dedicated to St James. This later church has some beautiful stained glass designed by Burne-Jones and made by the William Morris company. 

The vale of Kentmere contains the source of the River Kent, a river that gave its name to Kendal. At the head of the dale, the village of Kentmere gathers around its church. There used to be a lake, or mere, just to the south of the church, but now there is nothing more than a swelling in the river. The lake was only a shallow affair and was drained in about 1840 to provide land for agriculture. In 1955, dredging along the river to gather diatomite for a processing plant at nearby Waterfoot uncovered what were believed to be two 10 century wooden canoe boats, the best of which was later presented to the National Maritime Museum. These finds give a clear indication that the valley was inhabited from early times, and maybe when the Romans were here, building their great highway across High Street. 

What is diatomite? It is a mild abrasive and used in products such as toothpaste, and it also has general health benefits and is used to treat high cholesterol or constipation.