Langwathby walk

Langwathby walk

Langwathby walk

First published in Walks in the Lake District Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by

THERE can be few more spectacular settings for a pub than the Shepherds Inn, which stands in splendid isolation of the village green at Langwathby.

It dates from the early 18th century and was probably a farm before this time.

The wooden beams, cosy sitting areas and log fires in winter ensure a feeling of nostalgia. Local people and visitors are all catered for, in the choice of menu and a special effort is made to help children eat well. The Cumberland sausage is the genuine article but those who love lamb will not be disappointed. Vegetarians and those who enjoy good coffee are also well catered for.

Begin at the village green and the Shepherds Inn, Descend gently along the road marked Penrith. Cross the metal Bailey Bridge, In 1968 the sandstone bridge of 1686 was destroyed by flood and the Bailey set up as a temporary structure is still in use.

From the bridge look for an obvious footpath pointing left to Edenhall. Here is an impressive stretch of trout and salmon river. In winter the fields alongside the Eden are often graced by the presence of whooper swans but there are also resident dipper grey wagtail, heron dipper and kingfisher.

Part of this riverside stroll is still called ladies walk because it was here that sheltering walls were provided for the residents of Eden Hall as they enjoyed a gentle meander. Continue alongside the river until a well-marked footpath leads off to the right. Pass through a gate which leads to a wide track.

At the junction of the track and the footpath stands a large cross know as the Plague Stone. Those suffering from the pestilence left their money soaked in vinegar and suppliers exchanged this for goods. The pestilence was probably typhoid and not the black death and in the late 16th century more than a quarter of local residents succumbed.

Turn left along a narrow track to the wonderful old church of St Cuthbert, which still looks medieval except for its telephone lines. The church is dedicated to St Cuthbert as it was one of the many places where the saint’s bones were rested away from the Vikings. The invaders were not interested in the body but in the treasure with which Christians enveloped the saints remains. The church is obviously pre-Norman in origin but much dates to the 12th century and the town to the 15th. Turn right into the estate village of the Musgrove family.

At one time Edenhall was in the possession of the Bruce family. Robert the Bruce ran riot, as the English Scottish border hereabouts was in the flux. The origin of the word “hall” comes from the old English “haugh” and means “the flat land by the river”. This description is still accurate today.

The Luck of Edenhall is a beaker of 14th century Venetian glass within an ornate leather case and now in the Victorian and Albert Museum in London.

It was said that as long as the vessel remained unbroken the fortunes of the local Musgrove family would prosper.

The glass remains but a new mansion built in 1821 has been demolished. Perhaps the ‘luck’ should have remained at Edenhall after all.

The former stable block, coach house and clock tower are all that remains but the home farm now prospers as the Edenhall Hotel.

Continue along an obvious road and then a wide track back to the bridge.

Turn right to Langwathby.

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